It was bottom of the fourth and final inning in the grand final of the NSW U/12 softball championships.
Manly Warringah was at bat and down 4-2 against the talented Cumberland Nepean.
It was their fifth game of the day.
It was one hundred degrees in the shade.
And the Manly girls went gangbusters.
Hits followed hits. Runs flowed. And to the squeals of the players and the thunderous applause and cheers of their supporters, the best U/12 softball players on the northern beaches run out 5-4 winners at International Peace Park, Seven Hills on a hot very weekend before Christmas.
Head coach Alli Edgtton declared herself “beyond proud”.
“The way they held themselves in a really tough situation with the heat and against some difficult opposition was inspirational.
“They remind me how much I love the game of softball and how much I want them to learn to gain the experiences I have had,” Edgtton said.
When the game began it was 37 degrees and difficult for players to stay cool and hydrated.
Manager Kellie Cohen was kept busy distributing cold water, ice blocks and cool towels.
“But the girls were just fabulous and nothing bothered them. The team continuously worked well together. They stepped up every game,” Edgtton said.
Edgtton would not nominate best players because, overall, she said it was a team effort.
“We didn’t have a best batter, best pitcher, best fielder or best overall. Everyone did their job when they needed to.
“Of course there were people who stepped up in clutch positions but the best thing about this team that it didn’t matter who stepped into the box, or on the field, at the end of the day, they had each other’s backs and knew they had a job to do,” Edgtton said.
The grand final was their fifth game of the day and the grand final win saw the team go through undefeated in eight matches.
At the start of the season the coaching staff asked the girls what they wanted from their representative experience. To a player they replied “Get better and win a gold medal”, according to Edgtton, who also praised assistant coaches Jess Rooke, Jannette Edgtton, Rochelle Sangster, Kirra Gilchrist and Hannah Barlow, manager Kellie Cohen and scorer Gai Cohen.
Olympians Jade Wall and Tarni Stepto also attended training sessions and provided inspiration.
It is the third year in a row MWSA has won the U12s State Championships
MWSA President Doug Freeman said “being U12s State Champions is a great achievement”.
“All of MWSA is so proud of the team and the coaching staff.
“It’s been a challenging year which has seen the start of our season delayed until 29 January, so it’s great to finish 2021 with such a positive achievement.
“In the year when MWSA got its first Olympic softball representatives – indeed we had four! – it’s so pleasing that our next generation of stars are also performing so well.
“Softball on the Northern Beaches remains very strong,” Freeman said.