North-American continent will be represented by team USA. And they have set their goals as high as possible. But they admit that there will be no easy games. Find out more about team USA from their head coach Gregg Leather.
Will this be the first time in Prague for your team?
Yes, this will be the first time that the USA Softball Men’s Fast Pitch National Team has competed in Prague. We are excited about the Intercontinental Cup competition that we will face, along with getting to see a historic city and all it has to offer.
What do you think of the concept of the Intercontinental Cup?
We like the concept of the Intercontinental Cup because it allows us to play in a very competitive event leading into next year’s World Championship.
What will be your approach to this event? Is it a top event for the 2018 season for you?
This is our only event for the 2018 season. Our approach will be to gain valuable playing experience for our players, however anytime we take the field our goal is always to win. Most of our players will be coming fresh off their club team season so we expect them to be in mid-season form.
Who will be some of the top players on your roster?
We bring a strong and experienced offensive team that will have to put up some runs and play exceptional defense behind our pitching. We’re bringing in two new pitchers (BJ Hunhoff and Joel Cooley) who haven’t seen the same amount of experience as Tony Mancha, but they will be counted on for us to have success. The key for us will be our pitchers keeping the ball in the park and letting our defense work for them. If we can do that, we will do well.
Do you have any friendly games scheduler before the tournament?
Not at this point.
Who do you think should be the strongest team in the tournament?
When the defending World Champion Black Sox are playing, the conversation naturally has to start with them. They are a talented group of athletes and deep in all facets of the game. Argentina and Japan are perennial powers that we aren’t looking past either, along with the host team Czech Republic. We’ve had the opportunity to watch some of the Czech pitchers this summer here in North America and they have excelled very well against some of the top players in the world. Denmark has solid pitching and world class players in the Terkelsen brothers, and Botswana showed at the last World Championship that they are a team on the rise with very strong pitching. We don’t see any easy games in this event.