Australian Youth Championships to showcase emerging talent
With each New Year comes a raft of fresh challenges and unique opportunities in our sport – none more so than for the 300 teenage ball players who will be contesting the Under 18 and Under 16 Australian Youth Championships starting at Blacktown Sportspark on 5 January.
The ten-day championships have drawn the very best of our emerging young talent from across the land, all intent on representing their state or territory with distinction whilst hopefully commanding attention from the legion of professional scouts, college interests and national team selectors who will be in attendance.
The first of several elite baseball events to be held during 2018, the Australian Youth Championships will provide valuable insights into the next generation of potential superstars.
AUSTRALIAN YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP LINKS:
Seeking to defend its Under 18 title from 2017, Western Australia will be challenged by inevitably well-prepared and well-drilled squads representing Queensland, New South Wales, New South Wales Country, South Australia, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory. Round-robin games will commence on Friday 5 January – followed by Pool Play and then finals on Sunday 14 January.
Eight teams have entered for the Under 16 tournament, with 2017 winner Victoria Blue pitted against squads donning the colours of Queensland, Victoria White, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, New South Wales and New South Wales Country. Round-robin games in this group will also commence on Friday 5 January, with the tournament culminating in finals on Sunday 14 January.
With Sydney Blue Sox hosting Brisbane Bandits during the first three days of the Youth Championships, our emerging stars will have the opportunity to observe and to connect with top-line Australian Baseball League players – many of whom will have represented their state at the youth series in earlier years. Several ABL development players have been released by their clubs to participate at the Youth Championships – helping ensure that we will be treated to another high quality baseball event.
As always, it will be a hectic and rigorous ten days of competition that is the culmination of months of preparation and hard work – by players, parents, coaches, officials and the army of selfless volunteers committed to delivering another wonderful showcase of baseball at Blacktown Sportspark. With the support of parents and the hard work of so many behind the scenes, participants can be assured of having a great time, while making new friends and generating memories that will last a lifetime.
The Under 16 and Under 18 Australian Youth Championships remain an integral element in the Baseball Australia pathways programme and they provide an ideal opportunity for players to challenge themselves at a higher level. While the players will certainly be tested - and will get some indication of where they are at compared with their counterparts from across the country – they are bound to derive great benefit from representing their states, playing with their mates and immersing themselves in ten days of serious competition, under tutelage of the best available managers and coaches.
While the Australian Youth Championships will enhance a player’s prospects of being exposed to professional scouts or to college interests, the tournament will be closely followed by national team selectors with an eye to the longer term – potentially including the 2020 Olympics, Premier 12 and under-aged World Cups scheduled over the next several years.
However, whether or not opportunities are presented to individual as an outcome of participation at the Australian Youth Championships, players can be assured that they will enjoy a memorable time engaged in a team sport that they love, at a high level – which is surely reward in itself.
Australian Baseball Alumni Board and members congratulate all players and coaches on their selection for this prestigious event. We extend our very best wishes to all involved in the tournament for a fantastic ten days of baseball!
Image: Baseball Australia