Kirkpatrick named as captain of Aussie Steelers, Shailes as deputy

Kirkpatrick named as captain of Aussie Steelers, Shailes as deputy

Champion pitcher Andrew Kirkpatrick will captain the Aussie Steelers at the upcoming WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship, with Nick Shailes confirmed as Vice-Captain.

The playing leadership decision was made at a team meeting on the weekend, after the Aussie Steelers arrived in Milverton in Canada on

Saturday.

Kirkpatrick is an outstanding choice to lead his country, playing in what will be his fifth open world championship. In doing so, he will equal the record for the Aussie Steelers, joining the legendary Mike Harrow on this mark.

Kirkpatrick, fondly known as ‘Cheese’, is a tall left handed pitcher who has dominated batting line-ups for many years.

He burst onto the Australian softball scene in 2000, when, as a 15 year old representing his home state ACT, he won the Most Valuable Player award at the Australian U16 Boys’ Softball Championship. This was the first of 21 individual awards Andrew has won across 17 years at national championships. He has played at open level since 2002, helping ACT to win the John Reid Shield on 11 occasions.

In 2001 he made his debut for the Aussie Steelers as a 16 year old, at the Doreen Dalton Memorial Tournament in New Zealand, and in the same year, pitched Australia to a gold medal at the Junior Men’s World Championship in Sydney.

Andrew Kirkpatrick (L) presents Josh McGovern with his Aussie Steelers cap

In 2004 as a 19 year old he pitched the Aussie Steelers to their first medal at a men’s world championship and five years later formed part of a formidable pitching combination with Adam Folkard, helping the Aussie Steelers become world champions for the first time.

Kirkpatrick has gained an excellent reputation across the globe, not only for his achievements with the Aussie Steelers, but also for his performances with club teams in North America and Japan, regarded as two of the best club competitions in the world.

Shailes will provide excellent support to Kirkpatrick, in his role as Vice-Captain.

Playing in what will be his fourth world championship for the Aussie Steelers, Shailes has come a long way since growing up in Lismore, where he played his junior softball at the Far North Coast Association.

Nick first represented NSW at open level in 2005 and was soon on the national team radar, making his debut for the Aussie Steelers in 2006 at the Commonwealth Championship in Melbourne.

By the time he was playing for Australia at the 2009 Men’s World Championship, Nick was an integral part of the team, helping the Aussie Steelers claim their first gold medal.

Nick Shailes (r) presents Josh White with his Aussie Steelers cap

Like Kirkpatrick, Shailes has gained an outstanding reputation across the globe, in particular for his achievements with various North American club teams. In 2015, players from across all teams voted Shailes as the best player in the world.

The challenges of travelling overseas for months each year then returning to Australia saw Nick move permanently to Canada, but he still represents the green and gold with pride.

The WBSC Men’s World Softball Championship will be played in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada from 7-16 July.

The Aussie Steelers are preparing for the world championship in Milverton in Canada, where they will play 14 games against local teams.

Aussie Steelers world championship schedule: https://www.softball.org.au/wbsc-announces-mens-world-championship-schedule/

Aussie Steelers lead-up game results and play-by plays: http://softball.simmetrics.com.au/tournament/steelers-leadup-games-2017/schedule/