I haven't written much about the actual games, because so many other interesting things were going on, so here are some highlights:
- The weakest teams are Kenya, Uganda, Ireland, Israel, Austria, Switzerland, Serbia and India. I'm assuming that these teams don't have softball programs. The Austrians told me that they have about 7 teams throughout all of Austria and have to travel to play each other. Bravo to all of them for putting these teams together and for being brave enough to come and face some of the top guns! I'm sure it's quite an experience for them.
- I scored the Greece vs. Peru game today and what a great game! The local coach who previously brought Venezuela up to par, was working with the Greek athletes and boy, they made some amazing plays. They won 4-0.
- The Aussies are complete nut cases! They, by far, win the award for the loudest cheering and the happiest drunk people. Yellow and green everywhere they go! Sadly, in spite of being ranked third in the world, they were knocked out of the top contenders and have had to settle for the consolation round.
- The Irish team decided not to take expat Irish players from U.S. colleges and showed up with an all Irish team of mostly Slo-Pitch players. It explains why they are one of the weaker teams, but it's been exciting to see all these teams improve over the tournament.
- Canada plays Japan tomorrow for Bronze and the U.S. will face the winner to play for Gold and Silver. Japan lost tonight to the U.S. 4-3. It was a weird game. Usually Japan has played a short game, hitting beautiful singles to the outfield and running like the wind to get runs. New male coaches have replaced the usual female ones this year, and they seem to be hitting for home runs. Sometimes they get them, but often they get out. I've never seen this strategy from Japan before. However, Japan usually saves all they have until the final games and then turns it on, making you realize how good they really are. There was an absolutely amazing throw-out at home plate from right field by the Japanese tonight. I don't think any other team could have made such a perfect throw. They really are the team to beat.