For at least two of the teams competing at this year’s Australia Cup, it won’t be a case of venturing into the unknown.
The Australian softball spotlight will focus on Adelaide from May 12 to 14 when teams from around the country compete for the Australia Cup.
For many players and coaches, it will be their first time at such a nationwide event. But for others, such as suburban Sydney clubs Glenmore Phantoms and Sweet Heat, it will be familiar territory.
The Phantoms and the Sweet Heat will return to the tournament this year after having a positive experience at last year’s event in Sydney.
With about 300 players competing from as young as Under 13s to Open Women’s, the inaugural Australia Cup in 2016 was a huge success. This year’s event will be held at the impressive West Beach complex in Adelaide with the full support of Adelaide Shores, the sport and recreation precinct within which the facilities are located. Set on 1.2km of stunning coastline at West Beach, the Adelaide Shores precinct has everything you need and more, and is the perfect getaway location for travelling teams.
Those who attended last year’s tournament are excited about heading to Adelaide in May.
Sweet Heat Head Coach Lyneene Orsini, whose Under 15 girls won their age group in 2016, says her players can’t wait to defend their title. “Last year was terrific,” Orsini says. “The girls all loved it. It gave them an opportunity to play at a high level and develop their skills.”
Players of all ages will participate. The Open Women’s competition will feature some of the best players in the country, while boys and girls in the younger age groups will compete against their peers.
The Sweet Heat teams, from north-western Sydney, all finished in the top three last year. But Orsini says the tournament is not all about winning. “The No. 1 priority was skill development, closely followed by friendship and having an enjoyable time on and off the field.
“The more their skills developed, the more they enjoyed playing and the better they played, so they had more success. The tournament was very well run, which meant the kids enjoyed themselves as well as playing at a higher level.”
Her thoughts were echoed by Glenmore Phantoms administrator Wendy Murphy, who says the 2016 tournament was a great experience for her Under 17 and Under 15 girls’ teams.
“We emphasised giving everyone even playing time and spending time in the infield and outfield,” Murphy says. “We were trying to be competitive but at the same time we wanted the girls to have fun and develop their skills.
“The kids loved it. They developed a real love of the game. We wanted them to have fun, but we have found that you can’t have fun if you don’t have skills. So skills development was a big focus for us.”
The Phantoms, from the Penrith City Softball Association in western Sydney, will be guided by Head Coach Alan McNulty and assistant Daniel Murphy.
At this year’s Australia Cup, teams are invited to take part in the U13, U15 and U17 competitions for boys and girls. In a test of speed, U13 and U15 participants can compete in a “running the bases” competition, while U17 participants will battle it out to see who records the fastest pitch.
Teams in the open-age competition, men and women, will compete for the best open team in Australia. Participants can also flex their muscles in a Home Run Derby and be crowned Australia’s top power-hitter!
The 2017 Australia Cup will offer a Masters 35+ competition for both men and women.
For information on the Adelaide Shores precinct please visit the Adelaide Shores website or check out the Stay & Play information PDF. Teams who choose to stay at the Adelaide Shores complex and mention the 2017 Australia Cup will receive the best available deals.
For more information on the event itself, including competition rules, contact Richard Costantino, National Events Coordinator on 03 9417 0022 or by email at email@example.com.