Softball Australia has revealed the six new teams, and the captains who will lead them, in the world-first tournament, The Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball next February.
Captained by Stacey Porter, who has long been one of the most feared players in world softball, Porter spends most of her year playing in the lucrative Japan professional league and passed 400 games for Australia earlier this year.
Captained by Kaia Parnaby, one of the best pitchers in the world, Parnaby also plays professionally in Japan and has represented Australia at World Championship level since 2010.
Captained by Clare Warwick, one of the most versatile infielders in the game, Warwick has played professionally in the National Pro Fastpitch League in the USA, and represented Australia at international level more than 200 times since 2009.
Captained by Leigh Godfrey, who was the first female player in history to medal at a baseball World Championship and a softball World Championship, Godfrey has played professionally in the National Pro Fastpitch League in the USA, and has represented Australia at international level.
Captained by Chelsea Forkin, a right-hander who plays a variety of positions including outfielder and first base, Forkin has played professionally in the National Fastpitch League in the USA and has represented Australia more than 150 times at international level.
Captained by Carmelle Sorensen, a talented catcher who has played professionally in Italy and in the National Fastpitch League in the USA, Sorensen reached 50 games for Australia at the recent World Championship in Japan.
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 six franchised teams will be 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. Players will be selected by Softball Australia.
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 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.
New rules include:
- Shorter format of three-innings
- 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