Patrick takes mound to battle with Argentina

July 12, 2013

Saskatoon, SK


ORIGINAL STORY  by dnugent-bowman

Saskatchewan's Aidan Patrick snags one deep in centre field against Newfoundland during the U21 Men's International Softball Championships in Saskatoon

Photograph by: Richard Marjan, The Starphoenix , The Starphoenix



Not usually one to announce a decision about his starting pitcher until game day, Dave McCullough has already made his choice.

In what will be the biggest game of the tournament to date, the Saskatchewan coach will give the ball to Aidan Patrick today in the team's final round-robin game of the under-21 men's international softball championship against Argentina. "His drop ball is great," said McCullough. "His change-up is fantastic.

"We have to try and keep Argentina off their game a little bit. They have trouble with the inside dipper and they seem to have trouble with the change-up."

A win over Argentina would secure first place in the pool for Saskatchewan, which was a perfect 3-0 entering its late game Thursday against Quebec (0-3).

Argentina, meanwhile, looked like an unstoppable force as it outscored British Columbia and the Northwest Territories 23-3 in its first two games.

However, Argentina barely squeaked out a 10-9 victory over Quebec on Friday and then lost 13-3 to Newfoundland and Labrador. Patrick won't be taking his opponents lightly though.

"You have to leave it all on the mound, especially in tournaments like this," said the Prince Albert native, who represented Saskatchewan at the national championship in Owen Sound, Ont., in 2012 as a member of the Saskatoon Junior Bullets.

"There's a lot of good ball players. Every game's a battle."

Patrick hadn't pitched before the Thursday night cap, but had still been finding other ways to contribute.

In three games, the utility player and outfielder was batting .375 with three hits - including a double - in eight at-bats.

"I think it just comes out of that pool - that gene pool," said McCullough. "It seems like when we need a key hit, his name is going with it. He's been there. It's good to see."

That gene pool Mc-Cullough refers to is Patrick's family.

His dad, Brian, was an accomplished player in Melfort, competing in the 1989 national championship, and taught Patrick the tricks of the trade.

"My dad's been able to help me with things," he said.

"He's someone I've been able to look up to growing up. He's definitely been there the whole time."

The 18-year-old competed for Canada at the junior men's world championship in Parana, Argentina last fall.

Canada finished fourth, while Argentina with current roster players Huemul Mata Carabajal, Roman Godoy and Franco Gini were the champions.

Mata Carabajal is arguably considered the best player in the world for his age group. But Patrick is no slouch as he was named Softball Saskatchewan male athlete of the year in 2012.

He feels well equipped to handle whatever comes his way.

"Seeing the pitchers from other provinces, it's very competitive," he said. "It's a big challenge."

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