South Australian state junior softball championships in Port Pirie

FIRED UP: Rachel Dall-Afford, Zali Adams, Emily Gonsalves, Jess Axon and Shianne Short, front, are ready to play for Port Pirie's Under 17 side at the state championships this weekend.

FIRED UP: Rachel Dall-Afford, Zali Adams, Emily Gonsalves, Jess Axon and Shianne Short, front, are ready to play for Port Pirie's Under 17 side at the state championships this weekend.

Some of South Australia’s most talented young softball players will descend upon Leonard Park this weekend as Port Pirie hosts the state junior championships.

The action starts on Saturday and will be scattered across both Leonard Park and St Mark’s College’s oval at the Bosco Campus.

This will be the sixth time Port Pirie has hosted the championships, the first time being in 1999. 

Twenty-three teams will compete for grand final victory across three grades – Under 13, 15 and 17.

Local players have been training hard for this weekend, with the Port Pirie Softball Association having teams in the three divisions. 

The Under 17s title could be the toughest for Port Pirie to win, with this division featuring state players.

The local Under 13s is expected to do well this weekend, with all eyes on talented pitchers Halle Adams and Harper Bridley.

Port Pirie will have it’s own state players at the titles, with sisters Zali, Neve and Halle Adams playing at the weekend. Local players who have participated in the Dragons Talent Academy are also set to play this weekend.

Under 17s coach, Justina Adams, said hosting the championships involved a great deal of work put in by the local association’s executive committee which has been meeting fortnightly since Christmas to plan the event.

She acknowledged the behind-the-scenes efforts of Bev Argent, Ngaire Simms and Jan Haren.

Mrs Adams is one of three coaches for the weekend with Sonia Manfield coaching the Under 15s, Mandy Bridley coaching Under 13s and additional support from umpiring director Sam Burt.

The Port Pirie Softball Association thanked council and Phillipa Woolford for the work done on the grounds to make sure it is in top condition for play.

The association acknowledged the support from major sponsors, including Port Pirie Regional Council, Nyrstar, Electrical Products, CBS, Port Pirie Cycling Council and Port Football and Community Sporting Club.

Port Pirie’s economy will receive a much-welcome boost as the event brings hundreds of people to the city for the weekend, with accommodation venues, food outlets and retail set to be the big winners.

See championships photos online next week at www.portpirierecorder.com.au