Softball ready to fire up for new season

SOFTBALL'S BACK: After winning last season's A1 premiership, pictured, Cats come up against Checkmates in a grand final rematch.
SOFTBALL'S BACK: After winning last season's A1 premiership, pictured, Cats come up against Checkmates in a grand final rematch.

With winter sport done and dusted – it’s now time to turn our thoughts to the summer season.  Softball starts at Leonard Park on Saturday with seniors only participating due to school holidays. The Port Pirie Softball Association has been busily preparing for the season – after a successful annual general meeting it has a full complement of office bearers.

President Ngaire Simms, who will lead the competition committee as well will be ably assisted by vice presidents Evelyn Dumoi and Margie Wright, all bring vast experience in softball administration into these roles. Secretarial duties will be in the safe hands of Jan Haren, with Jodie Langsford as minutes secretary.  Vicki O’Neill accepted the role of finance director and her assistant will be Anthea Dunbar who will also fill the position of records officer. Sharon Ciampi comes onto the board as umpiring director, Jenny Coe will oversee risk management, grant writing and child protection while Bev Argent will be responsible for publicity and promotion. Phillipa and Dean Woolford will oversee ground maintenance and Roger and Vicki McMahon will look after the needs of the hungry, agreeing to once again be the canteen directors.

There have been some interesting appointments within the clubs in the coaching staff. Checkmates have appointed Troy Sutcliffe as their A2 coach and its good to see Shelley Roros back on the bench as their scorer. Rohan Voumard is the senior coach for Cougars, Anthea Dunbar returning as scorer for the A1 side, Kristy Thomas and Damien Wood are new additions as coaches for their A2 side. Cats have named Sam Burt as coach for their A2 side.

Returning for Checkmates is Tamisha Moyses, and a new face in the team is Kim Allen. Tigers who finished last season on a very positive note have promoted Alana Freer into their senior side. Cougars will miss the stabling influence of Anne Russack but have gained the services of Amber Steff, with Keana Northcott promoted into the seniors. Cats will go into the season without pitcher Callie Siwak, this will give an opportunity for two of their young pitchers, Jess Axon and Claire Beyer to work for the prime spot in the A1 side. Solly Cats created history last season, winning every grand final and MVP in all senior grades, but wins don’t come from history it’s now time to focus on this season.

A1 – The first round of matches starts with a replay of last year’s grand final – Solly Cats against Checkmates. Look for Rachel Ciampi to have a good season – playing solidly at 3rd base, a powerful batter and a handy pitcher.  Steve “Robbo” Roberts gets the best out of his team and there are some very knowledgeable players in their line-up. Pamela Page for Cats will make the journey up from the peninsula again this year.  She was promoted to the senior side towards the end of the season – she will be stronger for the run.

A settled Tigers outfit, coached by Jessica Finlayson, competes against a Cougars line up finding their feet as they work to gel as a team.  Tiger’s experienced players especially Paula Peterson and Nadinne Dunn will be boosted by Michaela Cox who is growing into a very good player.  Cougars are fortunate to have the enthusiastic Amanda Steff in their line up – she will encourage their younger players. Emily Gonsalves has a superb season and the best is still to come for her.

A2 – Cougars face off against Tigers with some players in the Cougars line up who could quite well be senior players as the season progresses.  Karli Penglase is a powerful batter and Kristy Thomas proved last season that she not only can pitch consistently, but her batting improved immensely. Tigers line up will depend on player availability, but it is hoped that Hayley Griffiths fronts up again – Aimee Simmons is a great base runner – let’s see them on the diamond this season

Cats will take the diamond with some “old timers” – age shall not weary them, but Mandy Bridley, Tanya Scarman and Robyn Murphy, bring a wealth of softball experience for the younger members of the team.  The same can be said for Bernie Good and Sam Youngman – good consistent, determined players – with a lot of softball knowledge.

A3 – There will be 3 teams in this competition, resulting in a double header being played on most weeks, this will be a good opportunity for junior players in the under 17 and 13 competition to step up and play seniors. Checkmates have two games this week – it will be interesting to see how they perform – it is early days – the best is still to come.