Sooke fastpitch standout named to national team

Scott Lieph, 29, set for world championships

John Stuart

Sooke fastball standout Scott Lieph has been named to the Canadian national team for the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship.

The Sooke Minor Fastball alumni is one of 17 players on the roster. The championship begins play on June 13 in the Czech Republic.

Lieph, a right-handed pitcher, was an integral part of the Sooke Loggers run at the Canadian championships last summer. The 29 year old was placed on Softball Canada’s 40-man prospect roster two years ago.

Over the last two summers, Lieph has played high-end competitive ball with both the Loggers and the Kitchener Hallman Cubs.

“The past two years have made me a lot more confident in myself as a player,” Lieph said. “But getting selected for this team has really given me proof for myself that I am meant to be there.”

Lieph earned his spot on the national team following a training camp in Kelowna this spring.

ALSO READ: Two Sooke fastball players represent team Canada in international tournament

Competition to get on the Canadian team is steep.

“There’s a lot of good pitchers out there so you have to beat them out,” said Lieph, a supervisor with Verity Developments in Langford.

Canadian head coach John Stuart is a fan of his rookie pitcher, whom he mentored throughout his quest to make the national team.

“I see all the potential in the world with him,” Stuart said. “I still believe he hasn’t reached his full potential.

“He’s very happy to be on the team, and he deserves to be on the team.”

Over the years, Stuart said he pressed Lieph hard to get him to mentally focus and now believes he has the potential to beat any team in the world.

Lieph will pitch behind Canadian ace Sean Cleary and Devon McCullough. Lieph and Patrick Burns round out the pitching rotation.

But Stuart said whoever is hot and ready to play will get the start.

“Scott is the type of guy who could start a championship game and win it,” Stuart said.

Canada heads into round-robin play at the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship against Denmark. The B pool also includes teams from Australia, U.S., Venezuela, South Africa, Netherlands and Singapore.

After the opening round, the top four teams in each group will advance to the playoffs in an eight-team, single-elimination knockout format.

The final game is on June 23.

Canada is ranked No. 2 in the world. New Zealand, which won the last world championship, is considered No. 1.

For Lieph, though, it’s all about the competition on the world stage.

“Everything is better because it’s all the best players in the world,” he said.

“I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome.”

BASE PATHS … Canada won bronze at the last world championships Two other Island players were also named to the Canadian team: Blake Hunter of Nanaimo and Victoria’s Kris Walushka.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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