UNLIKE the name suggests, there’s nothing soft about softball, and the George’s River Softball Association is set to prove just that when its premier men’s competition lights up the Jack Brabham softball diamonds this weekend.
Set to play Saturday and Sunday, both former and current Australian and NSW state players will line up in six teams competing in six games in a move Orange District Softball Association president Geoff Kelly describes as huge for the area.
And, looking to debunk the soft perception of his preferred sport, Kelly insists this weekend’s action will be as intense as any sporting competition in the region this weekend.
“People probably think softball is a soft sport, but it’s a big, hard, round ball and some of the guys on the weekend will be pitching it at 120 kilometres per hour,” Kelly said.
“I’ve done a bit of research, and softball is one of the quickest sports you can play.
“In terms of reaction time, the distance between bases ... fielding-wise, if you’re a split second slow it’s the difference between getting someone out or them being safe on base.
“There’s not a lot of room for error.”
Formerly known as the Waratah League, the George’s River Softball Association took on the hosting rights of the competition and asked the ODSA if they could bring a round to Orange in 2014.
The Dolphins, Mounties, United, Tropics, Titans and Thurabredz will take part in this weekend’s series, with ODSA stars Mac Reith-Snare lining up for the Dolphins, while Joel Wiseman and Aiden Kelly will play for Mounties.
Thomas Zeylemaker is another ODSA player who is a regular in the GRSA, however, his team won’t be making the trip to Orange this weekend.
The Scorpions and the Demons are the GRSA outfits not contesting this round.
Thrilled with the coup, Kelly said this weekend’s action is one rung below the best softball played in NSW.
“The major competition is State League, and this is a step below that,” he said.
“But having those former and current Australian and state players playing, as well as the up-and-coming players, the 15-year-old future state players, it’ll be a pretty high level of softball.”
A growing sport in Orange, softball like what the city is about to experience has the potential to further boost playing stocks in the ODSA.
“This is just one of the steps,”
“It’s good for the kids to see what they can go on with in softball. The Australian men’s side is number three in the world at the moment but have been world champions.”
Saturday’s first games begin at 10.30am at the Jack Brabham softball diamonds.
Spectators are welcome during the two days.