Junior Spirit ready to take on the world

The Junior Spirit players were presented with their uniforms by former Australian player Heather McCann.

Junior Spirit ready to take on the world

Australia’s best young female softball players are fit, healthy and have the right attitude as they prepare to take on the world’s best.

So says Junior Spirit Head Coach Kerrie Porter, who has her players working hard at a training camp in Sydney before they leave for the USA on Friday.

The 17-player Junior Spirit team is bound for Clearwater, Florida, where they will be one of 26 teams competing at the XII Junior Women’s Softball World Championship from 17-24 July.

u19 worldsAnd if the pre-departure training camp in Sydney is any guide, they will arrive in Florida well prepared and ready to give their best efforts.

“They’re all fit and healthy, touch wood,” Porter said “We’re only in the early stages, but so far it’s all been going well. They players are healthy and strong and they all have a good attitude.

“They have embraced what it is we’re trying to achieve. It’s only early in our preparation, so we’re not getting carried away, but it’s a good start.”

At first glance, it appears the schedule-makers have not done Australia any favours. Day one of the tournament has the Junior Spirit playing a 9am game against Peru, then a 6.30pm game against the Netherlands. That sounds awkward, with a lot of time to kill between games. But Porter is not fazed.

“In a way, it’s a good thing. I’d rather play morning and night than have two games in the middle of the day in the heat and humidity of a Florida summer. And it also means we get to watch the Netherlands play in the afternoon game, so it gives us a chance to learn a bit about them before we play them.”

Another bonus is that the team hotel is only five minutes from the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex, which means the players can go back to their rooms and chill out for a while after their morning game. “It will be nice to be able to get out of the heat, but they should watch at least some of the other teams to see how they play and get the full experience of being at a world championship,” Porter said.

Before the tournament begins on 24 July, the Junior Spirit will play practice games against Netherlands, New Zealand, Japan and  Italy.

 The 26 nations in the XII WBSC Junior Women’s Softball World Championship have been drawn into four pools and will play a round-robin to begin the tournament.

Pool A: Chinese Taipei, Guatemala, Italy, Philippines, Turkey, South Africa, USA
Pool B: Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Peru
Pool C: Argentina, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, India, New Zealand, Puerto Rico
Pool D: Canada, China, Great Britain, Ireland, Korea, Mexico

The tournament schedule features a total of 99 games, which will be played over seven days. The USA are the defending Under 19 world champions. Australia’s first game is against Peru on the morning of 24 July, followed by a game that night against the Netherlands.

The World Championship will also have web-streaming and play-by-play available at the tournament website.

2017 Junior Spirit Team

Kelsey Griffen, NSW Rhiannon Kemp, Qld Tarni Stepto, NSW
Natasha Holt, Vic Kandra Lamb, NSW Maddison Schofield, WA
Amber Hood, SA Jamie Mead, SA Brianna Trim, NSW
Georgia Hood, SA Gabrielle Plain, NSW Tia Waters, Qld
Montana Kearnes, NSW Sara Riou, WA Tamieka Whitefield, Qld
Shannon Keevers, NSW Maddison Smith, NSW