Get­tins head­ing to sixth worlds

Hawke's Bay Today - - SPORT - Soft­ball Shane Hurn­dell

Hawke’s Bay soft­ball catcher Me­lanie Get­tins will play at her sixth world cham­pi­onship next month.

Get­tins, 27, is one of three Hawke’s Bay play­ers in the White Sox team which ar­rived in Canada yes­ter­day to play in the eight-day Canada Cup tour­na­ment from to­day. This will be their final build-up tour­na­ment for the Au­gust 2-12 world cham­pi­onship in Chiba, Ja­pan.

The other Bay play­ers are her sis­ter, Court­ney Get­tins, and fel­low pitcher Rita Hokianga.

Get­tins played in the 2007 ju­nior world cham­pi­onship in the Nether­lands and, since step­ping up to the White Sox in 2010, has played in four se­nior world cham­pi­onships: Venezuela in 2010, Canada in 2012, the Nether­lands in 2014 and Canada in 2016.

“Fi­nally made it to Canada. Still doesn’t feel real that it’s re­ally quite be­gin­ning all over again. Sin­cere thank you for ev­ery­one that has helped me get here. These trips never get old and I am eter­nally grate­ful for ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent New Zealand.

So ex­cited to start yet an­other cam­paign for worlds,” Get­tins told sup­port­ers via Face­book yes­ter­day.

Her fa­ther, Kevin Get­tins, is the White Sox’ head coach. He said he was happy with where the team was at and they had pre­pared well reach­ing good fit­ness lev­els along the way.

“Al­though the team is young, many have ju­nior and se­nior world cham­pi­onship ex­pe­ri­ence that we will ben­e­fit from,” coach Get­tins said.

“An ag­gres­sive ap­proach will al­low us to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties and build pres­sure on teams of­fen­sively and de­fen­sively. The team is not with­out its chal­lenges though.

“For the most part the play­ers are spread around the world play­ing in var­i­ous leagues, hence a longer than nor­mal build up in Canada,” he said.

“De­fence will play a ma­jor role in how far we progress in the world cham­pi­onship, min­imis­ing er­rors and walks will be crit­i­cal to our suc­cess.

“We are look­ing to take learn­ings from the last world cham­pi­onships and fo­cus on com­pet­ing at the higher level, play­ing with more in­ten­sity for longer pe­ri­ods and not let our guard down,” Get­tins added.

The Ja­pan world cham­pi­onships will also be an op­por­tu­nity to qual­ify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The Emerg­ing Sox un­der-17 girls and Ju­nior White Sox girls will also be in Canada com­pet­ing in the Fu­tures un­der-19 tour­na­ment.

“Three na­tional teams at the Canada Cup is un­prece­dented, a move de­signed to en­hance the qual­ity of our women’s na­tional team pro­gramme,” Soft­ball NZ CEO Tony Giles said.

“It re­ally is an ex­cit­ing time for soft­ball, with the Ju­nior Black Sox cur­rently com­pet­ing at their world cham­pi­onship, our Emerg­ing Sox Boys team in Aus­tralia at the In­ter­na­tional Friend­ship Games and Black Sox head­ing to Prague next month for the In­tercon­ti­nen­tal Cup,” Giles said.

Hawke’s Bay’s mul­ti­ple world cham­pion, Thomas Makea jnr, is head coach of the Ju­nior Black Sox, who have recorded four wins and a loss in Canada to date.

They start the busi­ness end of their tour­na­ment against Ja­pan to­day.

Me­lanie Get­tins

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