The Aussie Steelers are heading home after a brilliant but ultimately frustrating tournament at the Men’s Softball World Championship in Canada.
While they have every right to be proud of the silver medal they earned, the Steelers are disappointed not to have gone one better.
New Zealand captured the gold medal after a hard-fought final in which they beat the Steelers 6-4, thanks largely to a grand slam by Joel Evans.
The gold medal was fitting reward for the No. 1 ranked Black Sox, who won their seventh World Championship after finishing on top of their pool and compiling a 9-1 win-loss record. Australia finished with an 8-4 record.
Aussie Steelers Head Coach Laing Harrow said his players should be proud of their silver medals, even if they were disappointed with the outcome in the gold medal game.
“It was a very disappointing finish against the Kiwis,” Harrow said. “We had our opportunities to score more runs early in the game but did not capitalise.”
Harrow paid tribute to starting pitcher Adam Folkard, who performed brilliantly throughout the tournament and kept the Black Sox in check during the final until the game changed with one swing of the bat in the fifth inning.
“Adam Folkard did a great job pitching for us. He battled very hard while carrying a few injuries,” Harrow said.
“Overall an outstanding effort by this group of men.
“Our hitting was exceptional all week and the Steelers group should be very proud of their silver medal.”
The 15th Men’s Softball World Championship in Whitehorse, Yukon, brought together 16 national teams from all five regions, as India and Turkey made their men’s world championship debuts.
Host nation Canada won the bronze medal, with Argentina, USA, Japan, Venezuela and Botswana filling out places 4-8.
The 16th Men’s Softball World Championship will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2019.