A selection of the state’s up-and-coming softball stars braved the heat at Casey over the weekend for the 2018 Victorian Under 15 Championships.
18 teams across both the Girls and Boys competitions took part in the two-day state-wide event, with 10 teams split between the respective Girls Cup and Girls Plate divisions, while the Boys were halved into two pools of four, Blue and White, with the placings of each pool to decide the Cup and Plate divisions for Sunday.
Unfortunately for the players and coaches, following a terrific day’s play in Saturday’s round-robin competitions and a number of equally enthralling contests early on Day 2, Sunday afternoon’s Grand Final fixtures had to be cancelled due to the stifling heat.
Nevertheless, in the absence of a Grand Final in the Girls Cup competition, Northern District and Albury Wodonga were crowned as the top two teams for the division following some excellent performances in the preliminary rounds.
Northern District finished on top of the ladder with seven points courtesy of three wins and a draw in Round 1 against Waverley (third), while Albury Wodonga’s three wins against Werribee, Waverley and Knox was enough to secure second with six points.
The heat prevented what would have been a cracking final between Frankston/Dandenong and Keilor Park, who were the two dominant sides in the Girls Plate division. While the combine won all four of their games including a 7-3 victory over their planned Grand Final opponents in Round 7, Keilor Park’s superior percentage from the round-robin stage indicates a tight contest would have been on the cards.
Check out all the results and final ladders from the Girls Under 15 Championship competitions here.
In the Boys Blue Pool, Werribee and Sunbury quickly emerged as the two stand out teams in the division with a tight first up game on the Saturday, which Werribee won 4-2. Both teams then went on to secure convincing victories over Frankston and Northern District in their remaining pool games to secure entry through to the Boys Cup division on Sunday.
There they would be joined by the top two teams from the Boys White Pool in GEMSA/Knox and Sunshine, who had to navigate a very evenly matched group of teams which also included Albury Wodonga and Keilor Park to progress.
With the Boys Cup division decided, Werribee and Sunbury were the two teams to make it through to the decider following Sunday’s early games before heat intervened.
The heat also disrupted Albury Wodonga’s quest for silverware for the remaining four teams in the Boys Plate division, with the boys from up the Hume Highway looking impressive in all three of their Plate games on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
Albury Wodonga were set to meet Northern District in the Grand Final, who made it through on percentage after they, along with Keilor Park and Frankston, won one game each from their Plate division fixtures.
Check out the all the results and final ladders from both the Boys Victorian Under 15 Championship competitions here.
Softball Victoria CEO Nick Frayne said that these events are made possible through the tremendous sacrifices made by volunteers.
“It is a credit to the sport that we could still deliver a successful event in such difficult conditions, with an enormous amount of pre-planning focused on ensuring that athletes and attendees were supported through the tournament,” Frayne said.
“In particular Softball Victoria would like to acknowledge Casey Softball Association President Dot Bourke and all of their wonderful volunteers for hosting a terrific event that showcased the best of our young softballers talents.
“In addition, we also had Talent Identification Scouts on hand to watch the matches in preparation for State team selection trials later this year, the Softball Victoria Events Committee who planned and delivered another successful event and of course the umpires who braved the conditions to officiate all of the matches professionally.”