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Black Sox softball coach Mark Sorenson off to San Diego Padres' spring training baseball camp

February 12, 2020

Wellington, NZ - Black Sox softball coach Mark Sorenson off to San Diego Padres' spring training baseball camp



Black Sox softball coach Mark Sorenson is to visit the San Diego Padres' Major League Baseball Club's spring training camp in Arizona.



 Black Sox coach Mark Sorenson will attend Major League Baseball club San Diego Padres' spring training after an invite from his former New Zealand softball teammate Don Tricker.

Tricker – who coached Sorenson in the Black Sox's world championship winning teams in 2000 and 2004 – is now the director of player health and performance at the Padres.

"Obviously, it's set up through Don," said Sorenson, who will leave on Sunday for the Padres' spring training camp at Peoria, Arizona after first taking in the National Fastpitch Championships inter-provincial softball tournament in Lower Hutt.

"Don asked if I wanted to come over when their spring training games start, but I said I wanted to be there when the hands-on coaching is happening.

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Former New Zealand Black Sox coach Don Tricker is director of player health and performance at the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball Club.


Sorenson – rated by many as one of world softball's all-time greats – said he wanted to see how the Padres coaches worked with catchers and position players, "and how they measure success".

He will still be there when San Diego begin their spring training games against other Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs.

Tricker and Sorenson have been friends for over 30 years since their playing days. They were club and provincial rivals, but played together on New Zealand's silver medal winning team at the 1988 world softball championships in Canada.



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

Sorenson went to San Diego to spend "five or six days" with Tricker after the Black Sox's disappointing 2019 world softball championships campaign in Prague, where they finished fourth – out of the medals for the first time since 1980.

The Kiwi softball coach was impressed with the Padres' operation and "got to watch three games".

Tricker joined the Padres in 2017 after seven years as New Zealand Rugby's head of high performance – a spell which included behind-the-scenes involvement in the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup winning campaigns in 2011 and 2015.

Since he has been in San Diego,Tricker has been generous in allowing New Zealand sports personnel access to the Padres, including Crusaders coach Scott Robertson.

He also hosted the New Zealand Junior White Sox team while they were in California for the 2019 world under-19 girls softball championships.



San Diego third baseman Christian Villanueva fields a ball in a 2018 Major League Baseball game.


Tricker told Stuff at the time of his Padres appointment that he "wouldn't have had the jobs I've got" without his softball experience with the Black Sox, and he hoped there would be a chance for Softball New Zealand to "leverage off" the Padres.

"Obviously, I'm very good mates with [Black Sox coach] Mark Sorenson and I expect Mark will pop up at the Padres, possibly at spring training," he said in 2017.

"The Padres have got some great coaches and it would be good for people like Mark to spend some time with them."

Tricker also recommended a Padres farm system catcher, Johnny Homza, to the Auckland Tuatara for their latest Australian Baseball League campaign.



San Diego Padres' Manuel Margot (7) is safe at second on a stolen base as New York Mets' shortstop Amed Rosario (1) drops the ball in a 2019 game.

Sorenson, who once attracted interest from Toronto Bluejays scouts as a young softballer, said he would be looking to see what he could learn from the Padres to take back to softball.

"Obviously, they get to be with their players for nine or 10 months of the year, but I'll be looking to see how they prepare their guys and get alongside them and see what we can adapt to our own environment."

The Padres, who finished bottom of the National League West standings in 2019, are noted as a progressive franchise with a lot of young talent in their development teams.

They have a new manager for 2020, 39-year-old Jayce Tingler, a former coach and front office staffer with the Texas Rangers.

The Padres share the Peoria Sports Complex spring training base with the Seattle Mariners.