Ellsworth wins gold with national team
Co-captains Jeff Ellsworth and Ryan Wolfe led a victory lap with a Canadian flag Sunday after winning the International Softball Federation (ISF) world championship in Saskatoon.
“You chase this tournament your whole career, you play ball for this very event,” Ellsworth said after the medal presentation. “It’s the first time Canada has won this in 23 years, so to put Canada back on top with your last crack at it, it’s pretty special.”
Ellsworth won a bronze at the tournament in 2009 in Saskatoon and was part of the fifthplace team in 2013 in New Zealand.
Canada defeated the defending champs from New Zealand 10-5 Sunday in the championship game, but it didn’t look good early.
New Zealand knocked Canadian ace Sean Cleary out of the game and led 5-0 in the third inning.
Ellsworth said the Canadian squad remained positive, despite being in an early hole against a team - and pitcher Heinrick Shannon - that handed them their only loss of the tournament on Saturday night.
“We trust each other,” said Ellsworth, a St. Lawrence native.
No. 9 hitter Brandon Horn led off the bottom of the third with a double and scored on Mathieu Roy’s single before Brad Ezekiel’s home run cut the lead to 5-3.
“Brandon is one of the elite hitters in the world,” Ellsworth said.
“That’s all it takes with this squad, too, is just one person to have that quality at-bat to get the train started.”
Before the end of the inning, Steve Mullaley hit a solo home run. He broke the game open the following inning with a grand slam and added a two-run shot in the sixth for his third home run and seventh RBI of the game.
“It was just insane,” Ellsworth said. “Everything he touched seemed to find its way over the fence.”
Ellsworth was 1-for-3 with a double and a sacrifice bunt in the championship game.
Ellsworth said he was thinking about all the people who had helped him along the way, starting back with some of his first coaches, including his parents Melvin and Sheila, and his wife Lori, for her support as he spent 15 years travelling to get to the pinnacle of the sport.
Ellsworth arrives back on P.E.I. today, but it will be a short stop. He leaves Thursday for Ajax, Ont., as part of Canada’s team chasing gold at the Pan American Games.
He called Sunday’s victory “step one” towards the double gold goal.
Winning this, obviously, the confidence goes up. We’ll be ready to go back to work on Saturday.”
St. Lawrence’s Jeff Ellsworth, right, won gold Sunday with Canada at the International Softball Federation world championship in Saskatoon.
Jeff Ellsworth makes contact during preliminary round play at the International Softball Federation world championship.