Aussie Spirit ready to create history

Aussie Spirit players gather for a photo on the eve of their first NPF game.

Aussie Spirit ready to create history

History is about to be made as the Aussie Spirit prepare to take the field for the first game of their debut season in the National Pro Fastpitch league.

aussie spirit npf

Taylah Tsitsikronis (left) and Amelia Cudicio face the media.

aussie spirit npf

Michelle Cox hits off a tee at practice.

On Saturday morning (AEST), the Spirit will take on the Beijing Shougang Eagles in the first game of the 2018 NPF season.

That will be the first of 48 NPF games for the Spirit, with their regular season ending on July 18.

Regardless of how they go in their first game, the Spirit won’t have time for celebration or commiseration – they play a double header against the same opponents the following day.

The Australian players have had several training sessions at their base at Missouri Western State University, where the opening game will be played. On the eve of their first game they featured in a media day and will hold another training session before the first game.

Head Coach Fabian Barlow is still working on his Opening Day lineup and has not revealed who will be on the diamond for the first pitch.

Most of the Aussie Spirit players are already in Missouri, but some will not be joining the team until next month.

Softball Australia CEO Chet Gray, who worked with NPF officials to make the Spirit’s participation a reality, says it’s an exciting time for Australian softball.

“This is a significant moment in Australian softball history as it marks the first time an Australian team has competed in a professional league,” Gray says.

“It’s a great opportunity for the players and coaches and gives the Aussie Spirit the best possible preparation ahead of the World Championship in Japan.”

The Aussie Spirit’s pitching depth will be bolstered by the inclusion of two Americans early in the season.

Monica Perry is well known to many of the Spirit players after representing South Australia in recent Gilley’s Shield competitions. She will be joined early next month by Jordan Taylor, a Californian right-hander who is about to finish her stint playing in Japan.

Most of the Aussie Spirit games will be streamed live on npf-tv.com, which will be accessible through the National Pro Fastpitch website.

Best of all, the telecasts will be free of charge.

The Softball Australia website and social media pages will provide links to the live streaming as they become available.

aussie spirit npf

A training session on the eve of the first game.

Games that are not streamed through the NPF website will be available on multiple other platforms, not through an app. There is also an NPF Game of the Week on ESPN, but it is not known if this will be available in Australia.

Straight after the NPF season, the Aussie Spirit will head to Japan to prepare for the XVI Women’s Softball World Championship, to be held in Chiba from August 2-12. This tournament is the first potential qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

About National Pro Fastpitch 

National Pro Fastpitch, an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success.  The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Aussie Spirit, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets, and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2018 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China, among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.

 

Aussie Spirit players in the NPF

Tabitha Callendar (WA) Jordan Lambert (SA) Ellen Roberts (NSW) Jade Wall (Qld)
Michelle Cox (NSW) Verity Long-Droppert (WA) Justine Smethurst (Qld) Clare Warwick (ACT)
Amelia Cudicio (NSW) Stacey McManus (NSW) Carmelle Sorensen (Qld) Melinda Weaver (Qld)
Chelsea Forkin (Qld) Kaia Parnaby (NSW) Erin Thras (Qld) Stacey Webber (Qld)
Leigh Godfrey (WA) Samantha Poole (NSW) Jessica Torpey (Qld) Belinda White (SA)
Shannon Keevers (NSW) Stacey Porter (NSW) Stephanie Trzcinski (SA) Tamieka Whitefield (Qld)
Rachel Lack (NSW) Chelsea Robinson (SA) Taylah Tsitsikronis (NSW)

 

