Upon the completion of the recent Northern U17 regional tournament, Junior White Sox Management have finalised their squad for 2022.
Coach Kiri Shaw attended most of this season’s regional tournaments and was excited to see players back out on the diamond. “Firstly, it was just awesome to see softball being played and even better that our younger players got to play some representative ball. It was obviously important for me to get around to these tournaments to see where our current squad members are at, to observe younger players who are on our radar, and to identify any new players coming through.”
As part of the JWSX campaign, two trips to Australia have been planned for this off season. Player commitment to regional trainings and individual preparation for the Australian trips (for those involved) will be of particular interest to management as they continue to identify players in contention for the all-important Oceania Qualifier in 2023.
A number one ranking at the Oceania Qualifier is pivotal to determining a more favourable route via the regional qualifier in 2024 to reach the goal of qualifying for the WBSC 18U World Cup in 2025. The JWSX management are under no illusions that regardless of the ranking attained and the subsequent regional qualifier pool New Zealand compete in, qualifying for the world cup is going to be a mammoth task.
“We are itching to get more softball exposure for our JWSX players. We have had so many postponements, cancellations and change of plans over the past two and a bit years, it’s been bloody frustrating. We feel for the players who missed out on the opportunity to wear the silver fern at the last 18U world cup. But we reset. And we focus on the next group of players coming through that we look to represent New Zealand at major international tournaments over the next two years.”
Players not selected for this year’s squad are encouraged to stay positive and continue to work hard on building their game. JWSX management are keeping their options open in regard to final selection of the Oceania qualifying team. Strong performances on the domestic scene in the up and coming 2022/2023 by players outside of the squad are obviously players we want to know more about.
The JWSX squad:
Hayley Abbot, Clover Alapaki, Jade Calvery, Eden Jennings-Netzler, Sian Masters, Waimarie Tawera, Ellazay Utanga-Fletcher (Auckland) McKenzie Bailey McDowell, Trinity Mackley, Kaiyah Ratu, Sophie Yarham (Canterbury) Innika Hapuku-Lambert, Tia Mataira, Wikitoria Tamati (Hawkes Bay) Alana Brown, Emily McCormick, Raine Menzies, Maysen Kurene-Iwikau, Mesha Shaw – Wallace, Bailey Symons, Aayla Toman, Rylee Watt (Hutt Valley) Ashlee Hatzen, Aria Webster-Pahina (Manawatu) Emily Cleal, Charlotte Graham, Jayah Lee (North Harbour) Anahera Wilson (Southland) Tyla Bull, Tatiana Katu, Nahlia Tagatauli-Tolova'a, Maiarangi Waipara (Wellington)
JWSX teams to Australia are as follows: *July - Clover Alapaki, Jade Calvery, Ellazay Utanga-Fletcher, McKenzie Bailey McDowell, Kaiyah Ratu, Innika Hapuku-Lambert, Raine Menzies, Maysen Kurene-Iwikau, Mesha Shaw – Wallace, Aayla Toman, Rylee Watt, Charlotte Graham, Maiarangi Waipara (1-2 players to be added)
*September/October - Hayley Abbot, Eden Jennings-Netzler, Sian Masters, Waimarie Tawera, Trinity Mackley, Sophie Yarham, Tia Mataira, Wikitoria Tamati, Emily McCormick, Bailey Symons, Ashlee Hatzen, Emily Cleal, Nahlia Tagatauli-Tolova'a (1-2 players to be added)