Southland gear up to shine on home ground

16:00, Jan 01 2014
Southland under-15 player Kaemyn Smith
BATTER UP: Southland under-15 player Kaemyn Smith, 13, hits the ball the way of Josh Rogers as coach Jason Milne looks on.

Southland's best young softballers are hoping to showcase their talents in their own backyard today when the South Island under-15 girls and boys tournaments start in Invercargill.

Six teams will take part in the boys' competition while there will be four teams in the girls' section. Southland will be represented in both of the tournaments.

Southland under-15 boys coach Jason Milne said yesterday there was a sense of excitement within his team about the opportunity to try to do well in front of their family and friends on diamonds they are very familiar with.

Milne's team will open the tournament this morning against Nelson and will play five pool games during the next two days.

The six teams will be split into sections of three teams for games on Saturday before finals day on Sunday.

Milne was confident of his team's ability but much would come down to how they performed during a demanding four days of play.


Given the number of games they have to get through, Milne planned to give everyone in his squad a shot early in the tournament before settling on his main lineup for the crunch stage.

Southland's buildup has mainly centred around games against Otago, with Milne saying the two teams were pretty even.

Players to watch out for in the Southland under-15 team include Caleb Fetolofai.

Fourteen-year-old Fetolofai was also part of the Southland under-17 team this season and was their top batter.

Jayden Johnston made the South Island under-15 team last season and will be hoping for another strong tournament with the bat and on the mound, pitching.

Brothers Darren and Mitchell Tweedie are also key figures while Toby Milne was last season the youngest player in the Southland under-15 team and will be back with more experience this time around.

What: South Island U15 softball tournament Where: Surrey Park, Invercargill When: Today to Sunday Who: Southland, Otago, Central Otago, Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough (Boys); Southland, Otago, Central Otago, Canterbury (Girls).

The Southland Times