The Western Australia Flames take on the Queensland Heat at 11am on Sunday to open the 69th Women’s National Softball Championship at Blacktown International Sportspark in NSW. The six-team tournament is a double round robin format with the Championship Game for the Gilley’s Shield scheduled to take place at 4:00pm on Saturday 9 January. The Championship Final will be taped for a delayed broadcast on Fox Sports.
Host NSW Firestars enter the tournament as two-time defending champion with consecutive finals wins over the Qld Heat. National women’s team captain Stacey Porter leads the NSW team and has won the tournament Most Valuable Player Award four times and been named best batter a record five times, including the past two years. Monica Perry, the recipient of the 2015 Lorraine Wooley Best Pitcher Award, will lead the South Australia team into the tournament.
Victoria has won the Gilley’s Shield a record 22 times, while NSW has won 19 times and Queensland has 17.
The U17 NSR Women’s National Softball Championship play for the 47th Esther Deason Shield. Queensland will play South Australia in the tournament opener at Blacktown International Sportspark on Sunday starting at 10.30am. This is also a six-team tournament with a round robin format with NSW defending their 2015 championship at home.
NSW has dominated the U17 Women’s division with 22 titles, 11 in the past 13 years. Victoria is second with 13 championships; Queensland 6 wins and ACT with 3.
Out west, Mirrabooka, WA is the host of the U17 Men’s National Softball Championship playing for the 26th Arthur Allsopp Shield. The six-team round robin opens with Queensland playing Victoria. NSW enters the tournament as the defending champion. The Championship Final will be played on Saturday 9 January. NSW has dominated this category with 18 championship wins followed by ACT and Victoria with two each.
Tickets for all national and regional championships are available at the gate.
Four more national championships take place from 17-23 January. The U19 Women’s National Softball Championship and U15 Girl’s Regional Softball Championship will be played at Redlands, Qld while the U19 Men’s National Softball Championship and U15 Boy’s Regional Softball Championship will be played at Blacktown International Sportspark in NSW. The U19s tournament will be a key event for national selectors as the U19 Men’s World Softball Championship will be played in the USA in July.
The Men’s National Softball Championship completes the Summer of Softball with the competition for the 33rd John Reid Shield taking place in South Australia, 29 February to 5 March. The ACT 89ers will be out to win their sixth consecutive Shield led by the pitching of world’s best, Adam Folkard.
The VIA Network Aussie Spirit take to the field in February in a couple of international series at Blacktown, NSW in preparation for the 2016 Women’s World Softball Championship in July. Various games played in these tournaments will be live-streamed on Softball Australia’s YouTube Channel. Family and friends can also follow the game results on Softball Australia’s Twitter account @softballoz and on Facebook.
For more information about the Summer of Softball, click here.