Softball Australia today unveiled a new era for the sport with the announcement of a world-first innovative fast paced competition, The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball.
To be held at the Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney from 4 – 6 February 2019, and to be broadcast live in primetime by FOX SPORTS, The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball is a game changer for the sport of softball in Australia, and around the world, offering shorter games, more action, less downtime and more runs scored.
The high performance event, for open women’s players, will feature six franchised teams made up of Australia’s elite women’s softball representatives who will be joined by international players from several of the world’s top 12 ranked teams.
New rules (explained in more detail below), which have been tested and trialled, will be introduced for The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball with the entire format of the new game designed to put more pressure on players to perform right from the very first pitch.
“The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball will reshape the landscape of the game in Australia and provide an edge of your seat experience for spectators and fans as well as a high-pressure environment for our talented players,” David Pryles, Softball Australia CEO said.
“Held in the world class 2000 Olympic Softball venue, Blacktown International Sportspark, The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball will draw new audiences to the sport, and fuel the passion that many past and present players have for this great game,” Pryles continued.
Travelodge Aussie Spirit Captain, Stacey Porter believes The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball will not only improve elite playing opportunities for Australia’s top softball athletes but also further grow the game of Softball at grassroots level in this country.
“I am extremely excited about the concept behind The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball and can’t wait to get out there on the diamond and compete in such a high-pressure, but fun environment alongside not only my fellow Travelodge Aussie Spirit team mates but also some of the superstars of softball around the world,” Porter said.
Further strengthening the reach of The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball, Softball Australia also announced a broadcast partnership with FOX SPORTS Australia which will see the event broadcast live in primetime from 5:00pm – 10:00pm (AEDT) each day of the event.
“FOX SPORTS Australia is delighted to be partnering with Softball Australia and broadcasting The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball live for Australian viewers,” Peter Campbell, Head of FOX SPORTS Australia said.
“The live broadcast of this great new tournament is made possible as part of our partnership with the Federal Government which sees Foxtel broadcast more than 90% of all women’s sport on Australian television,” Campbell continued.
“Combined with the live-broadcast of the final day of the Asia Pacific Cup (Sunday 3 February) the FOX SPORTS Australia broadcast of The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball will showcase the most live Australian softball action outside of the Olympic Games in the Sports history,” David Pryles, Softball Australia CEO added.
The general public now have the opportunity to vote, via website www.fullyloadedsoftball.com.au, on the names and logos of each of the six franchised teams.
The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball will be held immediately following the Asia Pacific Cup (which will also be held at Blacktown International Sportspark) providing greater incentive for softball fans across the country to travel to Sydney in late January/ early February 2019 to witness top international softball.
“Softball Australia is also looking forward to rolling out this new format across grass roots softball clubs across the country, with the fast paced nature of the game providing opportunities for clubs and players to play the game in a shorter format,” Pryles continued.
New rules include:
- Shorter three-innings game
- The homerun fence distance will be reduced to increase the number of homeruns and runs scored in the game
- If scores are tied after three innings, a tiebreaker innings, with one out per team, will be played to determine a winner
- Runners starting on base each innings
- No warm-up pitches between innings
- No offensive or defensive conferences for coaches
- After each out, the ball goes directly back to the pitcher, rather than being thrown around the diamond by the fielding team