22/02/2020 - 01/03/2020

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U-18 Men's Softball World Cup 2020 - Official Payoff

Q and A: Coaches reminisce on U-18 World Cup experience

Q and A: Coaches reminisce on U-18 World Cup experience
25/02/2020
We spoke with coaches from the U-18 Men's Softball World Cup about their experience playing in the Junior Men's Softball World Cup.

For some coaches at this U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup, their softball journey has come full circle.

We spoke to coaches that have played at the Junior World Cup level, getting their thoughts on the game today, and the experiences they had representing their country.

Adam Rindfleish (AUS) – 1997 Gold Medalist, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Tell me about your last JNT experience?

I played for the 1997 Junior Steelers in Newfoundland, Canada. It was the first of four consecutive Junior World Cup wins for Australia.

It was my first international trip playing softball and it was absolutely amazing. To see my family in the stands after we won gold was something I’ll never forget.

My favourite memory of that tour was my younger brother waving the Australian flag during our national anthem after we won the championship game.

How has softball changed since you played for the JNT?

A lot has changed, that’s for sure.

The preparation of the diamonds, the amenities and even the equipment have changed since I played at this tournament.

There is definitely more focus on ‘small ball’ in the men’s game now. Bunting and hit-and-run plays have always been a feature in the women’s game, but they’re much more popular in the men’s game now.

Who was the best player you played with or against?

Nathan Nukunuku played for New Zealand in 1997, he went on to do amazing things. At that tournament in 1997 he wore these big red high-top boots. They were very memorable.

He went on to captain his country at the senior level, and only finished his international career last year.

What inspires you to coach?

Throughout my life I had amazing coaches from a very young age and I love nothing more than passing on knowledge they gave to me to the next generation.

It’s a special feeling to provide guidance to players and them using that guidance to become successful.

Diego Salguero (ARG) – 1993 Junior World Cup, Auckland, New Zealand

Tell me about your last JNT experience?

I played in 1993 in Auckland, New Zealand.

It was my first time out of Argentina and it was a lot of fun. Everything was new, the experience was new, the language was new. They teach English at school at Argentina, but it’s not the same as going into an English speaking country!

It was a fantastic journey, just like it is for these kids right now.

How has softball changed since you played for the JNT?

Technology has changed immensely.

With the introduction of broadcasting, live scoring and social media, everyone at home can keep up and know what we’re doing.

Scouting has also become part of the game, which wasn’t the case when I played. Nowadays you can’t win without some form of scouting.

Who was the best player you played with or against?

I loved facing Darren Zack from Canada and I played with Pete Meredith from New Zealand. I learned a lot from Pete.

In Argentina we have lots of great players now, like our national team captain Bruno Motroni. Bruno can do it all – he hits, plays catcher and has a fantastic ability to lead the team to win.

What inspires you to coach?

You love to see the progress of the athletes. It’s an honour to be part of their improvement. I love this game, I met my wife at the ballpark and it means a lot to me.

Thomas Makea (NZ) – 1993 Junior World Cup, Auckland, New Zealand

Tell me about your last JNT experience?

I was a pitcher and played first base during the World Cup in 1993. I was 18 at the time and it was massive at that age. It was the biggest stage for me at the time and to have friends and family there was fantastic.

How has softball changed since you played for the JNT?

The game has definitely become a lot faster. The core roles are the same, but the game has sped up. There’s more aggressive baserunning and plays in general now.

Who was the best player you played with or against?

Definitely my two assistant coaches, Jarrad Martin and Bevan Matene.

They’ve been great teammates at club and national team level, Jarrad was a great hitter and first baseman, and Bevan was an outstanding catcher.

We played together for a long time.

What inspires you to coach?

The youth of today.

It’s great to look back on the years we’ve been involved, this is our fourth cycle now and to see guys you coached at this level break into the senior team is fantastic.