World Cup within reach for talented local softballers

Jarred Garland, Hayden Shaw and Ethan Field have made the Australian U23 Men’s softball squad. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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Six hardworking members from the Penrith City Softball Association (PCSA) are one giant step closer to a World Cup berth after they were selected in the 2020 Australian U23 Men’s squad recently.

Last month Softball Australia announced the names of 30 players to make up the national squad, who will then battle it out for a place in the 2021 U23 Men’s Softball World Cup team.

Penrith City’s Jacob Donaldson, Jarred Garland, Jeremy Garland, Ethan Field, Hayden Shaw and Jack Besgrove will all be vying for a seat to South America next year.

PCSA President Loretta Watts said she is “very proud” of the six young men and their achievements.

“They have all worked very hard for an opportunity to be selected in this Australian U23 squad,” she said.

“I am very privileged to be the current PSCA Open Men’s Head Coach with these players in the team. They all work extremely hard at our training sessions to ensure their skills continue to be enhanced.”

The purpose of selecting the squad so soon is to provide players with a training program from Australian U23 Men’s coach David Metekingi, and to also give them clarity that they are under strong consideration for the 2021 Australian U23 Men’s team.

Next year, national selectors will attend both the U23 Men’s National Softball Championship and the Open Men’s National Softball Championship. Following these events, a group of 30 players will be selected for the 2021 Australian U23 Men’s squad.

Subject to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the squad of 30 will be invited on a tour of New Zealand in March. The squad will be split into two teams and participate in the New Zealand Club Championships. Following the tour, a final team of 16 players will be selected for the 2021 WBSC U23 Men’s World Cup.

“I would like to wish each and every one of them the best of luck with selection next March in New Zealand,” Watts said.

“Once the team is selected – hopefully all six are chosen – they will have the opportunity to travel to Argentina for the first-ever edition of the U23 Men’s Softball World Cup.”

The debut edition of the U23 Men’s Softball World Cup, which will be held in Argentina in late 2021, was created to bridge the gap between the U18 Men’s Softball World Cup and the senior national teams.

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