Imagine being 16 years old and throwing a softball 124 kilometres an hour.
That's the reality for Orange product Jack Besgrove as the gun relief pitcher just got home from New Zealand where he competed for Australia in the Under 18 Men's Softball World Cup.
The green and golds brought a silver medal home from Palmerston North after losing to Japan 9-2 in the grand final and Besgrove saw plenty of action throughout the campaign, appearing in five games including a two-inning stint in the finale where he allowed just two runs - one off a ground out and the other off a sacrifice fly.
While a gold medal would have been ideal, Australia did a tremendous job getting as far as it got and lost to a team with one of the best softball pedigrees in the world, and a population of 100-million more than the land down under.
Besgrove spent just under a month across the Tasman Sea as he mixed up the 11-day World Cup with some sightseeing and a host of preparation matches against local men's sides.
Flying home at the start of March was timely for Besgrove as he narrowly avoided the now notorious COVID-19 outbreak with a passenger on one of the incoming flights testing positive for the virus after touching down in New Zealand.
Besgrove flew to New Zealand knowing he was in for an experience of a lifetime and wasn't shocked by how good some of the opposing hitters were as he already knew it would be supremely difficult and like nothing he'd ever seen before.
"They were all just really really good," Besgrove said.
"I had people who had previously gone tell me it was really hard and they were right. It didn't take me by surprise."
Besgrove was born into the sport and first picked up the glove when he was four and-a-half years old and hasn't put it down since.
"My mum played softball and my dad played baseball," he said.
"There's no baseball in Orange so that made the decision easier."
At a more local level, Besgrove plays state league for NSW in the winter but says the majority of his upcoming tournaments and training sessions have already been cancelled due to the coronavirus.
With training and games cancelled, and his school (St Stanislaus) not offering much in the way of softball - Besgrove's had to get his fix elsewhere and has been hitting home runs on MLB The Show on Playstation with Cody Bellinger, his favourite player from his beloved LA Dodgers.
In addition to hitting dingers on the Sony, Besgrove's working towards his goal of becoming a physiotherapist and also has an eye on more representative call-ups in the future.
"I'm aiming to play for Australia in the under 23s," he said.
"Hopefully I get selected for that in three or four years and in the mean time I'd just like to keep getting picked for NSW."
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