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Lloydminster roots seek world softball championship

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With its Lloydminster connection in play, the Grande Prairie Pirates fastpitch team are heading to the World Club tournament in Moline, Illinois from Saturday, August 13th to attempt to bring back the world title.

The Pirates are currently ranked fifth in the world on the International Softball Congress or ISC listing with the Kitchener Hallman Twins leading the field.

Todd McCulloch is in his second season as head coach and notes that back in the day, the team went under the name the Lloydminster Dodgers before they connected with Shane Milligan in the move to Grande Prairie. The team will take 18 players along with three coaches to Illinois.

Assessing their chances, McCulloch says they started the season ranked seventh and are now fifth in the world.

“We’re right up there with the top teams. I think anybody within the top six to eight teams can be beat on any day. So we just have to go take care of our business and play how we can play and I think our chances are very good.”

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Going up at the club world championships McCulloch notes that the teams ranked ahead of them have bigger budgets than they do, but they “have each other’s backs and they play for each other.”

“We have all Canadian guys. The top three or four teams in the world are drawing from national team guys from Argentina, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. We don’t have any of that. We have all-western Canadian boys that just want to play the game.”

With 34 teams competing, he feels what gives them the edge is their “good team chemistry” that puts them above a lot of other teams.

The Pirates had to qualify for the ISC championships by winning the Kelowna May Days tournament where they went undefeated. Their first game of the tournament will be against the Pueblo Bandits on Saturday August 13th. The final is on August 20th.

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