Big shoes to fill, but Halsey’s relishing the challenge

Written by Bob on June 2nd, 2015
Australian, Dean Halsey, 19, will be pitching for the Kansas City Astros during the 2015 United States men's fastpitch season. Courtesy Photo

Australian, Dean Halsey, 19, will be pitching for the Kansas City Astros during the 2015 United States men’s fastpitch season. Courtesy Photo

KANSAS CITY – For the past two seasons, the KC Outlaws have reaped the benefits of having a superior pitcher – one of the best young arms in the game – in New Zealand’s Ethan Johnston.

The talented right-hander pitched the Outlaws to a runner-up spot in the 2013 NAFA World Series A Division, and last year led them to fourth place in the A-Major Division.

He was a Co-Most Valuable pitcher and All-World selection in the World Series. But Johnston isn’t returning to Kansas City this summer. So the search went out for a replacement chucker. One to fill Johnston’s shoes. The Outlaws found one in New Zealander Kevin Papuni, said manager Michael Borjas.

And in major development during the off season, the ball club split into two teams with four players staying with the Outlaws, while several others formed the KC Astros.

So with Johnston deciding not to pitch for the Astros either, and instead taking his talent to Osaka, Japan, the brand new ball club had to search for a pitcher too.

    ONE FOREIGN TALENT REPLACES ANOTHER

And they appear to have found a good one. A pitcher with experience, with talent, and with a soaring upside to his game. But instead of signing a New Zealander, the Astros landed an Aussie.

Dean Halsey, a 19 year old, hails from Wyreema, Queensland, Australia. He’s got all the pitches, has played for his country’s national junior teams, and is thrilled to be coming to the United States on his first trip abroad.

“I am really excited to be here in the U.S. playing with such great guys,” said Halsey. “I just want to learn as much as I can from everyone I meet and play with; it’s going to be an incredible experience.”

    AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL TEAM PLAYER

Halsey, a right-hander, comes to his new American club team with an impressive resume. He’s pitched for Australia’s 17 and 19-under junior men’s teams (2011-2013), and joined the Open men’s division in Queensland in 2013.

He throws the riser, drop and change-up, has good control, and is eager to command the circle for the Astros. His objective every time he takes the softball is to give it his best effort.

“I honestly don’t have much in the way of goals right now,” he said. “I just like to try and play the best I can for who ever I am playing for, and I’ll just see where that takes me.”

    SISTER AND WILKINSON INFLUENTIAL

Halsey got his start in the sport at 14 when he traveled along with his sister to her various regional fastpitch trials. It just so happens that the boys were having tryouts too, so he thought, why not me?

“I thought I’d give it a go and it just went on from there because I really enjoyed it,” he said, adding that he can also play first base and shortstop if needed, but since he’s more valuable toeing the rubber, there hasn’t been much opportunity playing anywhere else on the ball diamond.

“Not many teams let me play anywhere else,” he added.

When he looks back on his brief fastpitch career, he says one man deserves a lot of credit for helping him as a mentor and coach – David Wilkinson.

“He has inspired me so much with this sport,” Halsey said. “He found me when I first started playing and he coached me to become the player I am today. He was such a composed pitcher and he had so much stamina and no matter what happened he always threw the same from start to finish. He was an amazing player.”

    WELCOME TO KANSAS CITY

So the Astros lose the Kiwi Johnston, but gain the Aussie Halsey. The team’s reaction to the change?

“Dean is just 19 and this is his first time out of Australia,” said Astros spokesman and left fielder Matt Springston. “We are very excited to play this year with Dean, and I think we have a very talented team.”

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. mark toft says:

    I have know Dean for many years as I have umpired him all the way through his junior and senior careers so far. I great young man. will always give 100 percent. good luck to him on this year for Kansas City.

  2. Bob says:

    Good too hear Mark, thanks.

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