The New South Wales Firestars have won their 22nd Gilley’s Shield with a 2-1 victory over the South Australia Starz in a game which saw a two hour delay due to blackouts across Perth.
The Starz needed to firstly get through a tough Queensland outfit and thanks to the pitching prowess of U.S. import Jailyn Ford, they advanced with a thrilling 2-1 victory in the Preliminary Final.
Ford stayed on song and was able to match Kaia Parnaby innings for innings with no runs scored through the first four stanzas.
The Firestars broke the deadlock in the bottom of the fifth after getting lead off batter Mya Geros on first and pushed to second by a Tahli Moore sacrifice bunt.
Rachel Lack, who threatened earlier in the game at bat, finally got hold of Ford’s pitch with a triple to right outfield and put Geros over home plate to give NSW a 1-0 lead into the top of the sixth.
Not to be outdone, the Starz immediately hit back with the one-two punch of Belinda White and Maddie Cameron reaching third and second base respectively, White later crossing off a sacrifice fly to square the game at 1-1.
Jordan Lambert’s strong form in the batters box continued to advance Cameron to third and get herself on first, later stealing second to threaten to take the lead, however brilliance in the outfield from Michelle Cox who took a spectacular diving catch and converted it into a double play, kept them away from home plate.
Mirrabooka then succumbed to the city wide blackout in Perth, plunging the diamonds in darkness at the top of the seventh inning.
After what felt like an eternity to softball fans around the country, play resumed with NSW quickly getting their third out and getting a chance to close out the game in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to get home leading to extra innings.
More brilliance in the outfield, this time from the Starz, when Cameron fired in a Lack fly ball to catcher White who tagged the NSW runner heading for home, forcing a ninth inning.
They couldn’t repeat the performance again when Stacey Porter put a fly ball out to right field, Lack raced home, just beating the tag and securing the Firestars fourth consecutive and 22nd Gilley’s Shield in total.
Following the Gilley’s Shield is the Australia Pacific Cup at Blacktown International Sportspark with two Australian teams to be selected to compete against Mexico, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei.
Midge Nelson Medal (Tournament MVP) – Yui Sakamoto (WA)
Sybil Turner Medal (Best Batter) – Chelsea Forkin (Qld)
Lorraine Woolley Medal (Best Pitcher) – Jailyn Ford (SA)
Grand Final MVP – Rachel Lack
Grand Final Box Score
Preliminary Final Box Score
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About the National Championships
In 2019/2020 the U18 Men’s National Championship was followed by the Open Women’s National Championship and U14 Girls' Regional Championship from 4 - 10 January at Mirrabooka International Softball Stadium in Perth, Western Australia.
The U16 Boys' and Girls' National Championships took place at Waverley, Victoria from 4 - 10 January, the Open Men’s National Championship and U14 Boys' Regional Championship are held at Blacktown International Sportspark 12 - 18 January before the U18 Women’s National Championship wraps up Australian titles from 19 - 25 January at the same venue.
International softball then takes centre stage at Blacktown with the AP Cup from 30 January - 2 February, ahead of the exciting Summer Slam - Fully Loaded Softball from 3 - 5 February.
Tickets for both events are available for purchase now via Humanitix.
To purchase tickets to the AP Cup, please visit https://events.
To purchase tickets to the Summer Slam – Fully Loaded Softball, please visit www.humanitix.com.au/