By Gary Anderson

Laurie Gouthro, born in the Philippines, has been appointed as assistant executive director for international softball by the WBSC ©WBSCThe World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced former professional baseball and softball player, Laurie Gouthro has been appointed as assistant executive director for international softball.

As part of her new role, Gouthro will lead the international softball management team at the WBSC, helping to oversee and lead the organisation and legacy of the softball World Championship platforms, including the Women's Softball World Championship.

She will also be involved in the strategic planning, procedural reform and the administration and operational delivery of international softball.

Gouthro was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States to attend both Florida Community College at Jacksonville and the University of South Florida on softball scholarships.

She was an infielder on the 1997 and 1998 Tampa Bay FireStix team playing in the Women's Professional Softball League going on to become the team's assistant coach for the following two seasons.

Gouthro also coached collegiately at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in New England and at the University of West Florida, as well as at FrostProof High School and Brandon High School in Florida.

She also had a stint in professional baseball playing as an infielder for the Colorado Silver Bullets from 1994 to 1995.

Gouthro, recently named as technical director for softball for Special Olympics International, has served as director of competition at the International Softball Federation since 2001.

During that time she has overseen the expansion of the frequency of all four World Championships in softball from every four years to every two years.

Gouthro will help lead development of international softball which still harbours hopes of appearing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ©WBSCGouthro will help lead development of international softball which still harbours hopes of appearing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ©WBSC

"Softball has always been an important part of my life, and I am very grateful for all the opportunities it has given me," said Gouthro following her appointment.

"I am excited about this new position and welcome the new challenges that come with it.

"I look forward to working with our President, Board and executive director to raise the profile of our sport worldwide and to increase participation at all levels of competition through our championship platforms and development programmes.

Gouthro has also overseen an anti-doping programme in softball that has returned no positive drug tests in Olympic history, according to the WBSC.

Commenting on the appointment, WBSC executive vice-president Dale McMann said: "The world softball community is grateful to have an individual with Ms Gouthro's experience.

"We are proud to be able to promote women and athletes into leadership positions."

Baseball and softball has gone through a major overhaul over the past two years which has seen the amalgamation of the International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation under the one umbrella group, the WBSC.

The move was primarily driven to secure inclusion on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme but baseball and softball lost out controversially to wrestling when International Olympic Committee members voted to retain wrestling in the Olympics at its Session in Buenos Aires last year.

The WBSC held its first Congress in Hammamet, Tunisia back in May where Italian Riccardo Fraccari was elected unopposed as its first President.

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