Rocky softballers take Redlands to wire

ROCKHAMPTON produces quality softballers, now it is official, local identity Tanya Abbott confirms.

The under-19 girls team arrived back in Rockhampton yesterday and Abbott, who was assistant coach to Luke Waters, was jubilant as against the odds the girls finished the State competition as Country Champions and second-placed team in the state.

“It was a team effort, each individual stepped up and did their job,” she said.

“The girls were very committed, they made some really intelligent plays, their game knowledge set them apart.”

Having worked through the round-robin section unbeaten the Rockhampton girls met Brisbane Red in the qualifying final, but the lost by 3-0.

In warm conditions at Wynnum on Sunday that loss meant a bigger workload and more difficult task of gaining success at the event.

With Brisbane Red resting up for the grand final, Rockhampton had to go out again and meet Redlands in a preliminary final. Having won 5-0 in the group game, Rockhampton was favourite, but Redlands proved a far tougher opponent second time around, taking the match to a double tie-breaker before the Rocky side prevailed by 6-5.

After a short break they were back out on the diamond for the final with the Brisbane team.

Going in at one game each in head-to-head matches Rocky took a 5-4 lead going into the final inning.

Brisbane equalised sending Rockhampton into its second double tie-breaker of the day.

Unfortunately, this time it was Brisbane Red that took the match 8-7 leaving the Rockhampton girls pledging revenge next year.

“Twelve of the 13 girls are eligible next year,” Abbott said.

Dannielle Dougan, the 2009 team captain, won't be eligible.

“The state title will be held at Rockhampton next year.”

After performing so well it was a little surprising that just one local player made selection, Trish Dougan named in the Queensland age-group team.

Abbott said four Rockhampton players, Ben Preston, Bryce Heal, Brendan Hanschen and Luke Johnstone, travelled to the boys state carnival and were guest players for Noosa.

They too returned with a runner-up medal, beaten by the powerful Redlands in the final.

The boys also gained a Queensland representative with Ben Preston, who stood in as a pitcher for the tournament, named for the Queensland under-19 team to play in the national titles during January.

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