STARS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOFTBALL CONGRESS
(A Tribute to Past, Present, and Emerging Stars of the ISC)
April, 2004 Star – - – Andrew Kirkpatrick
It might have come when he first saw videos of pitcher Darren Zack in his native Australia when he was just a young sprout – - -
Or it might have come with his first exposure to playing the game of fastball at the age of 10 when he admits to “watching the pitchers – - everyone wants to pitch!” – - -
Or it might have come simply in looking for a summer season sport to augment his winter obsession with rugby.
But whatever the critical reason, ANDREW KIRKPATRICK decided that he wanted to be a PITCHER!
And the world of fastball is poised to accept the emergence of a young and budding star!
How would you describe this youthful “emerging star” of the International Softball Congress?
Try tall, he is an imposing 6’6”;
How about talented – - he was a sensation with his national team at the ISF championships in New Zealand this past winter;
Or lefthanded – - think Ty Stofflet, Mike Piechnik, Brad Underwood, Mark Smith, Peter Finn – - – -
Dreaming a bit? Got the cart before the horse? Maybe. But at this point in Mr. Kirkpatrick’s career – - – - and did we mention that he is also – - -
Young – - he will be just leaving his teens as he heads into the 2004 season with his new mates the Calgary Diamonds where he will be a hurler under the tutelage of well-known manager Peter Porcelli.
And will he be welcomed in Calgary? Listen to the Diamonds’ Kelly Wenstrum: “We are very excited to have him. Andrew showed in the ISF’s that he is the best up and coming pitcher in the world and that there is absolutely no one even close to his caliber in his age group!”
When this writer caught up with Kirkpatrick, the young southpaw had just completed a game in the 2003 ISC World Tournament in Kimberly, Wisconsin. Tossing a three-hitter, he had been victimized by a seventh-inning run and lost a 1 – 0 game to Ashland, Ohio – - – - one of three 1-0 losses which he and his Owen Sound Crunch teammates suffered in the tournament.
But let’s go back – - – way back – - – to the beginning of the story.
Following the urge to pitch, Kirkpatrick first toed the pitching rubber at age 12 in his native Canberra, Australia. It wasn’t long before his potential was recognized and he found himself playing for a junior team out of Sydney which eventually played a North American tour that included two ISC 19&Under tournaments which they won with Kirkpatrick alternating between the mound and first base.
It was this exposure to fastball ISC-style which motivated the young hurler to target his efforts toward ISC competition. In his own words, “It was a great time playing with that team, and that is where I found out about the ISC. From then on I have wanted to play in a World Tournament” and from this 2003 vantage point, he continued, “And it is the best thing I have ever done in fastball.”
Prior to his debut in ISC World Tournament competition, in the spring of 2003 his team (A.C.T.) captured the Australian national championship in a grueling event which saw him throwing five of his team’s seven games in round robin competition, losing in a semi-final contest, and facing the task of winning four games in the final day of the tournament. With Kirkpatrick on the mound, ACT won all four games to capture the title.
With such a background, and coming off an eye-opening performance in the ISF games, the next level is in his sights.
A graduate of the Australian equivalent of high school, Andrew has been working for a firm which performs maintenance on the schools of the Australian National Territory.
As he looked back over the 2003 season with Owen Sound, he listed as the high point pitching against, and defeating, the US National team with the low point being the three 1-0 losses at Kimberly. Looking ahead last August, he set two objectives for himself: competing with the Australian team in the ISF games; and coming to North America for the 2004 season with the goal of helping his team to the ISC World title.
A typical teenager, Kirkpatrick responded to the question of favorite non-sports activities as “playing with my play station” and “partying”
Pressed for his “bread and butter” pitch, he confides that he loves to throw the low rise ball a lot when facing a “big situation”. And with his talent, youth, and enthusiasm for the game, those BIG SITUATIONS are likely to be coming thick and fast this season.
By: Gordon Wise – - – ISC Information Officer