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									                Gilley’s Shield
                       &
         Edebone-Weber Shield Preview
     Softball rivalries kick off at Blacktown Olympic Park

The Australian National Championships season gets under way this weekend with the
commencement of the Edebone-Weber Shield & Gilley’s Shield at the Blacktown Olympic
Park. In an exciting development the competition has been revamped to include the New
Zealand White Sox. Along with the other 6 Gilley’s Shield teams the White Sox will be
competing for the Edebone-Webber Shield in January 2010. The Finals Series for the
Gilley’s Shield will be held in Canberra in February 2010.


Since the Beijing Olympic Games there have been a number of retirements from the
international program. Beijing Olympians including Tanya Harding, Sandra Lewis,
Simmone Morrow, Kerry Wyborn, Belinda Wright and Natalie Ward have retired from the
game. Natalie Titcume and Kelly Hardie have also retired from international softball but will
still be competing in this season’s Championships. With a World Championships coming
up in 2010 you can be sure that our top players will be out do their best to impress the
selectors at every opportunity provided by the competition schedule. Here is a rundown of
what we might expect between now and the Finals Series in Redlands in January 2010.


The New Zealand White Sox have put together a very experienced line up to compliment
their younger players within their squad. Former National players Char Pouka, Zavana
Aranga, Jackie Smith and Tianna Areaiiti have all been recalled to the White Sox to add an
edge to both their defence and offence. The White Sox has a solid pitching line up with
former Titans pitcher Megan Farrell selected to work in tandem with fellow Auckland pitcher
Michal Tangaroa. They play the Titans first up and this game should give an early
indication of the potential of this squad to perform not only in the Edebone-Weber Shield
but also in the 2010 ISF World Championships.


Softball Australia Ltd ACN 092 181 318
Level 2 I 21 Burwood Road I Hawthorn l VIC 3122 I Australia
T: +61 3 9818 6144 I F: +61 3 9819 6199I E: info@softball.org.au   I W: www.softball.org.au
The Queensland Heat are the defending Gilley’s Shield champions and although they have
lost some experienced players including Tanya Harding and Sandra Lewis they still have
the batting and experience to win the Edebone-Weber Shield & Gilley’s Shield. It won’t be
easy though with experienced campaigners Brooke Wilkins and Tracey Mosley playing for
other teams. The Heat still have plenty of experience in the battery area with national
pitchers Joss McCallum and Sandra Holden combining with catchers Lena Merzliakov, Kym
Tollenaere and Carmelle Sorenson. Renowned for tight defence the Queenslanders will
rely on Beijing Olympians Jodie Bowering, Kylie Cronk and Danielle Stewart to lead their
batting line up.


The ACT Diamonds fought their way to the final of the Gilley’s Shield last year and have
strengthened their line up further for this year with the inclusion of national and Olympic
catcher Tracey Mosley. Along with experienced Olympians Sally McCreedy and Kelly
Hardie they have an exciting line up capable of winning this tournament. Defence starts in
the middle and the ACT have a further trump in national pitcher Aimee Murch who was in
impressive form for the Aussie Spirit during the Canada and US World Cups earlier in the
year. Their lineup will not have Brenda De Blaes or Clare Warwick for the first round but
will still have a batting line up containing young stars Katina Robson and Clare Currie along
with the hardened bats of Kate Judd and Shelley Moore. You can expect this team to be
right in the middle of the finals series, especially when Warwick and De Blaes take to the
diamond later in the competition.


The WA Flames were one of the great improvers last year. They finished third but
probably would have been disappointed in their performance during the Finals Series.
Strong team performances last year were built on the bats of Chelsea Forkin, Jodie
Stevenson, Leigh Godfrey and Leah Parry. The West Australians have picked up
Queensland catcher Amanda Torrington but have lost their American pitcher and utility
Sonja Garnett. The Flames management has come up with a replacement pitcher with
former University of Minnesota pitcher Briana Hassett making the trip down under. Briana
was ranked number one for strikeouts in the NCAA Division One competition and with her
University playing career over should enjoy the challenge of this competition. The Flames
will also rely on pitchers Catherine Bishop and Chermai Clews to restrict their opponents
hitting and take advantage of their own strong batting line up.




Softball Australia Ltd ACN 092 181 318
Level 2 I 21 Burwood Road I Hawthorn l VIC 3122 I Australia
T: +61 3 9818 6144 I F: +61 3 9819 6199I E: info@softball.org.au   I W: www.softball.org.au
The NSW Firestars struggled last year with the loss of a number of experienced players.
They have named a strong line up for the first round especially with international stars
Melanie Roche and Stacey Porter providing the experience to support Kelly Gentle, Kyira
Cox and Kym Turnell. They are well served in the pitching department with Gentle, Karina
Cannon, Georgia Casey and Simone Freeman sharing pitching duties with Melanie Roche.
A number of their younger players are starting to establish themselves at this level including
Ashleigh Deen, Michelle Cox, Ashleigh Pobjie and Stacey McManus and if they can bring
consistency to their game softball fans can expect an improved performance from this
team.


The Victorian Titans may well be the dark horse of the competition. Pitching is one of their
strengths and although they have lost Megan Farrell to the White Sox they still have 2008
Olympian Justine Smethurst supported by former Queensland pitcher Brooke Wilkins and
Hayley Punter. Catcher and recently retired Olympian Natalie Titcume is unavailable for
the first round and without her bat the Titans might struggle in the hitting department,
especially in the first round. They will have to rely heavily on tight defence and strong
pitching and make the most of their scoring opportunities if they are to be a force in this
year’s competition.


The SA Starz will struggle in this year’s competition, particularly with their lack of
experience in their pitching department. They have picked up former New Zealand White
Sox pitcher Hiku Ngamoko and Brooke McNamara from Queensland and have also
included local pitchers Abigail Priolo, Georgia Thomas and Kristyn Barry. The pitchers will
need to perform well for the Starz to remain competitive against high quality opposition.
They are well served in the catching department with Alex Besanko and young
Queenslander Stacey Webber and if they can keep their fielding tight will still be capable of
upsetting other teams in the competition.


With the introduction of the New Zealand White Sox and the Edebone-Weber Shield up for
grabs as well as the Gilley’s Shield; softball fans can look forward to plenty of action during
the 88 games scheduled for this year’s elite women’s competition.

Published: 12 November 2009




Softball Australia Ltd ACN 092 181 318
Level 2 I 21 Burwood Road I Hawthorn l VIC 3122 I Australia
T: +61 3 9818 6144 I F: +61 3 9819 6199I E: info@softball.org.au   I W: www.softball.org.au

								
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