12 December 2022

Influence of late softball legend lives on as son, grandson help clinch Australia's second world title

| Tim Gavel
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ACT players in the World Championship winning Australian Men’s Softball team Adam Folkard, Josh McGovern, Josh White, Jay Selu and Matt Harrow.

ACT players in the world championship-winning Australian men’s softball team Adam Folkard, Josh McGovern, Josh White, Jay Selu and Matt Harrow. Photo: Softball ACT Facebook.

Bob Harrow died in July this year aged 77 years but the Harrow name continues to be omnipresent as it echoes through the performance of the Australian Steelers and their second world title success.

Bob’s son Laing was head coach of the Steelers when they won the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup in Auckland on Sunday 4 December, and Matthew, Laing’s son and Bob’s grandson, made his senior world cup debut.

Bob, who guided the Australian men’s team to its first world title in 2009, no doubt would have been looking down as the Steelers defeated Canada 5-2 in the final.

READ ALSO Vale Bob Harrow: A legend of Canberra sport

Laing said Bob’s legacy shone through.

“When he took over the Australian team he really encouraged the guys to change the culture and improve their discipline,” he said.

“He was a big driver in those areas and we tried to maintain those standards in Auckland.”

Australian men's softball coach, Laing Harrow.

Australian men’s softball coach, Laing Harrow. Photo: Laing Harrow Facebook.

Canberra’s Adam Folkard, a member of the 2009 success, was also part of the winning side in New Zealand when he returned as Australian vice captain for the 2022 campaign.

Adam was one of five ACT players in the Australian team alongside Matthew Harrow, Josh McGovern, Josh White and Jay Selu.

The Aussie team experienced some early wobbles during the tournament with a 6-0 loss to Canada in the opening round.

But the Steelers flipped that result in the final.

The performance of 18-year-old pitcher Jack Besgrove provided one of the highlights in the decider. The teenager pitched a complete game, striking out 10 batters, walking three, and allowing only one earned run.

Australia’s Marshall Kronk was named world cup MVP.

READ ALSO The CBR Brave win another major award: Canberra’s Team of the Year

It marked an incredible team result given the hurdles.

“We haven’t been able to play as a team for three years,” Laing said. “Because of COVID, our last tournament was the 2019 worlds.”

He said his father would have been proud of the way the team remained on course through the tournament.

“I had a bit of a thought about it when I was out on the diamond. The guys understand how important Dad was in developing softball in Australia. They wore black arm bands in the first game.”

For Laing, there’s little time to rest as he continues in his full-time roles as head coach of the Australian men’s and women’s teams.

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