The inaugural Australia Cup ended in triumph, not only for the winning teams but also for softball in general.
While the North Shore Storm came away with the trophy after winning the final 3-1 against the Arrows, coaches and fans left Sydney’s Blacktown International Sportspark convinced that the tournament had given Australian softball a giant boost.
The three-day tournament attracted 27 teams from New South Wales and the ACT and about 800 fans on the final day, who created a carnival atmosphere that made for a fun time for families and supporters of all ages.
Games were played between Open women, under 17s, under 15s and under 13s.
While the emphasis was on participation and enjoyment, there was no shortage of skill and competitive spirit in what tournament officials described as a high-standard competition that featured several national and state representatives.
Even the weather gods co-operated, with fine and sunny conditions across all three days and temperatures in the low to mid-20s.
A DJ, live music and face-painting were among the off-field activities that kept the crowd entertained. A home run derby and Social 7s games added to the fun.
North Shore Storm coach Kerrie Porter was thrilled to have come away with the inaugural championship and praised the efforts of the opposition Arrows .
“We had some good games against the Arrows,” she said. “They beat us in the first round and the final could have gone either way.”
Porter said the victory was the result of a strong team effort, rather than the performance of any particular player. “Our defence won us the game. It was a solid team performance.”
She praised the efforts of pitcher Amelia Cudicio, who allowed just one run in a complete game, and Sam Poole, whose two run-double in the sixth inning was the key hit of the game. Another highlight was a great defensive play by outfielder Jade Wall to infielder Stacey McManus to catcher Taylah Tsitsikronis, who tagged out a runner at home.
Technical delegate Richard Costantino said the tournament, played at Blacktown International Sportspark and the Jacqui Osmond Softball Centre in Warwick Farm, was a celebration of Australian softball.
“The crowd involvement was fantastic,” Costantino said. “With all the off-field activities there was something for everybody.”
Feedback from players and coaches was overwhelmingly positive. “The teams from Canberra said it was a great weekend away,” he said. “They’re already looking forward to next year.”
Open: North Shore Storm
Under 17: Endeavour Wave
Under 15: Sweet Heat
Under 13: Canberra Eclipse Orange
Click here for all results.