Faces of Tamworth: Australian softball captain Stacey Porter

Stacey Porter has played 400 games for the Australian women's national softball team. Photo: Sam Donkin Photography
Stacey Porter has played 400 games for the Australian women's national softball team. Photo: Sam Donkin Photography

Stacey Porter’s list of accomplishments is a long one. Tamworth’s first home-grown Australian softball representative, Porter became the first Indigenous athlete to represent Australia in softball at the Olympics when she competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics, where she helped the Aussie Spirit win silver. Four years later she won bronze in Beijing, later being bestowed the honour of captaining her country. Regarded as one of the world’s best hitters, in 2005 she was named Australian Softballer of the Year, and the Female Sportsperson of the Year at the Deadly Awards female. The former Peel High student was also recognised as NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year in 2008. Currently leading the Aussie Spirit at the XVI Women’s Softball World Championships, Porter in February this year reached the milestone of 400 games for her country.

TAMWORTH softball product Stacey Porter has become just the second player to rack up 400 games for the Australian women's national softball team.

The Australian captain played her 400th game last Sunday in the final of the inaugural Asia Pacific Cup against Japan.

Born and raised in Tamworth, Porter started her softballing journey in the town and she said it was an “awesome” achievement to play so many games for Australia.

“You don’t set out to play 400 games for your country but it’s happened,” she said.

“I grew up as a kid playing in Tamworth and I grew up playing up there in the country.

“I worked at Softball NSW at this venue for a while and we’ve had a lot of softball played at this diamond so it’s pretty nice.”

The Asia Pacific Cup was held at Blacktown International Sportspark, the 2000 Olympic venue. Australia finished second behind world number two ranked team Japan, after a 3- 0 loss in Sunday’s final.

The Asia Pacific Cup was the biggest international women’s softball event to be held in Australia since the 2000 Olympic Games.

Six of the top 12 teams in the world attended with Japan (world number two), Australia (world number four), Chinese Taipei (world number five), Italy (world number nine), New Zealand (world number 11) and China (world number 12) as well as a second Australian team called the All Stars.

It was an important event ahead of the Women’s Softball World Championship which are currently being held in Chiba, Japan, and are the first step towards qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the sport makes a return to the Olympic roster after a 12-year hiatus.

Porter has said she would love to go to a third Olympics, after winning a silver in Athens in 2004, where she had the distinction of being the only player to hit a run off the all-conquering US side, and bronze in Beijing in 2008.

Speaking to The Leader in 2003 Porter said selection in her first state team was what really started it all of for her.

“When you break into that first state team, it’s hard to stop, it’s just so exciting,” she said at the time.

She was notably named the batter of the under-16s national championships three consecutive years.

National honours followed, and after representing Australia at the under-19s Junior World Championships, she graduated to the senior side in 2002.

Making her debut in the series against Japan, the then 20-year old Porter became the 225th player to play for Australia.

She is second on the list of all-time games for Australian players, behind all-time record holder, four-time Olympic medallist and World Baseball Softball Confederation Hall of Fame member Natalie Ward, who played 429 games for Australia.

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