Tyson Barkman’s long-awaited senior national team debut ended with a gold medal around his neck.
The 25-year-old righthanded pitcher from Abbotsford helped Team Canada win the recent Pan American fastpitch championship tournament in Medellin, Colombia.
Canada cruised through the round robin with a 7-2 record, which left them in second place and gave them a double life in the playoffs. As it turned out, they needed that margin for error – they lost to Venezuela in their playoff opener.
But the Canadians bounced back and beat Argentina 2-0 to earn a rematch with the Venezuelans, and they pulled off a 4-1 win to clinch the title.
Barkman had been in Team Canada’s player pool since 2009, but the Pan Ams represented his first chance to play in a major international tournament. He was impressed by the scope of the event.
“We had police escorts everywhere we went, and we were really treated like this was a big deal,” he said. “It was everything I thought it would be – it was great.”
Barkman had a bit of trouble dealing with the type of ball used at the Pan Ams, which was significantly different than the ball typically used in North America, but he was able to make a contribution nonetheless.
“I just didn’t have the flow of how to use that ball, so I didn’t get as many innings as I would have liked to,” he said. “But I came into two big games (in relief) and shut down some innings, and they used me as a pinch runner as well.”
By virtue of their top-five finish, Canada advances to the ISF Men’s World Championship, which runs March 1-10, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. Barkman is hoping to be named to that team.