I want to congratulate our local players who represented WA recently at the 2023 Softball Australia Under 14 Regional Championships in Queensland. The reason I’m so proud is that, out of the 16 players representing WA, nine of them are from our very own south-west—that’s over half the team. Henry McIntosh, Brodi Haddon, Kobe Penman, Koby Stewart, Bailey Scott, Thomas Smith, Jeffrey Haddon,
Will Cottam and Jet Willis all tried out earlier in the year, and they impressed the selectors enough to make up the majority of the squad, and that’s great. The championship ran from 3-7 July in Redcliffe, Queensland, with each game bringing a challenge, an opportunity and excitement for the boys.
Their first game was against the New South Wales Slammers, and the nerves were high. Unfortunately, they lost 14-6, but they kept their focus and moved on to play Victoria, where they came out swinging, taking down Victoria in a thrilling 14-6 win. Day 2 was affected by rain, and their game against the ACT was rescheduled for later, but a match against the New South Wales Strikers went ahead, with the boys having to admit defeat 4-11. On day 3, our guys defeated the New South Wales Sliders in a nail-biting game, which ended in a 9-8 win. Their second match for the day was also a close one, and they lost by a whisker to Queensland Metro. Their training proved invaluable and, at this point, so did their coaching, because fatigue started to set in. But they stormed into day 4 with a 21-1 masterclass over the ACT, and they jumped to third place, booking a game in the finals against Queensland Metro Storm. Day 4 saw the team play and win three games—a momentous effort for this group of players. And this saw them play, on the final day, the first semifinal against Queensland Metro Storm. WA pushed the Queensland boys hard, but ultimately they went down 6-14, and this wrapped up the tournament for them and WA.
Again, all of us in WA are really proud of these boys—all of them—who took part. But I’m particularly proud of those nine young 14-year-olds from the south-west of WA who were part of this, the extra effort that they had to go to to get to this stage, the way they participated, the way they were fair in everything that they did and the way that they carried themselves throughout the competition. They’ve done WA, their families, themselves and the competition proud. I also thank all the parents, coaches and support staff, and acknowledge that some of the boys are so excited about this that they’re already training again and looking forward to Victoria in January. Congratulations to them all.