Emerging stars on show at Youth Championships
8 January 2019
While baseball interest over the holiday break has focused predominantly on Australian Baseball League competition, the spotlight over the next fortnight will be very much on Blacktown Sportspark, where over 300 teenage ball players will be contesting the time-honoured Under 18 and Under 16 Australian Youth Championships.
The ten-day championships have drawn the very best of our emerging young talent from across the country, 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 2019, the Australian Youth Championships will provide valuable insights into the next generation of potential superstars.
AUSTRALIAN YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP LINKS:
BASEBALL AUSTRALIA DAILY REPORTING (including live scoring)
Seeking to defend its Under 18 title from 2018, South Australia will be challenged by inevitably well-prepared and well-drilled squads representing Queensland (which finished second last time), New South Wales, New South Wales Country, Victoria Blue, Victoria White, Western Australia and Australian Capital Territory.
Round-robin games will commence on Friday 11 January, with finals played on Sunday 20 January.
Eight teams have entered for the Under 16 tournament, with 2018 winner New South Wales pitted against squads donning the colours of Victoria (second last time), Queensland, Victoria White, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and New South Wales Country.
Round-robin games in this group will also commence on Friday 11 January, with the tournament culminating in finals on Sunday 20 January.
With Sydney Blue Sox hosting Auckland Tuatara 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 Olympic Games, Premier 12 and under-aged World Cups scheduled over the next several years.
Whether or not opportunities are presented to individuals 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 members and supporters congratulate all players, coaches and officials 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!
UPDATE (20 January 2019):
New South Wales Metro is the Under 16 Youth Champion for 2019 after a stirring 10-3 result over Victoria Blue!
After a lengthy drought at this level, Victoria Blue snared the Under 18 title with a powerful 14-2 win over New South Wales.
Congratulations to the winners! Very well done to all teams and to all participants on making the event an outstanding success.
For all details, follow the Baseball Australia links.
Under 16 Champion 2019: NSW METRO
Image: Baseball Australia
Under 18 Champion 2019: VICTORIA BLUE