FOCUSSED: Michael Ludkin steps up when the heat is on and that's why he's the vice-captain of the youth Aussie team.
FOCUSSED: Michael Ludkin steps up when the heat is on and that's why he's the vice-captain of the youth Aussie team. Mike Richards

Steeled for success for Gladstone gun

SOFTBALL: A nervous but excited Michael Ludkin said he was over the moon being the vice-captain of the Australian under-19 Steelers team.

Pitcher Ludkin flew out late yesterday to Canada where the 12th WBSC Junior Men's Softball World Championship will be staged from July 7-15 at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in Canada.

The Steelers will have a series of practice matches ahead of the Worlds.

"It's going to be a good month and I know all the boys and they are good teammates," he said.

Ludkin said he believed there were several aspects why he was given a leadership role in the Aussie youth team and he will be Dawson Summers' lieutenant.

"I went away in the last Worlds and I captained Queensland and won the national titles and these could be some of the reasons (on why he was chosen as vice-captain)," he said.

Ludkin said he and two of his Australian teammates competed at a tournament recently - Fastpitch Championship League - in order to sharpen up the skills.

"Jeremy Waters, Riley James and I went down to Sydney and played with Redsox," he said.

"We didn't make the grand final and there were a lot of good teams... 13 or 14."

Ludkin will touch down in Toronto in the next couple of days where the pre-Worlds will be played.

"Pre-Worlds are the warm-up games and it will test where we are at and how we perform," he said.

"They are going to be good warm-up games because we are going to be versing against hard and top-quality pitchers and batters.

"When it will come to Worlds, all that is going to come into place and hopefully it turns out good."

Ludkin said his sponsors such as Hose Shed and Reef City Plumbing had helped him with expenses that would otherwise not be possible toward his progression in the sport.

The World Championships will be broadcast live on the Ballpark Broadcasting website.