Aiden Kelly will be flying the flag for Orange when he tries to crack the under 23 state softball side.
Kelly has been a staple in the NSW team for the past three years and even captained the group in 2020.
He was recently selected in a 20-man squad which will undergo a series of trainings before a final team of 16 is announced.
The squad is made up largely of Penrith and Macarthur players with other Sydney suburbs sprinkled in. This makes Kelly the lone country boy to make the cut.
"It is a privilege. To show my loyalty to the grassroots programs and my junior coaches, I'm very appreciative of all they've done for me," he said.
"I might be alone up there but I am very proud of who I do get to represent and who has helped me get to where I am now."
Despite his previous experience, the outfielder believes making the final cut may be the toughest test he's had yet.
"There is a lot of young talent coming through, a lot of young players who just competed at the world championships," he said.
"I think this year it will come down to who can stay the fittest. I know we've had a very long offseason and it will be good to go down and see how we all gel together."
He is hoping his work off the field as much as on it will show why he deserves a place.
"I like to think of myself as a bit of a jovial factor," he said.
"I'm a great asset in the outfield and more of a moral booster.
"I like to say that improvement can come from a mental change. I like to do my job to the best of my ability, but if I can lift someone that's in a bit of a rut or not having the best weekend, I find that's a big part of my game."
Other Orange players to make the state squads in their respective ages were (U16 boys) Mitchell Crossman, Finley Gutherson, Ky Hurst, Mathew McKenna, Lachlan Newman and (U16 girls) Ineke Keed.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
HAVE YOUR SAY
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below