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Australia’s “Summer of Softball” crowns three national champions

posted Apr 5, 2016, 9:08 PM by Jairy Otero

QLD wins 69th Gilley Shield

Queensland defeated the two-time defending champions New South Wales for the Gilley Shield with thrilling 3-1 victory.

The 2016 Women’s National Softball Championship – a six team double round robin tournament – was affected by rain, but before a large and enthusiastic crowd, a pitchers dual ensued between Justine Smethurst (Qld) and Ellen Roberts (NSW). With the score tied at 1-1 into the bottom of the 6th inning, Qld’s Jade Wall connected for a 2-run home run for the winning margin.

This was the third consecutive meeting between these teams in the Gilley’s Shield Final with NSW winning the past two in the same dramatic fashion.

Qld Heat had an excellent tournament as the list of award winners and all-stars was dominated by Heat players.

For all Results,  click here.

Photo: Softball Australia

Wilkins inducted into Hall of Fame

During the Grand Final game, WBSC Softball Division 1st Vice President, Darryl Clout, officially inducted Olympian Brooke Wilkins into the International Softball Hall of Fame. Wilkins earned 165 caps with the Australian women’s national team over her 12 year international career. She played in three ISF women’s world championships (1994, 1998, and 2002) winning a silver and bronze medals.  As a three-time Olympic medalist, she earned two bronze (Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000), and one silver (Athens 2004) medals amassing a 6-2 record over 25 games in the pitching circle.

Photo: Softball Australia

NSW crowned U-17 Men’s National Softball Champions

After an extremely tough week of competition, New South Wales took the 2016 Arthur Allsopp Shield home, defeating Queensland, 5-4.

NSW took the early 2-0 lead through an error by Queensland. Qld’s Michael Ludkin hit a 3-run homer in the third inning, giving them their first lead. It was NSW’s Jarred Garland who then ensured the game was tied up at 4-4 at the top of the 4th inning, advancing on Bryce Calderon’s single to center-right field to register a crucial score. After a scoreless innings from Queensland in the bottom of the 6th, it was NSW who then took the advantage through a Jacob Donaldson double to left field with Blake Jackson scoring to once again to earn his state the national championship.

NSW entered the six-team round robin tournament as the defending champion and has dominated this category with 18 championship wins followed by ACT and Victoria with two each.

For all Results, click here.

Photo: Softball Australia

NSW wins 47th Esther Deason Shield

NSW defended their 2015 championship at home by winning the 2016 U-17 Women’s National Softball Championship, scoring two runs in the 1st inning on their way to a 3-1 Championship victory over Queensland.

NSW finished the rain-shortened round robin portion of the Esther Deason Shield with a perfect 5-0 record while outscoring their opponents 43-3.

NSW have dominated the U-17 Women’s division with 22 titles, 11 in the past 13 years. Victoria is second with 13 championships; Queensland 6 wins and ACT with 3.

For all Results,  click here.

Four more national championships will take place from 17-23 January. The U-19 Women’s National Softball Championship and U-15 Girl’s Regional Softball Championship will be played at Redlands, Qld, while the U-19 Men’s National Softball Championship and U-15 Boy’s Regional Softball Championship will be played at Blacktown International Sportspark in NSW. The U-19s tournament will be a key event for national selectors as the U-19 Men’s World Softball Championship will be played in the USA in July.

The Men’s National Softball Championship completes the Summer of Softball with the competition for the 33rd John Reid Shield taking place in South Australia, 29 February to 5 March. The ACT 89ers will be out to win their sixth consecutive Shield led by one of the world’s best pitcher, Adam Folkard.