USA Softball News USA Softball announc...

USA Softball announces 2021 Men's Slow Pitch National Team, Futures rosters

April 09, 2021, 2:52 p.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY –– Twenty-eight athletes will put on the Red, White and Blue this summer as a member of the 2021 USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch National Teams program, USA Softball announced today. The two 14-athlete rosters will represent the U.S. as part of the 2021 USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch National Team (MSPNT) and Futures Team that will compete in the annual Border Battle XII and Slow Pitch Showdown, with details for the 2021 Border Battle XII and Slow Pitch Showdown previously announced by USA Softball last month.
 
The 2021 edition of the annual international slow pitch event is set to take place Sept. 10-12, 2021 at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex. The three-day event will begin with a series of exhibition games followed by the Slow Pitch Showdown, pitting the U.S. Slow Pitch National Teams (Men’s and Women’s) against their respective U.S. Futures Teams (Men’s and Women’s). Capping off the weekend will be the annual Border Battle contests (Men’s and Women’s) between Team USA and Team Canada, set for Sunday, Sept. 12 at the Softball Capital of the World®. For more information on Border Battle XII, click here
 
Click here to view the 2021 USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch and Futures Team rosters
 
The MSPNT roster includes athletes from 12 different states who have earned numerous USA Softball National Championship and individual tournament accolades. With ten veterans returning to the MSPNT, the U.S packs plenty of experience heading into Border Battle XII while welcoming four rookies including Jeff Flood (Sandy, Ore.), Josh Riley (London, Ky.) and Shannon Smith (Norman, Okla.) who join the MSPNT roster after competing for the Men’s Futures in previous years. Brett Helmer will once again serve as Head Coach for the MSPNT while Todd Ankney and Tim Barnes return to the coaching staff as assistant coaches for the third-straight year.
 
“Credit to the selection committee for the job well done in selecting this team,” said Helmer. “We have all facets of the game covered with this group regardless of field size or conditions. I can’t wait for the chance to get this team on the field and to have the opportunity to play in the newly renovated USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium!”


"It’s been an amazing experience being apart of the USA Futures team," said MSPNT rookie, Josh Riley. "I am absolutely honored to be selected to the Men’s National Team and to be apart of the country’s best. 
 
The Futures Team, now in its tenth year, is a mixture of seven veterans and seven rookies from nine different states that will look to carry on the competitive tradition from previous rosters. Rob Humphrey will remain at the helm of the squad, serving as the Head Coach of the Futures Team for the sixth-straight year. Denny Crine (Henderson, Nev.) begins his fourth season as an Assistant Coach for the team.
 
“I want to thank USA Softball and Brett Helmer for the honor of being a part of the Border Battle again,” said Humphrey. “The Futures will have a lot of new faces this year but will continue to play hard and with passion. I am excited to be back in Oklahoma City.”
 
“My brother chose the path of joining the army after high school,” said Futures Team rookie, Tanner Unkel. “Next Tuesday, he will be coming home from across seas in Qatar after being gone for about 10-11 months. So, when you ask me what it means to be picked, to me it is such an honor not only to represent myself and Cedar Rapids, Iowa but also to have the opportunity to put on the Red, White and Blue because of all the fine young men and women like my brother that make things like this possible for us. It means the world to me.”
 
Athletes are selected to represent the United States as a member of a Slow Pitch National Team based on their grassroots participation at their respective USA Softball Slow Pitch National Championship.  Athletes wishing to make the 2022 WSPNT, Women’s Futures, MSPNT and Men’s Futures will need to participate in the following events: The Women's Open Slow Pitch National Championship in Hendersonville, TN (August 20-22), the Men's Super and AA Slow Pitch National Championship in Hendersonville, TN (August 19-22), the Men’s Class B Slow Pitch National Championship in Oklahoma City, Okla. (Sept. 3-4) or the Men’s Class A Slow Pitch National Championship in Oklahoma City, Okla. (Sept. 5-6).