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Mark Sorenson wants to keep Black Sox coaching job

September 13, 2019

Wellington, NZ - - Mark Sorenson wants to keep Black Sox coaching job

Mark Sorenson wants to coach the Black Sox for a fourth world softball championship.




Mark Sorenson has re-applied for the Black Sox coach's job, saying he feels "a sense of responsibility" to return the New Zealand team to the world softball championships podium.

Sorenson was "gutted" after the Black Sox finished fourth at the 2019 world series in Prague in June after seven world titles and 10 consecutive appearances in the final.

After returning home, Sorenson decided, after due reflection, he still had the passion for the job and a desire to atone at the 2021 world championships in Auckland.

Softball New Zealand has advertised the head coach's job - a standard procedure after world championships.

* Black Sox lose bronze medal game
* Black Sox lose world title
* Black Sox beat Australia 
* Black Sox crash to third loss


Mark Sorenson discusses an umpire's call at the 2019 world softball series.
Mark Sorenson discusses an umpire's call at the 2019 world softball series.

A four-time world champion as a player, Sorenson said it still smarted that the Black Sox's worst result for 39 years "happened on my watch".


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"I feel a sense of responsibility to fix it and ensure we are better [at the 2021 tournament].

"I'm not the type of person to walk away from a challenge."

Sorenson, who guided the Black Sox to a silver medal in 2015 and gold in 2017, said he wanted the opportunity to "re-set the programme" .

"But, obviously, it's a process and there's another 10 days before applications close."

Softball New Zealand has completed a review into the Black Sox's ill-fated Prague campaign.

The review findings have not yet been made public, but Sorenson - who had called before for a "brutally honest" review, said it had been "a fair and very thorough" process.

Feedback had been sought from the playing group and management.

Sorenson said the review highlighted "some learnings" for the next campaign.

He said he had been through some "self-analysis" since the tournament.

"It took me some time to get over the disappointment," he said.

A visit to the United States helped.

The New Zealand Black Sox softball team with coach Mark Sorenson (third from left).
Debbie Barker Photography
The New Zealand Black Sox softball team with coach Mark Sorenson (third from left).

Sorenson attended the International Softball Congress (ISC) tournament in Wisconsin to support close friend Jim Wana, the Black Sox's pitching coach, who was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame.

"It was also the 25-year anniversary of my All Car team winning the ISC [in 1994] so a group of my old teammates were there. That was a lot of fun."

Normally, Sorenson attends the ISC, "casting a critical over the tournament".

"This time, I was there as a fan."

He saw Black Sox players Jerome Raemaki and brothers Ben and Campbell Enoka win the ISC title with the New York Gremlins, with Ben Enoka winning the top batter and MVP awards.

Sorenson also benefited from five days in California with two-time Black Sox world series winning coach Don Tricker, now the high performance head at the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball club.

He discussed the Black Sox's campaign with Tricker and spent time at the Padres' training base, looking "at things they do that we might be able to adapt, even though the two games are different."

Sorenson returned feeling refreshed and motivated to continue, although he knows his future will be up to the Softball New Zealand decision makers.

Meanwhile, Sorenson said former captain Nathan Nukunuku's retirement would "certainly leave a void" in the Black Sox ranks.

Nukunuku, a four-time world champion, confirmed this week he is stepping down after 20 years in the Black Sox.

"When you've got someone who's played as many games [126] as Nathan has, absolutely it will leave a void.

"He's been captain for six years and three world championship, so it will be a huge hole to fill, but it's an opportunity for someone to step in and help build the team around their style and their values."

Nukunuku was leaving "with a huge amount of IP [intellectual property]", accumulated over two decades. "You can ask someone with that kind of experience questions about strategy because they do have a lot to offer."

Sorenson - who captained the Black Sox for a decade, including three world championships - said the "weight of expectation is huge" for a Black Sox skipper, "especially going into a world event as the defending champs".

"There's a lot of work behind the scenes that people don't see."