Daniel Chapman is one of four pitchers named on the Black Sox practice team. (file photo).
Black Sox coach Mark Sorenson is confident pitcher Daniel Chapman will be in the softball World Cup after spinal surgery.
Chapman – the Black Sox’s ace at the last World Series in 2019 – resumed running this week after undergoing surgery in April.
Sorenson said the Auckland hurler “will be back on Sunday”. His rehabilitation is overseen by the Black Sox’s medical team leader, Dr. Stephen Kara, a former blues rugby team doctor and ex-softball player.
Sorenson hoped Chapman would be “back to 90-100 percent” by early October, which would allow him to compete in the Oct. 21-24 National Fastpitch Championships and the Black Sox Trials to select a team for the world championship Auckland from November 26th to December 4th.
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Chapman had suffered from back problems for a number of years but continued to play, Sorenson said.
“But at the end of last season he was getting constant numbness in his limbs.
“Right after the surgery, the discomfort went away and it’s just a matter of allowing your body to heal.”
Sorenson said Chapman is following his rehab “on point,” has returned to light work duties at work, and will start “just flipping his arm,” with a gradual increase in intensity.
Meanwhile, Josh Pettett and Nik Hayes – Chapman’s pitching roster colleagues in Prague – are among 18 New Zealanders taking part in the International Softball Congress (ISC) tournament in Illinois.
The list includes Black Sox captain Cole Evans, his brother Rhys, brothers Ben and Thomas Enoka, Tane Mumu, Pita Rona and Liam Twigden, all of whom along with Pettett are part of Sorenson’s 20-man World Cup training squad.
Pettett, Cole Evans, Ben Enoka, Mumu and Wayne Laulu and Jerome Raemaki, members of the 2019 Black Sox roster, helped the New Yok Gremlins win the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) national title last week in South Bend, Indiana .
Sorenson is monitoring the form of the US players through live stream coverage and Black Sox assistant coach Patrick Shannon is there playing for one of the teams.”
The guys at home have been training really hard over the winter months and look in good shape,” Sorenson said. “Boys in the States are expected to continue their training programs there. Everyone is tested later and we only select players who meet our fitness standards.”
Meanwhile, former Black Sox world champions Travis Wilson and Rhys Casley have been inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame.
Wilson was a gold medalist at the 1996 World Championships before beginning an eight-year career in professional baseball. He returned to play for the Black Sox at the 2009 World Championships and is now an assistant softball coach at Florida State University.
He was a member of an elite group of players selected for five or more First ISC All World teams.
Casley led the Black Sox to the 2013 world title in Auckland, hitting a three-run home run in the final, his last game for New Zealand before retiring through injury.
He was a two-time ISC champion, three-time All-World selection, and won the Top Batter Award twice in 2004 and 2011. Casley is attending the 2022 ISC Tournament in Moline as the New York Gremlins’ assistant coach.
Brad Rona, a four-time Black Sox world champion, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next year. Rona was a seven-time ISC All World selection, five-time champion and 2016 ISC World Tournament MVP.