Barkman takes first bite of senior men’s international ball

As confidence-building performances go, Tyson Barkman’s last start of the season with the Abbotsford Yard Dogs was a pretty good boost.

Tyson Barkman

Tyson Barkman

As confidence-building performances go, Tyson Barkman’s last start of the season with the Abbotsford Yard Dogs was a pretty good boost.

In the Fraser Valley Men’s Fastball League final against Chilliwack’s Valley Dairy Slammers earlier this month, Barkman tossed a no-hitter.

Mind you, it was only a five-inning game, ending early via the mercy rule after the Yard Dogs piled up 15 runs, but it was the definition of a dominant outing.

“I threw one inside pitch where it tailed in on the batter and hit him, otherwise I would have had a perfect game,” Barkman noted with a chuckle. “It’s a nice feeling, because you know as a pitcher that your pitches are working.”

The 25-year-old righthander wasn’t eligible to join the Yard Dogs at the Western Canadian Senior B Fastpitch Championships in Abbotsford last weekend, because he’s signed to play Senior A ball with the Scarborough (Ont.) Force. The Force are a tournament team, and Barkman’s summer schedule includes tourneys in Ontario, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Brunswick.

The event he’s most excited about, though, is the Pan American Softball Championship, which runs Sept. 15-23 in Medellin, Colombia. Barkman has been named to Canada’s senior men’s squad for that event, and the top five teams advance to the International Softball Federation world championships in Auckland, New Zealand in March 2013.

Barkman, who represented Canada at the Junior World Championships in 2005, was added to the Softball Canada’s senior men’s player pool in 2009. And while he’s been invited to several identification camps in Florida since then, the Pan Ams represent his first major international tournament at the senior level.

“It means a lot,” Barkman said. “I think it’s going to be a great experience, playing for Canada.”

The Mennonite Educational Institute grad likes Canada’s chances of earning a berth to the world championships.

“I think we should be in the top three, for sure,” he said. “But there will be good competition (at Pan Ams). Argentina’s pitchers are always in the States, and I saw a couple of them at a tournament last weekend.”