Traralgon child Blake Townsend competes on world stage as baseball’s recognition rises in Australia
Pitching prodigy Blake Townsend hopes Australia’s breakthrough efficiency on the world stage will assist encourage a brand new era of expertise to take up the game.
- Blake Townsend grew up in Traralgon in regional Victoria and is making a reputation for himself in baseball
- Townsend is considered one of 35 Australians taking part in skilled baseball
- Baseball Australia says the game is gaining in recognition
Australia’s shock run on the World Baseball Basic earlier this 12 months got here to an finish with a 4-3 quarterfinal loss to Cuba, in what was the workforce’s greatest efficiency on the match.
The workforce certified for the knockout stage after profitable three of its 4 video games in Pool B, which included an upset win over South Korea.
It was a proud second for Townsend, whose selection of baseball was an unconventional path for a younger athlete rising up within the regional Victorian city of Traralgon, the place soccer, netball, basketball and cricket dominated the sporting calendar.
His love affair with America’s favorite pastime began on the age of 10, when a flyer was dropped at his major faculty inviting junior gamers to a come-and-try day on the Traralgon Pink Sox.
“I keep in mind after I was a child throwing a tennis ball round with my dad within the yard, so it was type of straightforward to transition into one thing like baseball,” he stated.
Now simply over a decade later, the 21-year-old has already ticked a number of objects off his profession bucket record.
He stated the match in opposition to Japan was his private spotlight, the place he had the chance to pitch in opposition to his idol Shohei Otani, in entrance of a crowd of 41,000.
“It was a surreal expertise,” he stated.
“Australia has been checked out as not one of many high groups on this planet, however now I really feel like we confirmed that we belong in that dialog.”
Love of the sport
Baseball turned a central focus for the Townsend household as Blake turned extra engaged within the sport.
With alternatives to compete in tournaments in Guam, Taiwan and most lately Japan, Blake’s mom Nicki stated the household by no means missed a chance to tag alongside.
“He beloved it from the primary time he tried,” she stated.
“Holidays for in all probability the final 10 years have all the time been baseball associated, so Blake’s taken us on some nice journeys.
“I really feel we’re a fairly shut household as a result of we have spent so many hours within the automotive travelling to coaching.”
Traralgon Pink Sox membership president John Kus stated he remembered Townsend standing out from the remainder of the junior gamers attributable to his robust work ethic.
Blake was 14 when he pitched in a senior C grade premiership together with his dad Peter.
It was Kus who first recognized his robust left arm and helped him to develop his expertise as a pitcher.
It put him on a path to representing Australia and led to him signing a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners in america.
Kus stated he want to see extra gamers progressing by way of the system.
“I feel most individuals are very pleased with Blake, he is a really humble particular person and was a really coachable child,” he stated.
“There’s a whole lot of different good Australian children that may progress by way of the pathways a lot faster than they might in the event that they had been taking part in soccer or cricket.”
Rising the sport
Baseball Australia chief govt officer Glenn Williams stated the game had by no means been more healthy.
“We’re Australia’s greatest stored secret,” he stated.
Williams stated there have been greater than 50,000 energetic gamers throughout the nation and participation numbers had grown for the previous 9 years.
There are 35 Australians taking part in baseball professionally, together with Townsend, who stated he hoped to see extra children giving the game a crack.
“Any little bit of publicity that we will acquire for the game and attempt to cross on the baton to the subsequent era … it is enormous for the event of baseball in Australia,” he stated.