Queensland have won their fourth consecutive Nox Bailey Shield after upsetting the unbeaten New South Wales side 3-0 in the final of the 2020 U18 Men’s National Championship.
The Blue Bloods were at their devastating best throughout the tournament winning all 12 games and accruing a massive 157 runs over the week, their defence just as tight, allowing only 20 against.
However, the grand final would be no cakewalk with Queensland hunting their fourth consecutive U18 Men’s National Championship and a stalemate ensued through four innings before the defending champions broke the deadlock off a Max Spencer double for a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth.
Queensland threatened to extend their lead in the sixth after advancing runners to second and third base, but Blue Bloods pitcher Blake Hunter was up to the task and struck out Josh Ferguson to extinguish the opportunity.
But after Kynan Molander put a two-run bomb over the fence, Queensland had one hand on retaining their title with a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
Lincoln Walk was as impressive as he’s been all week long in the circle and iced the game for the defending champions.
Queenslander Caleb Vandegriendt was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player with his teammate Lincoln Walk crowned Best Pitcher while New South Welshman run machine Jeremy Garland took out Best Batter.
A Junior Steelers team will be selected in the coming days ahead of the WBSC U18 Men’s Softball World Cup from 22 February – 1 March in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
While it is a tight turnaround, newly appointed Head Coach Adam Rindfleish doesn’t expect it to be an issue as Australia attempts to win back-to-back titles at the international tournament.
He says the players will need to steel themselves over the Christmas break and be dedicated to their individual preparations in order to put themselves in the best position to win Gold once again.
“That short turnaround is not concerning. It just means that the players need to be more focussed on their training and have to be a little bit more dedicated to get to their absolute potential by the time the World Cup rolls around.
“In terms of the training program, they’ve all been written by our coaching staff, and we also have exciting times with some external people helping to weigh in on the training program.
“So really, it’s going to be a complete preparation, just in a shorter timeframe and I’m not worried about that at all, all it means is that our team will have to be a tad more focussed for a quicker preparation process.”
Grand Final Box Score
Semi Final Box Score
Tournament Award Winners
- MVP – Caleb Vandegriendt (Qld)
- Best Pitcher – Lincoln Walk (Qld)
- Best Batter – Jeremy Garland (NSW)
- Player of the Final – Kynan Molander (Qld)
Final standings including runs for and against available at softball.org.au.
About the National Championships
The U18 Men’s National Championship is followed by the Open Women’s National Championship and U14 Girls’ Regional Championship from 4 – 10 January at Mirrabooka International Softball Stadium in Perth, Western Australia.
The U16 Boys’ and Girls’ National Championships take place at Waverley, Victoria from 4 – 10 January, the Open Men’s National Championship and U14 Boys’ Regional Championship are held in the nation’s capital at Hawker from 12 – 18 January before the U18 Women’s National Championship wraps up Australian titles back at Blacktown International Sportspark from 19 – 25 January.
International softball then takes centre stage at Blacktown with the AP Cup from 30 January – 2 February, ahead of the exciting Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball from 3 – 5 February.
Tickets for both events are available for purchase now via Humanitix.
To purchase tickets to the AP Cup, please visit https://events.humanitix.com.au/2020-australia-pacific-cup
To purchase tickets to the Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball, please visit www.humanitix.com.au/2020-summer-slam.