OKLAHOMA CITY — Thirteen umpires from five countries will partake in the World Cup of Softball VI and Border Battle III in Oklahoma City, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. The World Cup of Softball, a women’s fast pitch event that includes six countries, is July 21-25 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium while the men’s slow pitch Border Battle is July 23.
“The World Cup of Softball VI and Border Battle III showcase the world’s best teams in fast pitch and slow pitch,” ASA Supervisor of Umpires Kevin Ryan said. “To be selected as an umpire for either of the events is an honor and a privilege, something that every umpire should aspire to. To be able to umpire with umpires from around the United States and around the world is a thrill these 13 umpires will cherish for the rest of their careers.”
Umpires for the World Cup are Australia’s Howard Watt, Canada’s Ian Brown, Czech Republic’s Jan Hora, Japan’s Yoshiko Ogasawara, and the United States’ Cindi Brunot (Lantana, Fla.), Bryan Smith (Lansing, Mich.), Traci Stoelting (Avon, Ind.) and John Wright (Olympia, Wash.). The umpires will work 18 international softball games that feature Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Japan and the recently named 2011 USA Softball Women’s National Team.
“I am in total awe of being selected by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America to represent all of the hardworking umpires in this organization. While I may be the person selected, I represent all of the great umpires that I have had the pleasure to work with and learn from over the years,” Wright said. “Umpiring at the World Cup of Softball has always been a goal of mine. But being realistic, it was one of those goals I thought I probably would never have the chance to achieve. The odds were against me. I knew I had a really slim chance at being chosen from all of the great umpires ASA has so it’s amazing to be headed to Oklahoma City for this event. I’m so grateful for the chance. It is going to hit me soon.”
Five umpires have been selected for the Border Battle including Lance Davidson of Canada. The U.S. umpires are Paul Bosshardt (Naples, Fla.), Paul Drake (Oregon, Ohio), Devin Hubble (Lander, Wyo.) and Paul Kraimer (Maple Plain, Minn.). In addition to the Border Battle, a game that will be internationally televised on ESPN, the umpires will also work a series of exhibitions July 21-22 that will help Canada and the U.S. Prepare for competition.
“My commissioner, Scott Gagnon of Minneapolis ASA, called me up a couple months ago and said ‘What are you doing at the end of July?’ I said ‘I don’t know.’ He asked me if I could get someone to watch my kids so I could umpire the Border Battle. Wow,” Kraimer said. “I said ‘No kidding. I’ll bring the kids if I have to.’ I just have to say thanks to the ASA for inviting me to do this. It is an honor and a privilege that has left me kind of speechless. Out of the 35,000 umpires in this organization, four of us were chosen. It’s a nice little club to be a part of.”
Tickets for the World Cup and Border Battle are now on sale. A ticket to the Border Battle is included in all-session ticket packages for the World Cup, which are $275 and $325 for the Ultimate Fan Zone premium seating in the first three rows of the stadium, $75 for other reserved seating and $40 for general admission seating, and can be purchased online now at SoftballOutlet.com or by calling 800-654-8337. Single session general admission tickets are expected to go on sale July 5, 2011.
Six World Cup games and the Border Battle will air across the United States this July on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com with additional 150 countries across ESPN's international networks including ESPN America, ESPN Pacific Rim, ESPN Australia HD, ESPN Brazil HD, ESPN Israel, ESPN Middle East, ESPN Africa, ESPN Caribbean and ESPN2 Caribbean receiving coverage. The complete TV schedule can be found at USASoftball.com.
The World Cup and Border Battle are events sanctioned by the International Softball Federation.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed four World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.