07/10/2016 6:53 PM
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Kansas City T-Bones have announced that pitcher Josh Tols will be taking a two-week leave from the team to represent Team Australia at the 28th Honkbal Tournament in Haarlem, Netherlands.
The invitation tournament, which started in 1961 and has been held every even-numbered year since 1972, will be played July 15-24 with teams from Chinese Taipei, Curaco, Japan and the Netherlands. The United States, which pulled out of this year’s tournament, won the previous tournament in 2014.
Although Tols was on the Team Australia roster for the World Baseball Classic Qualifier earlier this year, since all of those games were played in Australia, this will be the first time he has represented his country in international competition on foreign soil.
“I’m very excited to be able to go to Europe for the first time and represent Australia,” said Tols, who’s 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA for the T-Bones this season. “As soon as I got to Kansas City for spring training this year, I talked to Mazz (T-Bones manager John Massarelli) about it. I’m thankful that he’s so supportive of me doing this.”
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Josh – playing for his country in an international setting,” Massarelli said. “I think any of us would relish the opportunity to represent our country.”
After playing collegiately at Rockhurst University, Tols returned to Australia in 2014 to play for Adelaide in the Australian Baseball League. He set a single-season record with nine wins, all coming out of the bullpen, and was selected as the league’s Rookie of the Year and Reliever of the Year. He began his career with the Australian national team after being selected for the All-Star Game in 2014.
Incidentally, the pitching coach for Team Australia during this tournament is former major-league pitcher Jim Colborn, who threw a no-hitter for the Kansas City Royals in 1977.
Tols is leaving Kansas City early this week, and is expected to re-join the T-Bones on July 25.