Bartorillo bats aside irate former team-mates
Tyron Bartorillo says winning a gold medal with the Black Sox is sweeter than taking the title with his native Australia after being targeted during the tournament by his former team-mates.
The Queensland-born Canterbury third baseman became only the second player in International Softball Federation history to win a world championship with different nations at consecutive tournaments. Pitcher Owen Walford was the first - with his native New Zealand in 1976 and for the United States in 1980.
Bartorillo, who has lived in Christchurch since 2005, is married to a Kiwi and has a New Zealand-born son.
He said yesterday he was "a New Zealander now".
Nothing could take the gloss off his gold medal but he admitted he was stung by some of his former Australian team-mates' reaction.
"They didn't take it too lightly," he said.
"When we beat them [5-4 in a tiebreaker in the first playoff round], they didn't really want to shake my hand. A couple of them told me to ‘f… off', a couple didn't shake my hand at all.
"It was a bit gutting, really. But New Zealand's my hometown now, and we're the champions."
A scuffle broke out during the New Zealand-Australia game after Kiwi catcher Patrick Shannon was hit by a pitch.
Captain Rhys Casley came out of his dugout and the Australians poured out of their dugout.
"They pretty much all came straight at me," said Bartorillo, who was in the on-deck circle, holding his bat.
He heard "some guys say ‘go for Tyron' ".
"Everyone [in the Black Sox] backed me up and got in before anything could happen."
Bartorillo waved the bat, "just trying to protect myself and scare them away" and said he did not intend to use it.
"When I saw the photos, it looked a lot worse than it was."
The second Papanui club player to win the title (after Travis Wilson in 1996) said the Australians' reaction made him glad he had switched his allegiance.
"It was . . . the right decision."