Baseballer Ben Shorto wants to overcome illness and injury in time for 2020 Olympics


Pitcher Ben Shorto is battling cancer again.
Picture: Marie Nirme        www.communitypix.com.au   d456869
Pitcher Ben Shorto is battling cancer again. Picture: Marie Nirme        www.communitypix.com.au d456869

TALENTED baseballer Ben Shorto has targeted the 2020 Olympics as his swansong in the game.

The 21-year-old pitcher has been cruelled by health battles, having previously overcome two battles with cancer.

He is currently undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Combined with an injured pitching arm, the Success resident is expecting to be out of action for more than a year.

“Baseball has taken a back seat. I’m just focused on my health which is the most important thing,” he said.

“Because I have to have surgery on my elbow, it will put me out for this year, maybe the following year as well.”

Despite the tough ride so far Shorto, who was picked up by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians as a 16-year-old, is set on representing Australia.

“My goal is the 2020 Olympics in Japan, then I’ll probably hang it up,” he said.

“If you reach the Olympics, playing for your country, it’s a pretty big achievement.

“After that I’ll retire.”

Shorto said he would be patient waiting for his body to heal before the rebuild began, likely through the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League.

He previously featured in two championship winning seasons with the local club.

“I’ll have to play pretty well, put up some good numbers and maybe there are a couple of national teams during that time which I can use to impress the manager for the Australian team and hopefully get chosen,” he said.

Baseball WA chief executive Lachlan Dale said Shorto was a resilient character who had overcome more than most.

“He had the tools to take him all the way,” he said.

Shorto’s close friend Courtney Edwards will take part in the Swan River Run this Sunday to raise money for the Cure Cancer Australia Foundation.

To donate, visit https://swanrun2016.everydayhero.com/au/courtney.