A spate of injuries has forced selectors to make changes to the teams that will represent the Aussie Spirit and All-Stars at the 2018 Asia Pacific Cup (purchase tickets here).
The Asia Pacific Cup, to be held at Blacktown International Sportspark starting on Thursday, is the biggest international women’s softball event in Australia since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The two Australian teams will be facing world-class opposition. Competing countries include world No. 2 Japan, 11th-ranked New Zealand, emerging powerhouse China (12th) and fifth-ranked Chinese Taipei. While Italy is a long way from the Asia Pacific region, the ninth-ranked Italians were keen to send a team and will be a welcome addition to the list of competing nations.
In the 26-game tournament, each team will play six round-robin games, with the top four advancing to the playoffs.
The tournament takes on extra significance because it will be the Aussie Spirit’s launchpad for the 2018 WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship, which will be held in Chiba, Japan, from August 2-12. This event will potentially be the first chance for teams to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Softball Australia CEO Chet Gray says the Asia Pacific Cup will have multiple benefits for softball in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. “It’s an exciting prospect to be having six of the top 12 ranked teams in women’s softball playing here in Australia,” he says.
“This event will showcase the outstanding talent that we have in this part of the world. Tournaments such as this will further develop softball and raise the profile of softball in the region.
“We plan on hosting the Asia Pacific Cup as an annual event, providing us with a solid domestic platform for growth in the lead-up to qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games”.
Gray believes the inclusion of an All-Stars team will be of great benefit to the Spirit ahead of the World Championship in August. “There will be players in the All-Star team who are pushing for selection in the Aussie Spirit team.
“We have some talented young girls who are coming through really quickly, and playing in the All-Star team could fast-track their progress.”
The Asia Pacific Cup replaces the highly successful Down Under Series, which featured teams from Japan and New Zealand, on the Australian softball calendar.
AUSTRALIAN TEAMS FOR THE ASIA PACIFIC CUP
Australian Open Women’s Head Coach: Fabian Barlow
|Georgia Casey (NSW)||Tarni Stepto (NSW)||Jess Bahn (Vic)||Verity Long-Droppert (WA)|
|Michelle Cox (NSW)||Taylah Tsitsikronis (NSW)||Nicole Boughton (Qld)||Chelsea Robinson (SA)|
|Amelia Cudicio (NSW)||Jade Wall (Qld)||Tabitha Callendar (WA)||Carmelle Sorensen (Qld)|
|Leigh Godfrey (WA)||Clare Warwick (ACT)||Maddie Cameron (SA)||Vanessa Stokes (ACT)|
|Stacey McManus (NSW)||Melinda Weaver (Qld)||Jackie Di Siervi (Vic)||Erin Thras (Qld)|
|Kaia Parnaby (NSW)||Belinda White (SA)||Sandra Holden (Qld)||Jess Torpey (Qld)|
|Stacey Porter (NSW)||Tamieka Whitefield (Qld)||Rachel Lack (NSW)||Stephanie Trzcinski (SA)|
|Ellen Roberts (NSW)||Jordan Lambert (SA)||Stacey Webber (Qld)|
|Head Coach:||Troy Baverstock||Head Coach:||Kerrie Porter|
|Assistant Coach:||Kelly Hardie||Assistant Coach:||Kathy Horton|
|Assistant Coach:||Kym Tollenaere||Assistant Coach:||Neridah Wearne|
|Team Manager:||Lisa Anderson||Team Manager:||Jacqui Dunn|
|Physiotherapist:||Kathy Mitchell||Physiotherapist:||Stephanie Randall|