Former Aussie Spirit star Kylie Cronk has been honoured at a function to celebrate her induction into the Australian Softball Hall of Fame – to the delight of her former coaches and teammates.
Cronk played 159 international games for the Spirit from 2003 until her retirement in 2010. Her career included more than 30 international events, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in which the Australian team won a bronze medal.
Known for her speed in the outfield and from the left handers’ batting box, Cronk could bunt, slap and hit with power, regularly finding the gaps in the field.
Living in the regional Queensland city of Rockhampton, Cronk would often practise with local youngsters to tune up for important events, then return the favour by helping out her junior fans with coaching and advice.
Cronk, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, received her plaque at a function in Brisbane recently.
Former teammate Danielle Bouman (nee Stewart), who played 148 games for the Aussie Spirit, congratulated her friend and ex-roommate on her career and induction into the Hall of Fame.
“Cronky and I started on the national team together as rookies back in 2005,” Bouman said. “We shared six years on the Aussie Spirt team together and the Queensland Heat team.
“We shared so many special moments, challenging times and everlasting memories, all that were made so special by having Cronky there to share them with. My roommate, my teammate and one of my best mates.
“Cronky has a down to earth genuine character both on and off the field. She taught me to appreciate the game for just that, a game we play because we love the individual challenges and yet you have a whole team to share the ride with.”
Bouman’s thoughts were echoed by Aussie Spirit Head Coach Fabian Barlow.
“Coaches are never meant to have favourites, but Cronky made that rule really difficult to live by,” Barlow said.
“The attributes a coach wants in a player Cronky had all of them – talent, work ethic, discipline, toughness, mental strength and a team-first attitude.
“Cronky was extremely well liked and respected by her teammates, and that is the real tick of approval when your teammates feel that way about you and want to play alongside you.”
Established in 1985, the Softball Australia Hall of Fame recognises Australian players and non-players who have made an outstanding contribution to the sport of softball at the international level.