October2012

Scott nabs place on Canadian Men's Softball team

October 25, 2012

Mitchell, ON

By Andy Bader, Mitchell Advocate



 

Scott nabs place on Canadian Men's Softball team 

By Andy Bader, Mitchell Advocate

Don Scott shows off                        his Team Canada jersey after the announcement Oct.                        15 that he will represent his country in the XIII                        ISF Men’s World Championships next year in New                        Zealand.

Don Scott shows off his Team Canada jersey after the announcement Oct. 15 that he will represent his country in the XIII ISF Men’s World Championships next year in New Zealand.

Hard work and determination have always been key attributes in the pitching life of Don Scott, of Sebringville.

Never one to fear anyone in the batter’s box, no matter the age, Scott climbed his way to the top of the heap when he was named to Canada’s men’s softball team which will play in the International Softball Federation (ISF) XIII Men’s World Championships next March in Auckland, New Zealand.

“Ultimately this is as high as I can go in this sport, so it’s always been a goal,” Scott said last week, after he was officially named to the national team Oct. 15. “I kinda wish it was a little earlier in life, but it is what it is.”

Scott, who turns 39 during the tournament scheduled for March 1-10, is the oldest player on the 17-member team, and wore the national uniform when they won gold at the Pan American championships in Columbia last month, where he was named top pitcher.

Scott, a fixture in the local pitching circles over the years, has always been a dominant right-handed pitcher, relying primarily on pure speed and guile. As he grows older, he admits he’s also grown wiser as a pitcher – and it’s paid off, especially in terms of preventing the reoccurrence of a nagging groin injury which has seemingly plagued him for years.

“I’ve had to change my delivery a little bit, I’m more straight ahead than I used to be and that takes strain off the groin,” he said. “I learned that the older I got the more pitches I need to throw. I don’t try to throw it by people anymore, you hit your spots and hope for groundouts and pop-ups. It’s much easier.”

A veteran laden pitching staff includes Sean Cleary, Sean Whitten, Paul Koert and Scott, with others on the roster who are also able to pitch if necessary during the 16-country event. Scott said national team coach Don Bates didn’t really give him any indication of his role in New Zealand, but told him to be prepared for anything.

“He basically said they’ll go with whoever gives us the best shot to win, and we feel with you on the mound we’ve got a pretty good shot,” Scott noted. “For whatever reason, I’ve always had pretty good success against the Kiwis and Aussies. I can’t explain why, I just don’t feel the pressure like the other guys maybe. I don’t have a problem going up against the top guys.”

Australia won gold in the XII ISF event in 2009, with New Zealand second. Canada, with six players returning to New Zealand from that tournament, won bronze. (Mitchell native and Scott’s longtime friend Jody Eidt was a member of the national team that finished third in Saskatoon).

A tune-up for this tournament was the gold at the Pan Ams in Columbia, which Scott said was easily the “biggest experience I’ve ever had” on the ball diamond, despite numerous championships over the years.

“It’s one thing to win the worlds (International Softball Congress title), it feels like a pretty big high but to win the Pan Ams, the worlds really didn’t hold a candle to it,” he said. “If we could go down there to New Zealand and win the ISF’s, oh man…”

What made the Pan Ams’ gold extra special was that it seemed like the 4,000-5,000 Columbia fans in attendance were cheering for Canada and not for hated Venezuela, their final opponent.

“I’d say it took a good hour or more to get from the dugout to the bus because of all the people wanting autographs and pictures afterwards,” he said. “I felt like a hero for a day. It was really cool.”

The atmosphere in New Zealand will be much different, no doubt, with Canada and North American counterpart U.S. the enemy in the land down under.

Scott has experienced championships throughout his career, including seven titles with the South Perth Men’s Fastball League's Sebringville Sting. He pitched well for the Kitchener Hallman Riversharks Twins at many big events during the last decade and was phenomenal in taking the Jarvis Travelers all the way in 2011, pitching all but two innings for Jarvis at the worlds in winning the top pitcher award.

An electrician by trade, Scott will resume his off-season throwing program earlier than usual, hitting area gymnasiums in December rather than April to get in top form for the ISF’s. His wife Lori will join him for part of the ISF’s in New Zealand, with perhaps his biggest fans - parents Al and Peggy Scott - staying back and watching his children, eight-year-old Danny and seven-year-old Hailey, and cheering along with countless others on the way to what they hope is gold.

“I’ve heard so much about softball in New Zealand, and the country itself – I’m absolutely looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m pretty sure this is my last kick at the cat here, so I’d better.”

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