Seven players will be making their men’s softball world championship debuts when the Aussie Steelers travel to Canada for the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship this year.
Australian selectors have chosen a mix of youth and experience in the team for the World Championship, which will be held in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada in July.
2017 Aussie Steelers Team
|Jarryd Farrell||Joshua McGovern||Harrison Peters|
|Adam Folkard||Hayden Mathews||Nick Shailes|
|Shaun Goffer||Ryan Merriman||Ryan Sinclair|
|Mark Harris||Nick Norton||James Todhunter|
|Jullian Jemmott||Brendan O’Byrne||Lewis Weldon|
|Andrew Kirkpatrick||Liam O’Leary|
Jarryd Farrell, Hayden Mathews, Joshua McGovern, Ryan Merriman, Brendan O’Byrne, Liam O’Leary and Lewis Weldon are all newcomers to the team, but Head Coach Laing Harrow does not expect the debutants to be overawed by the occasion.
Andrew Kirkpatrick adds experience to the Aussie Steelers.
“They went to the Challenge Cup in Auckland and handled themselves well against quality opposition like New Zealand and Argentina,” Harrow says. “That experience was massive for us and will do them the world of good. It won’t be as daunting when they face those teams in Whitehorse.”
Harrow believes the newcomers will benefit from the guidance of experienced players such as Adam Folkard and Andrew Kirkpatrick, as well as Nick Shailes, originally from Lismore, Australia but who has lived in Canada in recent years.
Harrow believes the Steelers have a genuine chance of causing a major upset this year. “We are aiming to win the whole thing,” he says. “That’s what the guys are preparing for.”
“Teams like Canada, Argentina, New Zealand and Japan are going to be hard to beat, and we’ll have to be on top of our game against them.”
While the remote town of Whitehorse is not on many people’s list of travel destinations, Harrow says it is a great place to host such an event. “It’s a beautiful venue and it has worked well before when it has hosted women’s and junior men’s World Championships.”
“There are no lights at the fields because they don’t need them. At that time of year it’s light until almost midnight. The locals really get behind it and turn it into a great experience.”
To tune up for the World Championship, the Steelers will play a series of games in the more familiar surrounds of Milverton, Ontario.
“We’ll get 12 to 14 games against local teams who will provide quality competition,” Harrow says. “Hopefully we can fly under the radar and surprise a few teams in Whitehorse.”