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AFL ladies rejuvenate softball

Saturday, 19th October, 2013

Leonie Channing will be hoping to hit plenty of home runs when the re-formed Broken Hill softball competition gets underway on Wednesday night. PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt Leonie Channing will be hoping to hit plenty of home runs when the re-formed Broken Hill softball competition gets underway on Wednesday night. PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt

By By Ethan James

“The season is split up into two parts and last year we made it through to Christmas but in the second half we were kind of the only team showing up to games so we had to call it off,” Tigers player Leonie Channing said.

Since then, the AFL ladies teams have stepped up to the plate.

“They came to us actually ... and once word spread around they all started getting behind us,” Ms Channing said.

“We thought that we were never going to get it going again.”

Ms Channing, who has played softball for 46 years, said South Kangaroos’ Penny Dennis was the instigator behind getting the AFL clubs involved.

“Some of the girls used to play softball, so they should know what they’re doing,” Ms Channing said.

Tigers first base Cheryl Meuret expects the re-formed competition to be very close.

The Tigers are still buzzing following an undefeated gold medal performance at the Australian Masters in Geelong, while the rehabilitated Rebels outfit will also beef up the playing ranks.

However, she expressed disappointment that the Penguins side was forced to disband.

“Faye and Jenny have fought hard to keep the club going but with a lot of their players joining the footy sides they had to withdraw the club,” Ms Meuret said.

While top grade may still be alive and kicking, Ms Channing remembers a time when senior and junior softball was all the rage in town.

“There’s no longer a presence in schools but it used to be huge,” she said.

“Back when we played, all our parents were involved in coaching but now it’s a bit harder for parents to help out which may be part of the trouble.”

In another move to reinvigorate softball, the competition has been moved from Friday to Wednesday nights.

But for Leonie and Cheryl, they’re just happy to be able to play softball.

“We’ll just keep on keeping on,” Ms Channing said.

The 2013-14 season begins on the October 23 at Picton Oval at 7.30pm.

The Tigers meet North and South play Central, while the Rebels have the bye.

Gates open at 6.45pm and admission is $2.

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