Australian U23 Men’s & Women’s National Championship wrap
NSW claim Laing Harrow Shield, Queensland win Joyce Lester Shield.
The Australian U23 Men’s & Women’s National Championships concluded on the weekend in Blacktown, with NSW winning their second Laing Harrow Shield and Queensland triumphing for their first Joyce Lester Shield.
With the East Kalimantan team from Indonesia joining NSW, Queensland and WA for this year’s championship, there were two titles up for grabs — the Invitational Cup, awarded to the team with the best round robin record, and the Laing Harrow Shield, awarded to the best state team.
NSW went 5-1 in round robin play to claim the Invitational Cup, their only loss coming against Queensland in the second round of pool games.
The seedings for the finals of the Laing Harrow Shield were determined by the games played between NSW, Queensland and WA. As top-ranked team, NSW automatically qualified for the grand final. In the 2 v 3 final, Queensland defeated WA 9-1 to earn the right to challenge NSW in the grand final.
NSW started well in the grand final, with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, Leigh Halpin’s single scoring Hayden Matthews and Nathan Dickinson.
Queensland hit back in the top of the second and third innings, scoring three runs to lead 3-2, including a two-run home run to Nick Davis.
But that lead was short-lived, with NSW scoring three runs in the bottom of the third inning on the back of four hits, to Michael Kerr, Dickinson, Halpin and Jacob Garland, to go ahead 5-3.
In the top of the fifth inning, Queensland narrowed the deficit, a sacrifice fly from Davis scoring Joshua Del Simone to make the score 5-4.
But NSW all but secured the Laing Harrow Shield in the bottom of the sixth inning, a triple to Matthews followed by a single to Dickinson and a home run to Halpin, adding three runs to their tally and making it an 8-4 scoreline.
Dickinson pitched his seventh inning of the game and shut out Queensland, giving NSW their first Laing Harrow Shield since 2004. Dickinson finished the game with 12 strikeouts and went 3 for 3 with the bat, but it was Halpin’s 3 for 3 with 4 RBIs that saw him awarded the Player of the Grand Final.
- Invitational Cup: NSW
- Laing Harrow Shield: NSW
- Grand Final: NSW 8 d Queensland 4 (click on link for play-by-play)
- Player of the Grand Final: Leigh Halpin (NSW)
- Tournament MVP: Rhys Shelley (Qld)
- Best Batter: Hayden Matthews (NSW)
- Best Pitcher: Nathan Dickinson (NSW)
- All-Tournament Team:
- Pitcher: Nathan Dickinson (NSW)
- Catcher: Rhys Shelley (Qld)
- 1B: Jeremy Jemmott (Qld)
- 2B: Angus Johnson (NSW)
- 3B: Julian Scott-Davies (Qld)
- SS: Matthew Beckett (WA)
- OF: Connor Cronin (Qld), Shannon Goffer (Qld), Leigh Halpin (NSW)
- DP: Hayden Matthews (NSW)
NSW, Queensland and Victoria were joined by a USA Combined Colleges team and a West Java team from Indonesia.
As with the men, there were two titles up for grabs – the Invitational Cup, awarded to the team with the best round robin record, and the Joyce Lester Shield, awarded to the best state team.
NSW went 6-2 in round robin play to win the Invitational Cup, with the Queensland and USA Combined Colleges teams both finishing with five wins.
Queensland, however, on the back of their superior record in round games directly against NSW and Victoria, automatically qualified for the grand final. NSW defeated Victoria 8-0 in the 2 v 3 playoff to book their spot in the Joyce Lester Shield grand final.
NSW opened the scoring in the grand final in the top of the first inning, Lauren Tapp leading off with a triple before a Danielle Levido sacrifice fly scored her to make it 1-0.
Queensland immediately responded in the bottom of the first, scoring three runs of their own, coming on the back of three hits to Rebecca McEachern, Alisha Prybyszczuk and Samantha Robin.
NSW narrowed the margin in the top of the second as Nicola Maitland’s double, followed by a single to Michaela McLennan, made it a 3-2 ballgame.
Queensland extended their lead in the bottom of the third. Singles to Prybyszczuk and Rebecca McDonnell, followed by a double to Eva Carless added two runs, making it 5-2.
Queensland opened up the game in the bottom of the fourth, adding a further two runs, with Alexandra Forsyth reaching on an error before McEachern hit a home run to make the score 7-2.
Queensland made a pitching change at the top of the fifth inning, Laura Coulter replacing Rebecca Chapman. Coulter didn’t allow a single hit for the next three innings, allowing Queensland to hold their 7-2 advantage until the end of the game.
- Invitational Cup: NSW
- Joyce Lester Shield: Queensland
- Grand Final: Queensland 7 d NSW 2 (click on link for play-by-play)
- Player of the Grand Final: Rebecca McEachern (Qld)
- Tournament MVP: Paige Delacour (Qld)
- Best Batter: Rebecca McDonnell (Qld)
- Best Pitcher: Tania Puketapu (Vic)
- All-Tournament Team:
- Pitcher: Tania Puketapu (Vic)
- Catcher: Sarah Beales (Vic)
- 1B: Jordyn Christensen (NSW)
- 2B: Michaela McLennan (NSW)
- 3B: Bianca Worth (NSW)
- SS: Alisha Prybyszczuk (Qld)
- OF: Alexandra Forsyth (Qld), Linley Somerville (NSW), Paige Delacour (Qld)
- DP: Rebecca McDonnell (Qld)
Tribute to veteran umpire
There was a fitting tribute for umpire Kevin Tannebring in the grand final of the Joyce Lester Shield, with the NSW and Queensland teams forming a guard of honour as he officiated in his final national championship game.
Kevin umpired more than 300 national championship games in 15 years. See footage of the guard of honour.