After three games of the XV Men’s Softball World Championship, the Aussie Steelers have a winning record but are lamenting some missed opportunities.
Wins over India and South Africa have propelled the Steelers to third place in the Pool A standings, behind only the undefeated Canada and Dominican Republic.
The championship, in the remote Canadian city of Whitehorse, Yukon, has attracted 16 national teams playing in two pools.
While happy with the performances against the less-powerful teams, Steelers Head Coach Laing Harrow was disappointed with his team’s 2-1 loss to the USA on day two of the tournament.
“We were disappointed with the final result,” Harrow said. “We gave ourselves chances in the final two innings but failed to convert.”
Harrow said a brilliant defensive play by USA left fielder Marcus Tan robbed Lewis Weldon of a potential two-run homer in the sixth inning.
Australia’s only run came on a solo homer by third baseman Nick Shailes. Harrow highlighted two stellar defensive plays by second baseman Brendan O’Bryne and shortstop James Todhunter.
In his first full game since recovering from injury, Adam Folkard pitched six innings, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks, with eight strikeouts.
The Steelers opened the tournament with a 16-0 victory over newcomers India. Folkard and Harrison Peters combined to pitch a no-hittter, with nine strikeouts between them in four innings. Joshua White was the best of the hitters, driving in four runs on two hits, including a home run.
Harrow said it was the ideal start for his team. “The Steelers were keen to get the tournament off with a good start,” he said. “They did not disappoint, hitting the ball very hard and being aggressive on the bases.
“With India playing their first ever game at WBSC, they made some great defensive plays in the outfield.”
Against South Africa, Shailes homered again and drove in three runs. Peters and Jarryd Farrell combined to pitch five shutout innings, striking out 12.
Australia’s next game is against the Dominican Republic, to be followed by what is sure to be one of the toughest contests of the tournament, against host nation Canada.