OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — When the World Cup of Softball VI opens July 21 in Oklahoma City, Olympic Champions and International Softball Federation (ISF) Women’s World Championship medalists will be among the athletes on the field at the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America Hall of Fame Stadium. The ASA announced today that athletes slated to compete July 21-25 include Japan’s Yukiko Ueno, the Gold Medal winning pitcher in the 2008 Olympic Games, and Australia’s Stacey Porter, an Olympic Silver and Bronze Medalist who has represented her country since 2002.
“When fans watch the World Cup of Softball, there is no doubt that they are watching the best softball players in the world,” said Ron Radigonda, the executive director of ASA/USA Softball. “Not only does the USA Softball Women’s National Team include members that won the Gold Medal at the 2010 ISF Women’s World Championship, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Great Britain and Japan’s rosters are stacked with medal winning athletes from softball’s most prestigious events. Participating in this year’s edition of the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City there will be Olympic Champions and athletes who were on the podium at the most recent European Championships. Whether fans watch the first game of the event, Australia vs. Czech Republic, or the Championship Game, they will not be disappointed. The World Cup of Softball is a tremendous representation of the quality and depth of international softball.”
Joining Ueno in Oklahoma City are her Olympic Gold Medal winning teammates Yukiyo Mine, Rie Nagayoshi and Mika Someya. Japan also returns six athletes who finished second behind Team USA at the 2010 World Cup of Softball: Makiko Fujiwara, Mine, Kasumi Mizoe, Nagayoshi, Someya and Eri Yamada.
In addition to Porter, 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalists Jodie Bowering and Justine Smethurst will compete for Australia in Oklahoma City. The Aussies did not compete at the World Cup last year, ending the season with a 6-3 record at the World Championship, where the team finished in sixth place.
Canada placed third at last year’s Worlds before taking fourth at the World Cup. Their 2011 roster includes eight members of the World Bronze Medal squad: Jenna Caira, Heather Ebert, Victoria Hayward, Joey Lye, Melanie Matthews, Kaleigh Rafter, Jill Russell and Jenn Yee. Yee was also a Top 3 Finalist for the 2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award during her final season at Georgia Tech.
Czech Republic is making their World Cup debut this year. In 2009, the team finished third at the European Softball Federation (ESF) Championship. The Bronze Medal qualified them for the 2010 World Championship, where the team finished 10th with a 3-4 record, the second best for a European country.
Great Britain last appeared at the World Cup in 2006, accumulating a record of 0-6. The Brits have vastly improved since their last trip to Oklahoma City. In 2009, the team finished second at the ESF Women’s Championship. Great Britain also finished 11th at the 2010 World Championship. Their roster includes Jessica Legendre, a former Oklahoma Sooner.
Among the women in Red, White and Blue are World Champions Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Ashley Holcombe (Fayetteville, Ga.) as well as the 2010 NCAA Women’s College World Series Most Outstanding Player Megan Langenfeld (Bakersfield, Calif.), who plays professional softball in Japan when she is not with the USA Softball Women’s National Team.
“We are really excited for the World Cup and to see a few new teams coming to town is going to make this event one of a kind,” said Langenfeld. “Hopefully with these teams we will continue to promote the sport even more here in the U.S. and internationally. Having played in the Japan pro league, it is great to see them bringing a tough roster, especially in Olympic Gold Med winning pitcher Yukiko Ueno.”
Oklahoma pitcher Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) and catcher Jessica Shults (Valencia, Calif.) are also among the Americans competing at the World Cup. For a complete roster of the 2011 USA Softball Women’s National Team, visit USASoftball.com.
Single session general admission tickets for the World Cup can be purchased now by calling 1-800-654-8337 or by visiting SoftballOutlet.com. Single session reserved seating tickets are only sold the day of the event at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium box office.
All-session tickets, which are $275 for the Ultimate Fan Zone seating in the first three rows of the stadium, $75 for other reserved seating and $40 for general admission seating, are also on sale now. The Ultimate Fan Zone package also includes a private autograph session and breakfast with the 2011 USA Softball Women’s National Team, only open to Ultimate Fan Zone ticket holders, as well free parking and a replica USA Softball jersey.
Seven World Cup of Softball VI games, including six women’s fast pitch games, will air across the United States this July on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. The complete domestic ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com live air schedule is below.
July 21 at 7 p.m.
USA vs. Czech Republic
July 22 at 7 p.m.
USA vs. Australia
July 23 at 1 p.m.
(Tape delayed broadcast of Noon game)
USA vs. Canada
July 23 at 3 p.m.
USA vs. Canada
Men’s slow pitch Border Battle III
July 23 at 8 p.m.
USA vs. Japan
July 24 at 4 p.m.
USA vs. Great Britain
July 25 at 8 p.m.
All times are local to Oklahoma City (CT) and subject to change.
For a complete schedule of the event, visit USASoftball.com
. - Courtesy of ASA/USA Softball