Kiri Shaw has pulled the pin on her long international softball career.
The 39-year-old made her debut as a 16-year-old in 1989 and has been a fixture in the Kiwi side ever since.
Her farewell was forced by an injury - a pulled hamstring at the World Series in Canada in July.
It was the second successive World Series in which she suffered a serious injury, and coming on top of a chronic shoulder problem, she knew it was time to hang up the glove.
But Shaw will still be on the diamond as Saints premier one and under-15 team coach.
She is not sure if she will play but it seems likely she will step up to the plate at some stage.
In recent years New Zealand has slipped well behind top teams United States, Australia and Japan, but Shaw has always been a powerful hitter, who could be relied on to perform under pressure.
As a veteran, she has also played a valuable role mentoring youngsters.
Looking back on her career, she says playing overseas and being part of a team with a strong culture have been highlights, but she does have some regrets.
Her only prolonged spell out of the team was during a time when Mike Walsh coached the White Sox, a period which she won't speak about except to say she let herself down.
Having attended five World Series and the Sydney Olympics, she has seen the ups and, more commonly, the downs of women's softball.
The game has problems, she said. The number of clubs and players is falling to a point that is threatening the viability of the code.
In the Hutt Valley, which has traditionally been a powerhouse of the sport, there are currently only two teams playing softball, and a desperate shortage of skilled pitchers.
Softball also has significant funding issues and top players have to fork out large sums to play at tournaments or for their country.
But Shaw is upbeat about the future of the White Sox, who are currently coached by her mother, Naomi.
She says the team has a lot of potential and finishing eighth at the recent World Series was not as bad as it seemed.
They were competitive in all but one game and with an average age of early twenties are a young team.
The youngsters have a lot of respect for Naomi Shaw and can see what she is trying to achieve, she said.
With more experience, she believes the team will improve significantly.
Most of the players are based overseas and that means they are playing in much stronger competitions than they would in New Zealand.
She predicts the White Sox will soon be dominated by overseas- based Kiwis, with the opportunity to get a scholarship to an American university a major selling point for local administrators to exploit.
Former Sacred Heart College student Lara Andrews is a good example of the opportunities softball can provide.
She has received an education in the United States, and at the same time has been developed into a top player.
Naomi Shaw has said the women's game in New Zealand is too slow and that batters do not face enough quality pitching. One possible solution is playing against under-19 boys.
Her daughter disagrees.
While facing better and faster pitching would help, she says female pitchers could get smashed and lose their confidence.
So how does softball find better female pitchers?
She says it comes down to just making it fun.
That might sound silly but she points to Saints hurler Ngahuia Kapene, who was touted as a top prospect.
She played a huge amount of rep softball as a youngster but gave the game away.
With Saints, her aim is to get everyone to have a crack at pitching to spread the burden around and to make sure young pitchers do not feel too much pressure.
Girls will only stick with the game if they are having fun and she says there needs to be a much greater emphasis on enjoyment.
For the foreseeable future, Shaw plans to concentrate on coaching grassroots softball but it would surprise few, if she follows her mother to coach the White Sox.
Kiri Shaw will demonstrate her softball coaching skills at the Saints 18th Annual Premier One and Two Women's Tournament, which will run at Fraser Park on November 3 and 4.
- Hutt News