2018 NPF schedule

DATE VISITING TEAM HOME TEAM LOCATION
May 19 Beijing Eagles @ Aussie Spirit Missouri Western State University
May 20 Beijing Eagles @ Aussie Spirit Missouri Western State University
May 21 Beijing Eagles @ Aussie Spirit St. Joseph, MO
May 22 Beijing Eagles @ Aussie Spirit Springfield, MO
May 23 Beijing Eagles (DH) @ Aussie Spirit Springfield, MO
May 25 Aussie Spirit @ Beijing Eagles TBA
May 26 Aussie Spirit @ Beijing Eagles TBA
May 27 Aussie Spirit @ Beijing Eagles TBA
May 28 Aussie Spirit @ Beijing Eagles TBA
May 29 Aussie Spirit (DH) @ Beijing Eagles TBA
May 30 Aussie Spirit @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
May 31 Aussie Spirit @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
Cleveland Comets @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
June 1 Cleveland Comets @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
Aussie Spirit @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
June 2 Cleveland Comets @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
Aussie Spirit @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
June 3 Cleveland Comets @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
USSSA Pride @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 4 Aussie Spirit @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
June 5 Beijing Eagles @ Cleveland Comets Parma, OH
Aussie Spirit @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
June 6 Beijing Eagles @ Cleveland Comets Parma, OH
Chicago Bandits @ Aussie Spirit Hutchison, KS
June 7 Beijing Eagles @ Cleveland Comets Parma, OH
Chicago Bandits @ Aussie Spirit  Wichita, KS
June 8 Chicago Bandits @ Aussie Spirit Wichita, KS
USSSA Pride @ Cleveland Comets Parma, OH
June 9 Chicago Bandits @ Aussie Spirit TBA
USSSA Pride @ Cleveland Comets Parma, OH
June 10 Chicago Bandits @ Aussie Spirit TBA
USSSA Pride @ Cleveland Comets Parma, OH
June 11 Chicago Bandits @ Aussie Spirit TBA
June 12 Cleveland Comets @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 13 Cleveland Comets @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 14 Cleveland Comets @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 15 Cleveland Comets @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 16 Cleveland Comets @ Beijing Eagles TBA
Aussie Spirit @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
June 17 Cleveland Comets @ Beijing Eagles TBA
Aussie Spirit (DH) @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
June 18 Cleveland Comets @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
June 19 Cleveland Comets @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
June 20 Cleveland Comets @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
Chicago Bandits @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 21 Chicago Bandits @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 22 Chicago Bandits @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 23 Chicago Bandits (DH) @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 24 Chicago Bandits @ Beijing Eagles TBA
June 25 Chicago Bandits @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
Cleveland Comets @ Aussie Spirit Kansas City, MO
June 26 Chicago Bandits @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
Cleveland Comets @ Aussie Spirit Kansas City, MO
June 27 Chicago Bandits @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
Cleveland Comets @ Aussie Spirit Kansas City, MO
June 28 Cleveland Comets @ Aussie Spirit Kansas City, MO
June 29 Cleveland Comets @ Aussie Spirit Kansas City, MO
USSSA Pride @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
June 30 Cleveland Comets @ Aussie Spirit Kansas City, MO
USSSA Pride @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
July 1 USSSA Pride @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
July 2 Beijing Eagles @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
July 3 Beijing Eagles @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
Aussie Spirit @ Cleveland Comets TBA
July 4 Beijing Eagles @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
Aussie Spirit @ Cleveland Comets TBA
July 5 Beijing Eagles @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
Aussie Spirit @ Cleveland Comets TBA
July 6 Beijing Eagles (DH) @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
Aussie Spirit @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
July 7 Aussie Spirit (DH) @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
July 8 Beijing Eagles @ Chicago Bandits  Rosemont, IL
July 9 Beijing Eagles @ Chicago Bandits  Rosemont, IL
USSSA Pride @ Aussie Spirit Kansas City, MO.
July 10 Beijing Eagles @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
USSSA Pride @ Aussie Spirit Kansas City, MO.
July 11 Beijing Eagles @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
USSSA Pride @ Aussie Spirit Creighton University – Omaha, NE
July 12 Beijing Eagles (DH) @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
USSSA Pride @ Aussie Spirit Iowa State University – Ames, IA
July 13 USSSA Pride @ Aussie Spirit Iowa State University – Ames, IA
July 14 USSSA Pride @ Aussie Spirit Iowa State University – Ames, IA
Beijing Eagles(DH) @ Cleveland Comets  Canton, OH
July 15 Beijing Eagles @ Cleveland Comets Canton, OH
July 16 Aussie Spirit @ Cleveland Comets TBA
July 17 Aussie Spirit @ Cleveland Comets TBA
USSSA Pride @ Beijing Eagles TBA
July 18 Aussie Spirit @ Cleveland Comets TBA
USSSA Pride @ Beijing Eagles TBA
July 19 USSSA Pride @ Beijing Eagles TBA
July 20 USSSA Pride (DH) @ Beijing Eagles Viera, FL
Cleveland Comets @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
July 21 Cleveland Comets @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
July 23 Cleveland Comets @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
July 24 Cleveland Comets @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
July 25 Cleveland Comets @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
July 26 Chicago Bandits @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
July 27 Chicago Bandits @ USSSA Pride Viera, FL
July 28 Chicago Bandits @ USSSA Pride  Viera, FL
July 31 Chicago Bandits @ Cleveland Comets Avon, OH
August 1 Chicago Bandits @ Cleveland Comets Avon, OH
August 2 Chicago Bandits @ Cleveland Comets Avon, OH
August 3 Chicago Bandits @ Cleveland Comets Avon, OH
August 4 Chicago Bandits @ Cleveland Comets Avon, OH
August 5 Chicago Bandits @ Cleveland Comets Avon, OH
August 6 USSSA Pride @ Cleveland Comets  Avon, OH
August 7 USSSA Pride @ Cleveland Comets Avon, OH
August 8 USSSA Pride @ Cleveland Comets Avon, OH
August 10 USSSA Pride @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
August 11 USSSA Pride @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
August 12 USSSA Pride @ Chicago Bandits Rosemont, IL
August 16-20 Championship Series TBA