Lismore softballer's silver service for Aussies
A HOME run by Lismore softball star Nick Shailes almost tipped the balance to allow Australia to beat the Kiwis in the final of the XV WBSC Men's Softball World Championship in Whitehorse, Canada.
But Shailes, whose amazing efforts with the bat combined with a brilliant performance by the Aussie Steelers team, was not enough: They fell just short against New Zealand, after beating powerhouse teams including hosts Canada, South Africa, Argentina and India.
On July 17, the Black Sox defended its status to win its seventh world title 6-4 in a game featuring high-quality pitching and defence, as well as some clutch power hitting.
Although the Aussies had to settle for silver medals, the players showed how hard they trained since a heartbreaking fourth placing at the 2015 world championship.
Shailes showed extraordinary form with the bat, and hit five home runs during the championships.
Such is his reputation for big hitting, he was intentionally walked on five occasions.
In an interview after the Aussies defeated Argentina 9-1, Shailes said he was pleased with his team's performance.
"It was a massive effort from the guys," he said.
"We always knew we had it in us, it was just a matter of getting the young kids to believe in themselves and show what they learnt back in Australia and they did it. They came out with guns firing and continue(d) to bat well."
Shailes, an Australian team member since 2006, has lived in Canada for the past two years to play the game he loves at the highest level possible.
Far North Coast Softball Association's secretary Di McGowen said everyone was very proud of Shailes' ascendancy in the sport.
Meanwhile, host nation Canada won the bronze medal, with Argentina, USA, Japan, Venezuela and Botswana filling out places 4-8.