Black Sox cheat accuser returns for World Cup

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012

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A Canadian softballer who accused the Black Sox of cheating to win the 2004 world men's championships crown will return to New Zealand for another world championship campaign in March.

Ontario outfielder Ryan Wolfe claimed the Black Sox - who beat Canada 9-5 in the 2004 tournament final in Christchurch - of filming the Canadian catcher's signals from centrefield and relaying them to the batter.

The claims were dismissed by Softball New Zealand and no official complaint was made to the International Softball Federation (ISF).

Wolfe has since played alongside Black Sox players on club teams in top North American tournaments. He joined Kiwi stalwarts Donny Hale, Ben Enoka and Brad Rona on the Jarvis Travellers team that won a third consecutive International Softball Congress (ISC) title.

Wolfe, 37, and pitcher Sean Whitten, 35, are Canada's survivors from the 2004 silver medal team.

Whitten will head a veteran pitching staff comprising Don Scott, who will turn 39 at the tournament, Paul Koert and a relative rookie, Sean Cleary, 28.

Koert, who is also in his 30s, will be pitching for his third country in as many world championships. He used his Dutch ancestry to throw for the Netherlands in 2004 and was on the United States pitching roster in 2009. This will be the Ontario native's first world championship with Canada.

Meanwhile, Gerald Muizelaar, who was on the Canadian pitching staff in 2004, will throw for the United States in Auckland alongside Travis Price.

The United States, who have finished fourth at the last two world tournaments, have six players backing up from 2009, including Price and proven hitters Adam LaLonde and Frank DeGroat. LaLonde and Todd Schultz are survivors from the 2004 squad.

World-class pitchers Adam Folkard and Andrew Kirkpatrick are back to spearhead the Australian Steelers.

Folkard threw Australia to a 5-0 win over the New Zealand Black Sox in the 2009 final in Saskatoon.

He and left-hander Kirkpatrick led their Australian Capital Territory team to a record 12th Australian national men's inter-state title last week.

Coach Bob Harrow, who guided the Steelers to a bronze medal in Christchurch in 2004 and to gold at Saskatoon, has kept faith with a solid nucleus from the 2009 team, but has lost his catcher son Mike and Queensland veteran Terry Downes to retirement and infielder Tyron Bartorillo will be playing for New Zealand after living in Christchurch since 2005.

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