PARANA, Argentina - The USA Softball Men’s National Team arrived in Argentina on Monday as the team looks to qualify for the 2015 Pan American Games and 2014 International Softball Federation (ISF) XIV Men’s World Championship the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball announced today. Team USA will compete in a series of exhibition games against local clubs before kicking off the action at the IX Conpasa Men's Fastpitch Panam Championship October 24 - November 1 in Parana, Argentina.
"So far everything is going smooth," said USA Head Coach Denny Bruckert (Gillespie, Ill.). "We had a good practice and I feel good about the team and so far we've liked what we've seen. The guys are doing everything we've asked them to do and came ready and in shape. We've got five practice games to help us get ready for the tournament and I'm looking forward to seeing these guys get to work."
Team USA will begin play in the IX Conpasa Men's Fastpitch Panam on Friday, October 24 at 2 p.m. ART (12 p.m. CT) against our neighbors to the South, Mexico. Following their opening game with Mexico , the U.S. is scheduled to play seven other round-robin games: Venezuela on October 25, Colombia on October 26, Dominican Republic and Canada on October 27, Cuba on October 28, host country Argentina on October 29 and Guatemala on October 30. The playoffs, which will be determined by performance during round-robin action, are scheduled to begin on October 31 with the finals taking place on November 1.
"It was a long trip but it's good to get together as a team early," said USA infielder Matt Palazzo (Pleasant Hill, Iowa). "Arriving here and getting in some practice games allows us to spend time together as a team and develop a high level of chemistry. As a team, we get to get in some good workouts and play at a high level against some local clubs. For us as a team, our goal is to win this qualifier and get some momentum as we head into the Pan American Games and ISF World Championship next year."
Team USA is competing for berths to the 2015 Pan American Games and ISF Men's World Championship, which are both scheduled to take place in Canada. The ISF Men's World Championship will be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada June 26-July 5 while the Pan American Games will be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada July 15-26. This will mark the first time since 2003 that Men's Fast Pitch will compete as a Pan American sport, with Team USA claiming the silver in 2003 after falling 4-2 to Canada. In the most recent ISF Men's World Championship, the U.S. men completed the tournament with a 4-4 record, finishing eighth out of 16 countries.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed seven World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com.
Headquartered in Plant City, Florida (USA), the ISF is a member of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the world governing body for the sport which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations). Softball (women’s fast pitch) made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There are 127 affiliated countries in the ISF and millions of participants in the sport worldwide.