AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Members of the USA Softball Men’s National Team (MNT) have arrived in Auckland, New Zealand ahead of the 2022 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s Softball World Cup. The Red, White and Blue will kick off the trip with a series of practices and scrimmages before taking the field November 26 – December 4 as the Eagles look to claim their 10th WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship medal.
The U.S. MNT will take part in multiple scrimmage games against Argentina (Nov. 22), Japan (Nov. 23) and Canada (Nov. 24) prior to the nine-day competition where they will face top Men’s Fast pitch talent from around the globe. The 12 participating countries will open the tournament in two groups before moving onto the Super and Placement Rounds with the top two teams advancing to the World Championship Final. Team USA will compete in Group A alongside Argentina, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Cuba and the Philippines while Japan, Canada, the Aussie Steelers, Venezuela, Denmark and South Africa will face-off in Group B.
Beginning Opening Round on Saturday, Nov. 26 at Whakaata Māori Stadium, the U.S. will take on the Philippines at 8 p.m. NZST (1 a.m. CT) before matching up against New Zealand on Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. NZST (Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. CT). Continuing the competition, Team USA will face the Czech Republic (Nov. 28 at 1:30 p.m. NZST/Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m. CT), Cuba (Nov. 29 at 12 p.m. NZST/Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. CT) and Argentina (Nov. 30 at 1:30 p.m. NZST and 6:30 p.m. CT) to close out Opening Round. The tournament will then advance to the Super and Placement Rounds where the top three teams in each Group will battle it out to determine the final two teams who will go head-to-head in the World Championship Final on Friday, Dec, at 4 p.m. NZST (Dec. 3 at 9 pm. CT). The third and fourth-place teams will compete for the bronze medal earlier that day.
Fans will have the opportunity to follow along all week long through WBSC's exclusive online GameTime video platform where live stream day passes can be purchased for $5.99 and tournament passes can be purchased for $9.99. Live stats will also be provided on USASoftball.com.
Previously announced by USA Softball, the 16-player roster representing the Red, White and Blue includes 10 veteran members from the most recent Men’s National Team roster, which earned the the U.S. a spot in the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup after finishing fourth at the Americas Qualifier held in Parana, Argentina in April of this year. Among the veterans are Blaine Milheim, Brad Kilpatrick, Cam Schiller, Erick Ochoa, Jonathan Lynch, Nick Mullins, Tyler Bouley, Tyler Johnson, Yusef Davis and Zac Shaw. Re-joining the squad after a one-year hiatus are two additional veterans, Jon Gwizdala and Matt Palazzo, who each helped lead the U.S. to a fifth-place finish at the 2019 WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship and a silver medal finish at the 2019 Pan American Games – the program’s first silver medal finish in 16 years. Also highlighting the 2022 roster are four rookies who will represent Team USA for the first time in their career.
Remaining at the helm of the U.S. MNT for his third-straight season, Head Coach Ron Hackett will lead Team USA in its quest to the podium at the 2022 WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship. Hackett joined the MNT as an Assistant Coach in 2019 where he helped lead the U.S. to a second-place finish at the Pan American Games and a fifth-place finish at the WBSC World Cup during the 2019 season before guiding the squad to a fourth-place finish at the 2022 WBSC Americas Qualifiers earlier this year.
Rounding out the 2022 MNT coaching staff include assistant coaches Gerald Muizelaar, Greg Hicks and Roman Foore. Muizelaar returns to the coaching staff following the 2021 Americas Qualifier while Hicks prepares for his fifth overall appearance as an assistant coach. Entering his first stint as assistant coach, Foore packs years of experience and a wealth of knowledge as a former MNT player.
The USA Softball Men’s Fast Pitch National Team garners nine WBSC Men's Softball World Championship medals, including five gold medals (1966, 1968, 1976, 1980 and 1988), one silver medal (1972) and three bronze medals (1984, 1992 and 2000). In the Pan American Games, Team USA has advanced to eight gold medal games while claiming the silver medal each time. To learn more about the USA Softball Men’s National Team Program, visit USASoftball.com.