Cole Evans will be the Black Sox new captain at the rescheduled WBSC Men's Softball World Cup, now to be held at Auckland’s ELE Group Rosedale Park, from February 19-27, 2022.
Evans, 22, who debuted for the Black Sox as a 17-year-old in 2015 and has played 59 internationals, said assuming the captaincy was an honour.
“It’s not something I ever thought about because all you want to do is play for your country - that’s an honour in itself,” the short stop said.
“To be named captain, well that’s huge.” And to captain the Black Sox at home, in front of family and friends, will be special. “We don’t often get to play in front of them, especially at World Championships, so that’s special, and we will be looking to go a few places better than last time.”
Black Sox coach, Mark Sorenson, says Evans ticks all the boxes as a captain. “He commands his position in the starting team, he is coachable, and he has immense mana within the group.”
Evans will lead the Black Sox at the World Cup which was scheduled for February next year, but was postponed due to the impact COVID-19 travel restrictions had on qualifying events globally.
Sorenson said the shift in dates for the World Cup would be good for some players, but not everyone.
“It will play into the hands of the young guys for whom next year was going to be too soon - now they have another year to develop and mature. At the other end of the scale another year might be one year too long for some players.”
Softball New Zealand CEO Tony Giles said it was good to have the new dates confirmed. “We’ve been working really hard with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the WBSC to get what we think is a really good outcome.”
LOC co-chair Bob Leveloff agreed. “We are delighted that everyone has agreed to the suggested dates that we put forward for the Men’s Softball World Cup. The teams will have plenty of time to prepare now and we are looking forward to an exciting World Cup in 2022.”
Confirmation of the new dates has also been welcomed by the head of the WBSC. “With this announcement we continue the legacy of the late Don Porter, whose vision, values and leadership launched the Men’s Softball World Championship in 1966 and turned it into the global spectacle it is today,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.
“After the huge success of the 2019 edition in the Czech Republic, we can’t wait to be back in New Zealand -- home to one of the leading men’s national softball teams in the world -- with the premier tournament for men’s international softball, helping to continue the exceptional growth of the game.”
As key partners of the event, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Head of Major Events Richard Clarke said: “We are delighted that the new dates are now confirmed and all teams, their fans and visitors can count on Tamaki Makaurau extending a warm welcome to them.”
Auckland will host the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup for the second time in nine years, since Rosedale Park was the stage of the 2013 edition, becoming the third New Zealand host following Lower Hutt (1976) and Christchurch (2004).
In all three tournaments New Zealand was crowned as world champion (in 1976 Canada, New Zealand and USA were declared joint winners after the playoffs were rained out).
Starting in 1966 in Mexico City, a total of 16 World Championships have been played so far, with New Zealand winning the world title seven times (1976, 1984, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2013, 2017). Throughout its 54 years of history, the Men’s Softball World Championship has been hosted in seven countries of the five Olympic continents, highlighting men’s softball global spread.