Australia were crowned World Champions of men’s fastpitch softball on Sunday after beating New Zealand 5-0 in the gold medal game of the 12th ISF Men’s World Championship in Saskatoon, Canada.
Australia’s victory at the World Championship, was their first at open men’s level. They beat a field of 16 countries, including the USA, host nation Canada (bronze medallists) and defending champions New Zealand, who were aiming for their fourth straight World Championship title after victories in 1996, 2000 and 2004. The tournament being held every four years.
The Aussie Steelers, as they are known, finished with a 6-1 win-loss at the end of the round robin stage in their group. Their only loss came against host nation Canada in an extra-innings thriller.
The Steelers came into their own however during the playoffs.
In Australia’s first playoff game they faced New Zealand, who topped Pool A and were undefeated. The Aussie Steelers showed they were title contenders in this game with a 7-0 victory.
They booked their spot in the gold medal game when they beat host nation Canada 2-0.
In the gold medal game, they met New Zealand again and 22 year old pitcher Adam Folkard was the star. He pitched the game of his life, striking out ten batters and not allowing a single safe hit. The two walks that he gave up were all that separated him from a “perfect” game.
With Softball bidding for Olympic inclusion again, this victory should garner support in Australia.