Strength of Wellington women's softball reflected in dominant tournament wins

Wellington East Girls' College softball coach Steve Sila holds the division one trophy alongside co-captains Harmony ...

Wellington East Girls' College softball coach Steve Sila holds the division one trophy alongside co-captains Harmony Rapihana-Sila (left) and Marama Makea.

The immense strength of women's high school softball in Wellington has been showcased at the most recent division one and two national secondary schools tournaments.

Wellington East Girls' College (division one) and Sacred Heart College (division two) won both of the tournaments last month.

Wellington East travelled to North Harbour's Rosedale Park where they took out the tournament comfortably winning all games except one against One Tree Hill College from Auckland.  

Sacred Heart College softball coach Scott Robertson with team members (L-R) Pallas Potter, Destiny Savage and Bailey ...

Sacred Heart College softball coach Scott Robertson with team members (L-R) Pallas Potter, Destiny Savage and Bailey Robertson.

This most recent victory adds to the legacy that Wellington East has exerted over the division one tournament in recent years.   

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They have won the title 8 times since the inaugural tournament in 1982 and their 2017 win is their fourth consecutive victory.

Their other four victories were also won consecutively from 2007-2010.

Sacred Heart College qualified for the division one tournament but management made the decision to attend the division two tournament instead.

This was an easy decision as the tournament was held in Lower Hutt and flight prices had skyrocketed due to the Adele concert that was being held at the same time.

Sacred Heart College went through the entire tournament unbeaten winning every game by mercy.

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"There was no team close to competing," said coach Scott Robertson.

The team had been together for three years and this was the first time they had competed at the division two tournament.

"Division two was not as challenging as if we went to division one and we have always qualified for division one," said pitcher Bailey Robertson.

Both teams believe their past and current success at secondary school level came down to the strength of softball at club level.

Wellington East fielded an entire squad that played representative softball for Wellington and also played for a club throughout the various grades.

Star Marama Makea was also selected in the New Zealand Junior White Sox side.  

The Sacred Heart College squad is very much the same with all except two of the members playing representative softball for Hutt Valley and local clubs.

Stars Bailey Robertson and Pallas Potter were also selected for the Junior White Sox, with Potter captaining the side.

Scott Robertson believed the impact of club and representative softball was a large reason why women's secondary school softball in the area was displaying such dominance.

"Past greats like Naomi Shaw have been giving back to the game and it means I do not have to do much coaching; I can more guide the students," he said.

Wellington East coach Steve Silo reiterated this point as he believed his role was to carry on what previous coaches had already done.

"Without the foundations from previous coaches it would not have been as easy," he said.

Sacred Heart's Potter, along with leadership players Bailey Robertson and Destiny Savage, believed the quality of softball was a lot higher at club level, and it meant they were better equipped when competing at high school level.

Catcher of the side, Savage, thought the strong support by family and friends in the Wellington softball community was a huge contributing factor in why the girls put in such a dominating performance.

Makea agreed that support from family and friends were a fundamental reason for softball being so dominant at secondary school level.

"The softball community is quite close and having the same coaches throughout the years and a lot of support through family and friends has helped me personally," Makea said.

Both Sacred Heart and Wellington East had a strong leadership role among the older players which aided in providing a more rounded performance.

Both teams were fortunate enough to be keeping a core group of players heading into next year's division one tournament, which would be held at Lower Hutt's Fraser Park.

Sacred Heart were excited to play on home soil and they would have their eyes set on taking out the tournament.

Meanwhile, Wellington East were cherishing the moment to continue their success at division one by gaining their fifth consecutive victory.

 - Stuff


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