Saturday July 24th, 2021

"Border Battle" update #2

USA Softball Men’s National Slow Pitch Team improves to 8-0 in exhibition play!

OKLAHOMA CITY Throttled in its opening game, Team Canada bounced back to win a pair of exhibition slow pitch games on Friday while the USA National Team completed its exhibition schedule with a rout of Fence Brokers Incorporated of Bryant, AR, 41-7, in four innings at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex. The USA finished its exhibition schedule 8-0, including three wins in Oklahoma City, and are now ready to take on Canada in the Border Battle III tomorrow at 3:00 p.m./CT. The USA won the first Border Battle 30-23 in 2009 with Canada tying the series at 1-1 with a 30-29 win last year, leading to this year’s rubber match.

Canada, which was flat in its opening game, losing 26-4 to Gold’s Gym of Dallas, concluded its exhibition series with a 4-1 record. Two of the wins came in Canada with the other two Friday, beating Fence Brokers, 13-10 and Touch of Gray of Oklahoma City, 25-5, in four innings. Against Fence Brokers, Team Canada fell behind 8-2 and closed the deficit to one, 8-7, after three innings before taking command of the game for good with six runs in the final three innings. Fence Brokers, meanwhile scored only twice in the last three innings.

Third baseman Todd Cadenhead’s two- run homer in the fifth inning put Team Canada into the lead to stay, 9-8, and Mike Hooks’ double brought across the third and final run of the inning. Cadenhead (2-4) led Team Canada with four RBI and teammate Franck Henry drove across a pair of runs with a perfect performance (four-for-four). Canada had 20 hits, four more than the Fence Brokers who went scoreless in four of the seven innings.

In its final exhibition game, Team Canada started fast with a six-run first inning and never looked back ending the game on a run rule with a 10-run fourth inning on eight hits. The hits included three of the five homers Canada hit in the game.

Team Canada outhit the Fence Brokers, 23-6, with Jason Gallichen leading the offense with six RBIs on two hits in three trips to the plate. The Fence Brokers collected only six hits with no player having more than one. The Fence Broker lineup included two players familiar to slow pitch fans, Ron Parnell and Darrell Beeler. For Parnell it was his last game after an outstanding career playing for a variety of top slow pitch teams, including the renowned Steele’s Silver Bullets.

Canada has 10 players who played in last year’s Border Battle, but missing is pitcher Brian Higginbotham, who has moved back to Seattle and was a threat on offense as well as doing a solid job in the circle.

Canada will need to play its best game of the season if it expects to surprise this USA National Team, which exploded for 43 hits in the final game Friday against the Fence Brokers, who honored former teammate John Glidewell by having his name on the back of their jerseys. Glidewell died last December and certainly was among the best of the players of big-time slow pitch.

The USA put the game away early with a 23-run first inning and the only thing in doubt was what the final score would be and thank heaven for the 20 after four-inning run rule. USA right fielder Brian Wegman led the offense with five hits in as many at bats and drove in four runs against Fence Brokers. The USA hit its limit of 10 homers with Wegman, Greg Connell, and Rusty Bumgardner hitting two each with Johnny McCraw, J.D. Genter and Brian Rainwater each hitting roundtrippers.

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