Player Profile – Laing Harrow
Laing Harrow epitomizes all that is Australian men’s softball. A consummate professional both on and off the diamond, there is no young softball player who does not know his name or aspire to be like him.
Laing immigrated to Australia in 1987 when Softball Canberra secured the coaching services of his father, Bob. He represented Australia at the 1988 ISF Men’s World Championship (Saskatoon, Canada) at the age of 18 years after being selected from the ACT U19 state team.
In an era where the Australian men’s softball program only generated activity within the 12 months leading into a world championship, Laing went on to represent Australia at the 1992 ISF Men’s World Championship (Manila, Philippines) and captained the Australian men’s team to the 1996 ISF Men’s World Championship (Michigan, USA), which for the first time since their introduction to world championship competition, secured a final’s berth.
Laing retired from international competition after accumulating 37 caps for Australia. Up until the 2004 ISF Men’s Softball World Championship in Christchurch, Canada, he was one of only three Australian men’s softball players to have participated in three senior men’s world championships.
Laing also stepped down from state competition in 1998 after 12 years’ service to the ACT, which included three senior men’s national titles, 1998, 1990 and 1993, and two major awards – Best Batter 1998 and Most Valuable Player 1993.
In 2001 Laing was Assistant Coach under Lindsey Carroll of the victorious Australian U19 men’s team who took gold at the VI ISF Junior Men’s World Championship in Sydney. He made his senior coaching debut alongside his father during a tour of New Zealand, also in 2001, which saw the Australian men’s team defeat the New Zealand Black Sox for the first time in their 13-year competitive history.
In October 2002 Softball Canberra nominated Laing for Softball Australia Hall of Fame membership for services rendered to softball. His nomination was successful, and he became only the second male, and first male softball player to receive this national softball honour.
In 2003 Laing was further recognised with perhaps one of softball’s greatest honours: his name was bestowed on Australian softball’s newest men’s competition, the Australian U23 Men’s Fastpitch Championship, known as the Laing Harrow Shield.
In October the same year Laing achieved the ultimate hat-trick when he became the first Australian men’s softball player to be inducted into the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame.