Steelers power their way to crucial win

Nick Norton slides into second base during the Aussie Steelers' win over Argentina at the Men's Softball World Championship. Pictures: Maddy Flanagan

Steelers power their way to crucial win

A brilliant display of power hitting led the Aussie Steelers to an emphatic and important victory over Argentina at the XV Men’s World Softball Championship in Whitehorse, Canada.

After six games, the Steelers have a 4-2 win-loss record, tied for second place in the Pool A standings with the USA and Argentina. Today’s result sets up a likely clash with New Zealand in the next round.

Andrew Kirkpatrick

Andrew Kirkpatrick hits a line drive against Argentina.

Head Coach Laing Harrow was thrilled by his team’s performance against Argentina.

“A fantastic team effort today,” he said. “The guys showed great discipline in the batter’s box, resulting in some huge home runs.

“Kirkpatrick and Norton kept the Argentina offence very quiet.

“We are very focused on tomorrow’s game against Hong Kong. A win gives us a chance at second place in our pool and gives us double life.”

Against Argentina, the Australian offence wasted no time flexing its muscle as leadoff batter Nick Shailes homered in the first inning. Argentina hit back with a solo homer by Teo Migliavacca in the third inning.

But the Steelers blew the game open in the bottom of the third. No. 9 hitter Brendon O’Byrne led off with a solo homer. Then Shailes walked, went to second on a passed ball and scored on James Todhunter’s single.

The rally looked to have fizzled when pitcher Andrew Kirkpatrick lined into a double play, but the Steelers were not done with yet. After Joshua White walked, Ryan Merriman blasted a two-run homer to give his team a 5-1 lead.

Sensing a chance to end the game early, the Steelers continued to attack in the fourth inning. Ryan Sinclair walked and O’Byrne launched another home run, his third in two days. It was the first of three consecutive home runs for the Australians, with Shailes and Todhunter following suit.

The 9-1 lead was more than enough for Kirkpatrick, who pitched brilliantly. He allowed just one run on four hits and one walk, with five strikeouts.

The Steelers’ final pool game is against Hong Kong on Friday, Australian time, with the crossover games beginning at the weekend.