In The Spotlight: Kyle Linton, renowned Canadian and ISC pitcher

Written by Bob on August 30th, 2016
Kyle Linton of the Toronto Batmen pitched the Canadian squad to 8th place (4-2) in the 36-team, 2016 ISC World Tournament. Linton had a 3-2 record in six games , one shutout; and in 31 innings allowed 26 hits, walked 12, struck out 50 with a  2.25 ERA.  Photo By BOB OTTO

KYLE LINTON of the Toronto Batmen pitched the Canadian squad to 8th place (4-2) in the 36-team, 2016 ISC World Tournament. Linton had a 3-2 record in six games , one shutout; and in 31 innings allowed 26 hits, walked 12, struck out 50 with a 2.25 ERA. Photo By BOB OTTO

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CA – When Kyle Linton was 12 years old, he says, “I bugged my dad to teach me how to pitch.”

Dad must have been a very good teacher and Kyle a studious pupil. Because 19 years later at 31, Linton has developed into one of the world’s top fastpitch pitchers.

His resume in Canada and the ISC World Tournament fairly glows with success. Let’s start with his exploits in his homeland.

    SHINING SILVER

In 2014, Linton won a silver medal pitching for Kelly’s Pub Molson Bulldogs in the Senior & Master Men’s Canadian Fastpitch Championships. And on Wednesday, he will be pitching once again in the championships (Aug. 31-Sept. 4) at Caribou Memorial Softball Complex in St. Johns, Newfoundland.

Winning the championship will take some doing as star power fills every roster of the 10 teams competing.

“Kelly’s Pub will need to stay focused and ensure that we don’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Linton, who will share pitching duties with Don King, Liam Myers and Colin Walsh. “We have to look at the tournament as ‘one game at time’ mentality.”

    MAKING THE DREAM TEAM

Linton has the Canadian championship set in his sights, but there’s another goal he’s aiming for: winning a spot on Canada’s national fastpitch team. He’s listed as one of the potential players in the athlete pool.

From this star-studded cast, Canada’s coaches will assemble the best team possible. And they will be assigned a challenging task: bring home a second consecutive World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Championship. Canada won the title in 2015 with a resounding 10-5 defeat of New Zealand, and will host the event in 2017 at Whitehorse, Yukon.

And Linton would like nothing better than to make the final cut and keep that coveted championship trophy on Canadian soil.

“To make the team in 2017 would be a tremendous honour,” he said, “and I know it would be a fun task helping Team Canada repeat as WBSC world champions.”

We’ve covered his Canadian resume, now let’s look at what he’s achieved in the ISC World Tournament.

    ALL-WORLD CHUCKER

In 2015, he pitched the Toronto Gators to a runner-up spot. In so doing, he earned his first, First-Team, All-World award for his 3-0 record and 0.50 ERA. And at the 2016 World Tournament in Moline (Aug. 13-20), he turned in another fine performance in pitching the Toronto Batmen to a No. 8 finish among the 36 teams in the tournament.

What does it take for a pitcher to succeed in the world tournament that features the best club teams in all of men’s fastpitch?

“During the World Tournament this year, the thing that worked best for me was understanding the task at hand,” he said, “and keeping mentally focused during the week.”

Linton’s stats once again ranked with some of the world tournament’s top pitchers:

  • He pitched in six games, tying him No. 2 with Sean Cleary of the champion Toronto Gators and the New York Gremlins’ Roman Godoy. Cleary was picked as the Most Outstanding Pitcher, and Godoy made Second-Team All-World.
  • Linton’s 31 innings, ranked No. 5 in most innings pitched.
  • His three wins (3-2), tied him No.3 with four other hurlers.
  • Linton struck out 50 batters, No. 4 among all pitchers. Only Cleary (70), Adam Folkard (68) of Hill United Chiefs, and Huemul Mata (53) of the NorthEast Drillers had more strikeouts.
  • And he had a respectable 2.26 ERA, of which places him in the upper third of all pitchers with the lowest earned run averages.
  • It’s reasonable to think that he was considered for a spot on the All-World team. And with one more win, might that have got him the nod?

    Linton certainly didn’t dwell on any such thoughts during the tournament. He had other worries on his mind. Utmost setting down batters who wanted to crush his risers, drops and change-ups.

    “Facing the best teams and players in the world is not easy,” Linton said. “The top five to seven teams have solid lineups and their aren’t many guys you can pitch around.”

    And it’s a safe bet that the batters have the same respect for Linton.

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