Well, the 2016 World Softball Championships are now over. Some of the events were wonderful and inspiring, and some rather anti-climatic, but no one can ignore the passion and interest in this sport from the 31 participating teams from all over the world.
- Not only did Australia, ranked 3rd in the world, get knocked out of the top contenders, they didn’t even win their lower pool, being beating by Puerto Rico, 4-0. They did not look like the same team that has been to the Canadian Open in previous years. It was rather disappointing.
- I was scorekeeping on another diamond for the bronze medal game, but apparently the Canada vs. Japan game was an embarrassment. Canada couldn’t hit and the Japanese kept cranking home runs off all of our pitchers. Even Sara Groenewegen, who has been our secret weapon, was unsuccessful. They mercied us. Again, embarrassing …… This was Canada’s highest place showing at an Open, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.
- The U.S. ended up with Gold, getting two three-run home runs off the Japanese pitcher, Yukani Hamamuro, before she was changed out for Yamato Fujita, who allowed no runs. It was too late, as the U.S. won the game 7-3. It’s the first time I’ve been to the Canadian Open (which this year was the World Championship) where Japan hasn’t won Gold. It was a very weird feeling.
- I must admit Japan is my favourite team. One of my favourite players is Eri Yamada, their centre-fielder. She’s not quite as crazy and hyper as she used to be, but she still gives a great show.
- One of the umpires prevented a Chinese coach from striking one of his players. He grabbed his arm and said, “We don’t do that in this country.”
- Here’s a story of Uganda’s journey to the World Championship.
- And more random acts of kindness: there is an article that talks about a Vancouver businessman who took out the Indian team and bought them all cleats. It’s wonderful to hear uplifting stories like these.