The Fury has won the inaugural Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball Series in a grand final at Blacktown International Sportspark that perfectly captured what the new format is all about.
Words & Image: Softball Australia
Finding their way to the grand final after finishing fourth in the round robin games, the Fury faced the undefeated Bandits in their semi-final and upset the ladder leaders with a 8-2 victory.
In the second semi-final, the Emeralds blew away the Lightning with a comfortable 17-4 win to carry momentum into the final.
What transpired in the grand final was the perfect example of what Fully Loaded Softball is all about.
Emeralds took a slender lead following the first inning 3-2 but the Fury struck back in the second, star pitcher Kaia Parnaby keeping her opposition scoreless which allowed her team to take the lead following three runs in the bottom of the second to enter the final stanza in front 5-3.
The Emeralds replied with five runs in the top of the third and final inning to take the lead 8-5 and piling all the pressure onto the Fury in the bottom of the inning.
After Italian representative Amanda Fama lined out to Emeralds pitcher Ellen Roberts, up stepped Belinda White.
With bases loaded, White belted a grand-slam home-run over centre left field sending four Fury members including herself over home plate and sealing a one-run victory 9-8.
“Couldn’t of asked for a better finish, that was awesome,” said White, who earned Player of the Grand Final for her heroics.
“I thought I’d just swing for the fences and see what happens and there you go, it went over.”
White, who played for Australia A in the Asia Pacific Cup, said the Summer Slam allowed the players to open the shoulders and celebrate a busy past month of elite level softball.
“We just came off such an intense month with National Championships and the Asia Pacific Cup, so to have so much fun in this environment was just amazing.
“It just brings back the love for the game and makes it exciting, it was amazing.”
After the world first format was held at Blacktown International Sportspark, White said the sky is the limit for the groundbreaking format.
“I definitely think other countries are going to get on board and have some fun with it.
“We all love the game and why not play it in a format like Fully Loaded Softball.”
Greta Cecchetti from the Riot was awarded best pitcher, Taylah Titsikronis from the Emeralds took out best batter while her teammate Elisa Cecchetti was awarded the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.