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Sorenson to make his World Cup Black Sox a 'cohesive unit' by first pitch

Mark Sorenson has softball pumping through his veins – four world championships and immortality reached twice as an inductee of the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame and New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

The Black Sox coach will lead the next generation of New Zealand's best men's softball players at the Softball World Cup in Auckland.

The squad had actually been named two years ago but, as with much of the past three years, Covid-19 has disrupted the planning, including the availability of many of Sorenson's original selections.

“That’s just how we’ve had to roll. Real challenging but it’s no different for anyone else,” he says.

But it’s batter-up next month, and Sorenson is focused on bringing his 16-player squad together quickly following the recent Fastpitch National Championships.

“We’re going to ask them to put aside the conflict that they’ve had where they’ve been battling against each other and we’re going to ask them to come together as a cohesive unit.

“We’re together for a week starting this Sunday. From there it’s a pretty intensive build-up where the guys will be in the gym, on the practice field and on the playing diamond on the same day.”

The upcoming Golden Homes Invitational tournament will be used as a “pressure environment” to have the Black Sox taken to their limits both physically and mentally. It is a preparation that Sorenson says his team will need to ensure it is ready to take on the challenge that awaits in a pool that features the Czech Republic, USA and defending champions Argentina.

“To be the best, we’re going to have to beat the best.

“It’s kind of a chest-beating thing when you’re ranked number one, but that counts for nothing once the tournament is underway.”

The Black Sox will have two more opportunities to get their rhythm going before the first pitch at the World Cup on November 28.