AIMING FOR THE DOUBLE: McLeans Ridges’ Nick Shailes, contemplating his next venture overseas.
AIMING FOR THE DOUBLE: McLeans Ridges’ Nick Shailes, contemplating his next venture overseas.

A double or nothing

HE’S either been too old for national youth teams, or two young to make the open side, but now is the right time for Lismore’s Nick Shailes to star in the Australian men’s softball team.

The 23-year-old McLeans Ridges resident should play a leading role in Australia’s world championship campaign in Saskatoon, Canada, in July.

Shailes has previously been named the ‘world’s best batter’ and has selected in the ‘all world’ team in the past two years.

He spends three months of the year playing overseas and is now on the hunt for a big double – a world series ring in the International Softball Congress and a world title with the Australian team.

“I’ve been playing on the Australian team for the last couple of years, but I haven’t played at the world titles, because they are held only once every four years,” Shailes said.

“I’m 23 at the moment and it has been hard to make it into that open team because it has always been the wrong year. I’m either too old for the junior team, or too young for the open men’s team.”

Shailes will play for NSW at the national titles in Sydney next week and then start contemplating his next venture overseas.

He’s switched his northern hemisphere clubs in the off-season and will leave Townline, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in the United States, for the better-credentialed Aspen Interiors, in Saskatoon.

“Townline were around the number 10 team in the world while Aspen are ranked second in the world and so there is a very good chance of winning a world series ring with them, and that is my aim,” he said.

“At certain tournaments there are crowds of between 3000 to 4000, and as soon as you get to the ISC world titles, you are looking at 6000 to 8000 in the grandstand, which is pretty crazy.”

Coincidentally, Shailes will be playing in the same Canadian city, Saskatoon, where the world titles will be held and should be able to provide the Aussies with plenty of ‘local’ knowledge.

“Hopefully, I’ll be heading over there in early June and spend about six or seven weeks there acclimatising before it happens,” he said.

Australia is ranked number three in the world behind New Zealand and Canada, but Shailes said the chances of causing an upset were ‘good’.

“We are going in as the underdogs, but we are looking good for world titles,” he said.

The Australian team includes two of the best pitchers in the world in Canberra’s Andrew Kirkpatrick and Adam Folkard, who hurl the ball at speeds ranging from 125km/h to 135km/h, and a strong batting line-up that includes Shailes.

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