OKLAHOMA CITY — Thirty-one athletes will suit up for the Red, White and Blue this summer as the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball announced the rosters for both the USA Softball Men's Slow Pitch National Team and USA Softball Slow Pitch Future's National Team. Fourteen National Team veterans and two rookies will wear the Red, White and Blue this summer as member of the 2015 USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch National Team roster while eight Future's Team veterans and seven rookies comprise the 2015 USA Softball Slow Pitch Future's National Team. Both teams will take part in a series of exhibition games in Midland, Mich. against two Canadian squads this summer while the Slow Pitch National Team will face off against Canada in Border Battle VII.
"It's a tremendous honor to be selected to the USA Softball Men's Slow Pitch National Team," said two-time Team USA member Kevin Bazat (Columbia, Mo.). "It's a privilege to wear 'USA' across my chest while playing the sport I love and it means the world to me. I feel very blessed and honored to have such an amazing opportunity."
Highlighting this year’s roster are seven-time Men’s Slow Pitch National Team members Brett Helmer (Cicero, N.Y.) and Brian Wegman (Hamilton, Ohio), who were both on the inaugural squad in 2009 and have continued to represent the United States each year since. Also highlighting the roster is Dale Brungardt (Vancouver, Wash.) and Chris Greinert (Abell, Md.) who were both members from last year's Future's National Team.
“I couldn't be more honored to be able to represent the U.S. on the National Team," said Brungardt. "The experience I had last year on the Future's Team was the single greatest opportunity I've had the pleasure to be a part of. The people at ASA/USA Softball run their program with 100% class. Being a young player, I have always looked up to the guys on the National Team and it's very humbling to know I was selected to take the field with them this summer. Being able to wear 'USA' across my chest is absolutely a dream come true."
Representing the U.S. this summer for the first time are Kevin Kennington (Lake City, Fla.) and Lee Payne (Alpharetta, Ga.).
“There is no greater achievement in sports than being able to represent the USA," said Kennington. "I am honored for this opportunity."
The team will be coached by Steve Shortland (Converse, Texas) and Randy Raper (Hackleburg, Ala.) who are both making their seventh-consecutive appearance as the coaching staff of Team USA.
Created in conjunction with the inaugural Border Battle slow pitch competition against Canada in 2009, the Men’s Slow Pitch National Team program is now in its seventh run. In an 18-9 win over Canada last year in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, Team USA captured their fifth Border Battle title. The Americans won the inaugural Border Battle 30-23 but Canada evened the series in 2010 with a 30-29 win. The USA men rebounded in 2011 with a dominating 25-3 performance, a 32-21 victory in 2012 and a 25-10 win in 2013.
Eight veterans and seven rookies make up the roster for the 2015 USA Softball Men's Slow Pitch Future's National Team. Highlighting the roster is Brian Zirkle (Bourbonnais, Ill.), who has been a member of each Future's National Team roster since its inception in 2012.
"I am honored and blessed to be a part of the Future's National Team," said Zirkle. "Getting the opportunity to represent Combat and ASA/USA Softball is something you can't quite describe. I love it!"
Seven rookies will also take the field for the first time in their career this summer in the Red, White and Blue, including infielder Kyle Pearson (Stonewall, La.).
"I am truly honored for the selection to the USA Softball Future's National Team," said Pearson. "I just want to thank the Lord for this chance to represent the U.S. and Miken."
In addition to participating in Border Battle VII, the 2015 Slow Pitch National Team will take on the 2015 USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch Future’s Team as well as a second Canadian team in a series of exhibition games in August in Midland, Mich.
Visit www.USASoftball.com for all of the latest news on all of the USA Softball National Teams.
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 74 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 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 eight World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.