It was a magical season for Joran Graham of the Micksburg Twins and now his performance on the ball field is gaining him national attention. The Twins ace pitcher is among 44 athletes named by Softball Canada to the selection pool for Canada’s Men’s Fastball team.
It will not be easy for Graham to make the final roster, but it is quite an accomplishment to get on the list. In fact, he was very surprised that at 30 years of age, the national team came calling, adding, “I thought they had given up on me.”
Graham was a promising junior fastball player, competing with Canada’s under-19 team at the World Championships in Whitehorse, Yukon in 2008 where the Canadians lost to Australia in the gold medal game. He pitched in one game, but played primarily as the team’s designated hitter.
Over the next decade he played senior men’s fastball, primarily with the Micksburg Twins in the shadow of long-time ace Cory Costello, while also playing with the Kingston Axemen and several tournament teams. When Costello retired this season, Graham became the club’s ace and was almost unhittable in the playoffs, allowing only one run in seven starts. The six wins he recorded were all shutouts and not surprisingly Graham was named the most valuable player as he led the Twins to a championship in the Greater Ottawa Men’s Fastball League.
“It is a real honour to see my name on the list with such great players. I hope I get the opportunity to participate in the development camp, but I understand it will be a very competitive process,” says Graham.
There are 15 players on the roster who competed for Canada in the World Championships this past summer in the Czech Republic where Canada brought home a bronze medal. Graham is among eight players who have been named to the pool for the first time in their playing careers.
In addition to playing with Micksburg, Graham spent his summer travelling to tournaments across North America including the Canadian and World Championships, playing for the Hill United Chiefs from Ohsweken, near Brantford and the Niagara Stompers. He received news of his selection through an email from Team Canada’s coach and he expects to hear more soon about the club’s expectations for off-season fitness training.
“I’m really motivated. I really thought this would have happened when I was younger, so at 30 years of age I know this might be my only shot at making the team,” adds Graham.
No matter how it turns out, Graham has helped put the tiny hamlet of Micksburg on the map as the first player from this hotbed of fastball to be considered for Canada’s national fastball team.