Sport academy's 'pitch perfect' softballer shines at national championships
Written on the 31 January 2019 by South West Voice
A pitcher's philosophy is simple, keep the ball away from the bat. It is the art of instilling fear into anyone on the batting home plate. And this is definitely the philosophy of Ambarvale's Blake Hunter.
A third year South West Sydney Academy of Sport (SWSAS) scholarship holder, Blake Hunter has had his consistent performance and solid work ethic rewarded, by taking out the prestigious Arthur Allsopp Shield at this year's U17 National Championships.
The award is presented to the pitcher of the tournament and to receive it is a remarkable personal achievement. According to SWSAS, it is also something everyone involved in Blake Hunter's development is extremely proud of.
Hunter, who was representing NSW on the national stage for the second time, expressed mixed emotions about the award. That was because his team, which went through the round games undefeated, lost the grand final in a close game by just one run.
"It felt good to be pitching well throughout the week,'' he said of his own performance.
"I'm always striving to do better so I felt good about this performance.''
Hunter was called into the grand-final at the bottom of the 6th innings and admitted he was quite nervous but after the first "out'' he was able to settle down."My NSW team mates and support staff were incredible,'' he said.
"A tournament like this is a real rollercoaster ride and the encouragement I received was a massive help. "When my name was called out at the presentation, I was surprised but very happy to have won it,'' he said.
His parents, who travelled to Adelaide to watch the tournament, said Blake sets the bar very high. "Leading into this tournament he set himself a heavy training program, and to see his dedication acknowledged was really nice and we are very proud of him.''
Nine SWSAS softballers represented on the national stage. Blake Hunter, Matthew Eder, Zachary Roberts, Hayden Dabelstein and Connor Cameron represented the boys' division, gaining experience that they will bring back to the SWSAS program when training resumes early February. But the boys did not have it all their own way.
SWSAS Softballers Madi Baker, Natalie Armstrong, Amber Gunn and Mia Gilmore were crowned national champions as part of the strong NSW team. And Madi Baker had her outstanding performances acknowledged, receiving awards as both the best batter of the championship and the best player in the grand-final.
The SWSAS program is sponsored by Elderton Homes and designed to prepare local softballers for representative pathway progression and in particular, NSW U17 selection.
For information on academy athlete development programs, contact executive director Gerry Knights on 4627 7622, 0407 415 847, e): firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the academy's website.
Skill, technique and power: SWSAS softballer Blake Hunter has it all wearing his U17 National Softball Championship Best Pitcher medal. The opposition batters receive the yellow ball at speeds exceeding 120 km/h.
Author: South West Voice