Black Sox captain Rhys Casley has been cleared to lead his team at next month's World Softball Championship in Auckland.
With several players selected injured in December, coach Eddie Kohlahse set last weekend as the deadline for them to prove their readiness for the tournament at Rosedale Park and Casley was the last to achieve that goal.
After undergoing shoulder surgery last September, his road back to full fitness has been slow, but with three weeks until the world event, he's showed he's almost there with performances at the recent Vic Guth and Brother Patrick tournaments.
Kohlhase is thrilled to have his skipper confirmed, although there is still some ground to make up before he's operating at 100 per cent.
"The shoulder has responded outstandingly, really," says the coach. "It's a credit to Rhys that he's able to play.
"He hit every game on the weekend and played a bit in the field, so we're really confident."
The entire roster got a good hit-out at the weekend's tournament, winning three games against club opponents and losing a close one to Samoa in their first international outing.
"It was a step up from what we'd faced before and it highlighted some significant work-ons," observed Kohlhase.
"We got behind in the game and key learning was the need to be prepared from the first pitch. We were down 3-0 early and in any international game, that's difficult to come back from.
"Our senior guys showed they are in great nick and really leading from the front. As a coach, that's all you can ask from them."
The Black Sox will continue their competitive preparation for the world championships with another event - the Dean Schick Tournament at Rosedale Park - this weekend.
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