The Under 18 Men’s National Championships get underway this Sunday 8th December at Blacktown International Sportspark, NSW.
Victoria’s squad is fit and firing to get their campaign started and make a strong statement against the rest of the country.
Head Coach Phillip Powell said he’s really proud of the team’s development and has set high expectations for the tournament.
“It’s been really good. We’ve really stripped everything back this year and worked on some fundamentals to build the team up to a point where we feel they can really compete at the highest level,” he said.
“I have high expectations, I’m extremely proud of the boys’ progress across the 16-weeks we’ve been together and our coaching group is proud.”
“We feel that if we play at our absolute best we can certainly beat anyone on our day.” Powell said.
The majority of the team played for Victoria in last year’s Under 17 National Championships, however Powell said that the recruitment of three New South Wales players would help enhance the balance of the team.
“It’s almost an identical team to last year’s under 17’s side as far as local players go.”
“But we found that there was a gap in the battery department with out pitchers and catchers, so we went to the draft and picked up Matthew Eder, Elliot Kirgan, and Jack Williams from New South Wales, which is going to improve the team immensely.”
Previously the Coach at ACT, Powell said he has focused on instilling a new brand into the team, which is an emphasis all the boys’ have brought into.
“This is my first year taking a Victorian team away and I don’t think we’ll go backwards, if anything we’ll be knocking on the door of the grand final.”
“To achieve that we need to get the strategy and the mental side of our game right and open the boys’ eyes to another level.”
Sam Seach will Captain the side in Blacktown, and Powell couldn’t speak more proudly of the Sam’s determination to the lead the team.
He also mentioned Cody Smith as an exciting prospect who’s set for a successful tournament.
“Sam Seach who’s currently in the Australian squad will certainly bring a lot to the team. Sam’s our sole captain, we really needed to run a focused program so we’ve gone with the one leader.” Powell said.
“He’s a focused athlete who understands the game and the big picture. He really adapted to our style and took it on board, he’s one of those guys who leads from the front and the team follows,” he added.
“Cody Smith is another athlete who’s showing signs of breaking out and having a really good tournament.”
Stay tuned to Softball Victoria website and our associated social media platforms for all the latest updates throughout the week from Blacktown.