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Aussie softball team warms up for tournament by taking on array of local squads

The Aussie Steelers were in Milverton this week, taking on the Elmira Expos and the Elmira 37s fastball teams in preparation for an international competition in Michigan later this month. [Liz Bevan / The Observer]

Proof that a love of softball crosses borders, the Aussies were in town this week to get a bit of practice before heading into worldwide competition in Midland, Michigan.

Taking on both the Elmira 37s and the Elmira Expos on Monday night, the Aussie Steelers junior men’s softball team stopped in Milverton to throw a few pitches, hit a few balls and get some runs over home plate.

Head coach Laing Harrow, who was actually born and raised in Milverton, says the team’s trip has been beneficial before they play against the world’s best at the Junior Men’s World Championship on July 24. The played the Elmira 37s and tied it up at seven runs apiece before calling the game after eight innings.

“We couldn’t be happier. We had a tight battle, the boys always had to answer what they threw at us. We got to play some extra innings, which we need to prepare for the worlds,” he said, adding that it was just one of many games the team played on their 11-day trip through the Waterloo Region. “We have got about 22 games in our lead-up. Coming out of a winter in Australia, we need to play those games to get ourselves ready and every opportunity to win a gold medal.”

Going up against the Elmira Expos, Harrow says the team was just looking for some good ball. They ended up winning against the Expos with a score of 7-5.

“I just want another good game. The biggest thing for us is to get the guys putting the ball in play more and getting some confidence and whatever we do now, we are just building towards the world championships,” he said between games. “There are going to be little things that pop up and don’t go our way, but it is all about how we handle adversity.”

He says the boys on the team are really appreciative of the trip, and have made a point to thank their hosts.

“We had a barbecue with all the billets and just listening to a few of the players speaking, you know that they are grateful to be here and really enjoying the country lifestyle around the Amish and Mennonite community and things like that,” shared Harrow.

Harrow says not much has changed since he left Milverton for Australia 30 years ago this September.

“It is kind of cool to be able to catch up with family and friends, but not much has changed,” he said with a laugh. “There are a few more buildings here and there, I guess.”

The team spent time in Shakespeare, playing the Falcons, and also took on the Hill United Chiefs from Six Nations and the Toronto Gators. After playing Elmira on Monday, the Aussies headed to Owen Sound to play the Selects, then to Niagara Falls for a few more matchups. They will be back in Milverton tonight (July 14) to play the South Perth All-Stars.

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

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