ASHLEE van OS and Emily Castles travel to Rockhampton this week for a softballing championship that could take them all the way to a World Under 17 Championship.
The talented young softballers were training in preparation to join their NSW Country Under 15 teammates for the Australian Regional Under 15 Championships beginning in Rocky from
While they were flexing their batting talents, Richard Webb was running his enthusiastic little Tamworth Under 13 side on the other softball field at Riverside.
“These girls all play in the Hunter Region at Newcastle on July 29,” Webb said.
“Depending on how they go they could get a start at Gosford on September 8/9.”
His squad are all learning the game.
“Ashlee and Emily were at this stage a couple of years ago,” Webb said.
“They are going okay while we have some pretty smart young players here (in the Tamworth 13s).
“For a lot of them it is their first experience at this level.
“We’d like to think they might be at the same level as Ashlee and Emily in a couple of years.”
Van Os, 13, is from Gunnedah. She’s a Year 8 student at St Mary’s Catholic College and has come through some Tamworth representative teams at Under 12 and 13.
She’s also a keen horse rider but a talented softballer.
Castles is from Tamworth, a Year 7 student at Peel High.
Her father, Ashley Castles, is junior vice president of Tamworth Softball and also the Tamworth Under 15 coach.
He said the two girls had done well but would be the only Tamworth representatives in the Country Under 15s.
“The Country team is made up of reps from Hunter, Coastal Regions, West and North West Regions,” Castles said.
“We are proud to have these two girls representing Tamworth in such a team.
“Tamworth has been struggling as a sport in softball but, in saying that, we are very lucky after some pushing this year to field two rep teams, one U15 and one U13 squad.”
Webb has been a softballing coach and administrator in Tamworth for more than two decades.
He’s excited for the two Under 15 Country stars as well as the current batch of Under 13s.
“It will be interesting to see how it all goes in Rockhampton, “he said.
“Since softball was booted out of the Olympics the International Olympic Committee has looked at starting up an Under 17 World
“They already have Open and Under 19s but are now looking at an Under 17s.
“And this Under 15 tournament is being used by Australian Softball as a talent identification carnival and look to a flow-on from Under 15 to the Under 17 Worlds.
“It’s the second year they’ve held it up there and it is looking good.
“Who knows, these girls could follow Stacey.”
The Stacey he was referring to is Tamworth Olympian Stacey Porter, who is preparing for a World Cup in softball.