After a super successful week with the Victorian Under 15 Boys softball team at the National Championships in the ACT, team coach Sam Allen is buoyed about what the future holds for softball in the state.
The Hawker International Softball Centre was the scene of one of the best Victorian National Competition campaigns in recent years, and despite being pipped at the final hurdle it had tongues wagging back home.
Speaking after the grand final, Allen said she expects the team to be even more competitive next year on the back of the successful 2019 campaign.
“Next year it changes a little – there is an under 14 team being put in as well as an under 16 team, and in the whole team only three are qualified for under 14’s,” she said.
“The rest are eligible for under 16’s, so I think that the after the tournament these boys have had, we are going to continue to be strong.
“I hope that not only the boys that played amazing here come to be part of the next trial – I hope that we get a bigger range of boys wanting to put up their hands.
“They will have seen not only how well we have played, but also just how well we get along and I am hoping that grows our sport.”
Allen revealed that the groundswell of support from friends, family and the entire softball community back home in Victoria kept the team motivated throughout the tournament.
“None of these boys have had their phones with them all week but it was a big deal every time someone commented or we got a message,” she added.
“We had messages come in from within Softball Victoria or friends who are coaches or players or anyone who commented – we made sure we read it all to the boys and actually showed them that there are people out there who are backing them and believe in them – that it wasn’t just their parents that are up here supporting them, that it is the whole community in it together.
“So I think the boys did know and think they were shocked at how well we were showcased, how well we were supported – the social media and livestreams… they were genuinely shocked to know that thousands of people were engaged and tuning in to their competition.”
As for Allen, she said that she was super proud to be involved with the group and to be giving back to the sport – and has vowed to continue offering her guidance wherever she can.
“I love giving back to the sport and I believe that after all the coaching I have been given in all my years that there is only one way our state can get better.
“That’s with ex players, retired players, any Open State players give back to our juniors and help to develop them.
“And every year I say that maybe it’s the time to take a year off and relax, and go on holiday and all of that, but after a week like this I thought to myself I might apply for another year and go again and we might see what we can do.
“It is so important for these boys to know that someone can work with them and develop the potential that they have – hopefully next year we take them on, and we go again, and we get even further.”
Click HERE to read the Softball Australia Grand Final report.
Click HERE to see the full list of tournament results.