Five current Victorian Titans’ players will take to the diamond at Blacktown International Sportspark for this week’s Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball tournament.
Milli Mercuri, Katherine Laemmle, Grace Peters, Brianna Trim and Kelly Barnhill will be in action from Monday 3rd to Wednesday 5th February against a host of international stars and up and coming Australian talent.
Playing for team Riot, Milli Mercuri told SV Media she’s relishing the chance to compete at the event.
“It’s incredible exciting, I didn’t expect to be selected at all, I just felt like I’m going to play at nationals, have some fun and do some good things,” Mercuri said.
“To have the opportunity to play with and against some of the best players in Australia and from around the world is going to be amazing,” she added.
Mercuri will have Titans’ teammates Katherine Laemmle and Kelly Barnhill alongside her in team Riot, and said she’s honoured play beside Riot’s captain Chelsea Forkin.
“I’m so proud of Kat for making the team and having this opportunity,” she said.
“Chelsea Forkin is an incredible person and such an inspiration to softballers, I feel so privileged to be part of team Riot alongside her,” she added.
The Fully Loaded format brings an exciting alternative to the sport with its fast-paced take on the traditional game, with only three innings, shorter fences and loaded bases.
From a viewers perspective it offers loads of entertainment, but Mercuri said the fast-pace boosts the pressure on the players.
“The format is interesting, it’s very fast compared to a regular game of softball.”
“I know from a spectators view it’s really entertaining and for someone unfamiliar with the sport it provides a nice introduction to the game.”
“With loaded bases and shorter fences it will be difficult for the pitchers. In terms of fielding its really nerve-wracking, you don’t want to mess up for the pitcher.”
“As a batter I’m a lefty slapper, it’s quite challenging because I have the chance to possibly hit further and make more of an impact on the game.”
With the event broadcast live on Kayo and Fox Sports Australia, Mercuri commended Softball Australia’s push to increase the exposure of the sport.
“This whole week with the AP Cup and Summer Slam, plus all the nationals that have just been played is great for Softball in Australia.”
“The livestream and increased social media coverage has been huge for softball, and it’s really exciting to be part of it.”
“It’s great to see Softball Australia pushing for more coverage and expanding the sport – because it’s a great sport – it was getting lost – but it’s back now and really thriving!”
The 2020 Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Australia and Kayo from 5:00pm 3-5 February.
Image credit (Change of focus photography)