The finish of the first week of National Championships was a successful one for the Blue Bloods.
The Firestars had the morning to wait to see who they would face in the final, SA Starz beat WA Flames 4-0 to make their way through to face the undefeated Firestars.
The final didn’t disappoint with no runs being scored until the 4th innings with both pitchers keeping the hitters at bay. Bianca Abrahams and Taylah Tsitsikronis had hits in the 2nd and 3rd inning but the Firestars couldn’t convert. The Starz scored in the top of the 4th inning but the Firestars responded in the bottom of the inning courtesy of hits to Michelle Cox, Taylah Tsitsikronis, Stacey McManus, and Shannon Keevers for 1 run. The bottom of the 5th inning was where the Firestars got ahead piling on 3 runs with Rachel Lack clearing the fence for 2 RBIs. Singles to Montana Kearnes, Stacey Porter and Stacey McManus contributed to a strong inning. Bianca Abrahams lead off in the 6th inning with a single but again no runs were scored. The top of the 7th started on a positive note with Belinda White striking out but an error and 2 hits brought the Starz to within one run and with runners on the corners with 2 down looked a threat but the experience of Kaia Parnaby showed striking out the dangerous McFarland to take out their 3rd consecutive Gilleys Shield 4-3. Great job girls to go through the championship undefeated was a well deserved result for all the hard work you have put in.
Rachel Lack topped off an amazing championship being named the Midge Nelson MVP and the Player of the Final whilst Ellen Roberts was named the Lorraine Woolley Pitcher of the Tournament and Stacey Porter took out the Sybil Turner Batter of the Tournament for the 6th time.
The U17 Men came up against a determined Queensland outfit who had a wealth of experience. A double to Blake Becquet and a single to Caden Keed couldn’t be converted in the 2nd. The NSW Men got off to a 2 run lead in the top of the 3rd with singles to Josh Banks, Boston Lowe, Hayden Shaw and Blake Becquet but Queensland responded tallying 4 runs in the bottom of the inning. It was a Jeremy Garland double then a huge home run to Josh Banks that bought the blues back even. The top of the had Jake Gleeson, Jeremy Garland and Ethan Field combine to bring a run across the plate to edge ahead. In the bottom of the 6th Queensland managed to get runners on and on a pass ball scored 2 runs to take the lead once again. A Zac Roberts single in the top of the 7th was not enough to keep NSW in the game with Queensland winning 6-5.
Hayden Shaw was named MVP, Blake Hunter was named Pitcher of the Championship and Ethan Field Batter of the Championship.
Undefeated in the rounds the U17 Women went into the grand final full of confidence and it showed piling on 5 runs in the 2nd inning with triples to Madi Baker and Jayde Jensen and singles to Nicole Connacher, Alyssa Mighell and Ryleigh Arnott. Another run in the 4th from errors and walks extended NSW’s lead to 6. Emily Paull doubled in the 6th and SA scored 1 run in the bottom of the 6th. Singles to Amber Gunn and Madi Baker in the top of the 7th took the blues to 8 runs. SA could not score in the bottom of the 7th for NSW to run out winners 8-1. The NSW pitchers, Mia Gilmore, Grace Wrixon and Charli Orsini only allowed 4 hits for the game.
Individual Award winners were: Madi Baker Batting Award and Player of the Final, Grace Wrixon – Batting and Mackenzie Walker MVP.
In more exciting news the Metro Green Team took out the U15 Regional Championship in a tie breaker 5-4 over Qld Flames.
In other good news for NSW Jess Rooke (Level 5) and Dylan Murdoch (Level 6) gained the umpire accreditation.
All in all a great week if you are a Blue Blood.
All in all a great week if you are a Blue Blood and a great start to the Summer of Softball