This wasn't how New Zealand men's softball coach Eddie
Kohlhase envisaged his team's participation at the Dean
Schick tournament ending.
After the Black Sox lost the plate final to club side
Ramblers at Rosedale Park, Kohlhase could imagine the
softball fraternity fretting ahead of next month's World
Softball Championship in Auckland.
This was the national team's third loss in as many days,
after they also fell to Hutt Valley Dodgers on Saturday to
tumble out of tournament contention.
"If I was on the sidelines, I'd be thinking things don't look
great, too," Kohlhase admitted. "Three losses to club teams
are not what you expect of a national side.
"But it really has been a valuable opportunity to learn about
ourselves. We're not going to roll over teams - we're always
going to be in a dogfight.
"And we understand now that every team we play against are to
going to raise their games because we are the Black Sox."
The players had put in some hard yards during their nine-day
camp, training two or three times a day. It's necessary as
part of the build-up to next month's world championships, but
it doesn't always allow the players to produce their best on
The pitching rotation is a work in progress and United
States-based Jeremy Manley is still working his way back to
full fitness after recent surgery.
But Kohlhase hoped the critics will lay off his team until
they see the finished product.
"This is a great team - most of these guys here have won
world titles before and know what it takes to get up for the
heavyweight fight. We just have to tick off this part of our
preparation and move on to the next."
The Black Sox have now disbanded for a couple of days, but a
due to reconvene on Tuesday when they'll head north of
Auckland for some "alone time".
The World Softball Championship runs from March 1-10, with
New Zealand facing Mexico in their pool opener on day one.
Black Sox roster: Tyron Bartorillo (Canterbury), Tyson Byrne
(Hutt Valley), Rhys Casley (Hutt Valley), Ben Enoka
(Auckland), Donny Hale (Auckland), Jerome Haretuku
(Auckland), Nic Hayes (Hutt Valley), Penese Iosefo
(Canterbury), Wayne Laulu (Wellington), Thomas Makea
(Wellington), Jeremy Manley (US), Jarrad Martin (Wellington),
Daniel Milne (Canterbury), Brad Rona (North Harbour), Heinie
Shannon (Auckland), Patrick Shannon (Auckland), Aaron