National Championships

Each year Softball Australia holds male and female National Championships at U17, U19, U23 and Open level.

The purpose of the National Championships includes, but is not limited to:

  • providing opportunities for participation in elite competition
  • contributing to player, coach, umpire and statistician identification and development pathways
  • providing interstate competition at both age-grade and open-grade
  • providing selection opportunities for higher honours and selection in national teams
  • encouraging participation, to enhance the growth of the game
  • providing opportunities for financial gain and increasing the profile of softball in Australia

 

 

OPEN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – GILLEY’S SHIELD

Background

The first official interstate carnival was held in 1947, organised by Mack Gilley, inaugural President of the Queensland Softball Association. The Shield is named in his honour, recognising the significant contribution Gilley made to the sport.

Point of Interest

The Audrey McLaughlin Cup is awarded to the team that finishes first at the end of the preliminary round competition.

Today

The 2019 Gilley’s Shield will be held at Mirrabooka International Softball Stadium in WA. The event will be a key selection event for the Aussie Spirit team for the Olympic Games Qualifying event, to be held later in 2019.

Read about the history, previous winners and Award recipients.

 

OPEN MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP, JOHN REID SHIELD

Background

The first Men’s Championship was held in 1984 in Sydney and won by Western Australia. The Shield is named to commemorate New Zealand-born state umpire, John Reid, an internationally recognised journalist who became the inspiration for developing men’s softball in NSW.

Point of Interest

During competition, pitching speeds as high as 135km per hour have been recorded. All the more remarkable is the hitters, who face these speeds from a distance of only 46 feet (14.02m).

Today

This event showcases top athletes with outstanding skills.

Read about the history, previous winners and Award recipients.

 

U23 WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP, JOYCE LESTER SHIELD

Background

The first U23 Women’s Championship was held in 2004 in Ipswich and won by New South Wales. The Shield is named to commemorate legendary Australian player, Joyce Lester, who represented Australia on 235 occasions, including at five world championships and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Point of Interest

The U23 Women’s Championship was played from 2004 to 2008, was not played between 2009 and 2014, but returned to the Australian softball calendar in 2015.

Today

This event provides a pathway opportunity for players coming out of the U19 age group, to continue their development towards the open level.

Read about the History, Previous Winners and Award Recipients.

 

U23 MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP, LAING HARROW SHIELD

Background

The first U23 Men’s Championship was held in 2004 in Sydney and won by New South Wales. The Shield is named to commemorate Australian legend, Laing Harrow. Harrow represented Australia at the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Men’s World Championships and now coaches the Aussie Steelers and Junior Steelers national teams.

Point of Interest

The U23 Men’s Championship, like the U23 Women’s, was played from 2004 to 2008, was not played between 2009 and 2014, but returned to the Australian softball calendar in 2015.

Today

This event provides a pathway opportunity for players coming out of the U19 age group, to continue their development towards the open level.

Read about the History, Previous Winners and Award Recipients.

 

U19 WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP, ELINOR McKENZIE SHIELD 

Background

The inaugural tournament for 18s and under was introduced as an equivalent national event in 1974, to fill the gap identified between the U16 and Open Women’s Australian Championships. The tournament was hosted by Victoria in Melbourne and won by New South Wales. The 18 and under age group officially became the U19 Australian Championship in 1976.

Points of Interest

The trophy was donated in honor of Elinor McKenzie. Elinor had a long and proud history in Softball playing in excess 25 times for Australia in an international career that spanned 12 years. She was a member of the Australian team that won the gold medal at the first Women’s World Softball Championships held in Melbourne, Australia. Elinor was a respected 1st base player held in high regard throughout the Softball world. Sadly, Elinor passed away on the eve of its first presentation on 19 May 1974 before she had the opportunity to present the shield.

Today

This event is a showcase of our future stars, and a major part of the high performance pathway. Many college scouts from the US have identified this event as a recruitment opportunity with many Australian girls being offered scholarships to a number of the top schools in America. The International Softball Federation introduced the U19 Junior World Championship for women in 1981 in which Australia competed.

Read about the history, previous winners and Award recipients.

 

U19 MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP, NOX BAILEY SHIELD

Background

The first U19 Men’s Championship was held in 1989 in Sydney and was won by NSW. The Shield is named to commemorate Nox Bailey’s contribution to softball.

Point of Interest

The U19 Men’s National Championship is the primary selection event for the Junior Steelers, Australia’s Under 19 Men’s team.  Australia are five time world champions, winning the WBSC Junior Men’s World Championship in 1997, 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2018.

Today

The Junior Steelers program continues to produce world-class players who progress to the Aussie Steelers team.

Read about the history, previous winners and Award recipients.

 

U17 GIRLS’ CHAMPIONSHIP, ESTHER DEASON SHIELD

Background

From 1970-2010, the Esther Deason Shield was awarded to the winning U16 girls’ team. In 2011, that Championship transitioned to the U17 Girls’ Championship.

Point of Interest

Esther was a member of the Australian team that won the first Women’s World Softball Championship held in Melbourne, Australia in 1965.

Today

NSW has performed outstandingly at this event, having won the title 25 times from 1970-2018.

Read about the history, previous winners and Award recipients.

 

U17 BOYS’ CHAMPIONSHIP, ARTHUR ALLSOPP 

Background

The first U17 Boys’ Championship was held in 1991 and won by NSW. The Shield is named to commemorate Arthur Allsopp, who umpired 18 consecutive Australian Open Championships between 1950 and 1963.

Point of Interest

Arthur was actively coaching in his early 80s and it is said he coached most of the Victorian players to make an Australian team since the 1960s through his involvement with junior players in the Melbourne and Waverley Softball Associations.

Today

The event exposes Australia’s elite young athletes to highly competitive, international competition.

Read about the history, previous winners and Award recipients.