Lu­cas Mullings pitch per­fect

South Canterbury Herald - - MOTORING - RACHAEL COMER

Ti­maru’s Lu­cas Mullings made a win­ning start to his in­ter­na­tional soft­ball ca­reer in NSW re­cently.

Mullings and his team­mates in the un­der-14 boys’ ISA New Zealand team took out the New South Wales Soft­ball BOP Ju­nior In­ter­na­tional Chal­lenge Tour­na­ment in Syd­ney.

The 13-year-old re­turned to school on Wednesday with a sense of pride af­ter don­ning the sil­ver fern for the first time as the NZ team won the com­pe­ti­tion on points, af­ter they drew with Ja­pan Vic­tory 2-all in the tour­na­ment fi­nal. ‘‘We only just won,’’ Mulling said. ‘‘We won on points and it was a great game.’’

The tour­na­ment was played March 24-26 at Black­town In­ter­na­tional Sports Park in Syd­ney but the week­long event also in­cluded morn­ing and af­ter­noon skills camps and train­ing.

Mullings was se­lected for the team af­ter rep­re­sent­ing Ao­rangi at the South Is­land Un­der-15 Tour­na­ment in In­ver­cargill.

The NSW tour­na­ment ex­pe­ri­ence was one he would never for­get, he said.

‘‘It was one of the best times of my life,’’ Mullings said.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing about the tour­na­ment was awe­some.’’

Be­fore the tour­na­ment Mullings told Stuff he had been very ner­vous be­fore leav­ing for Aus­tralia. He had ex­pected to face some tough com­pe­ti­tion in the se­ries, and wasn’t dis­ap­pointed.

‘‘Some of the games were re­ally hard and oth­ers not so much.’’

Mullings said he had learnt a lot through­out the in­ten­sive six-day trip.

‘‘The coaches were great and so was the sup­port.’’

He said a high­light was see­ing fam­ily mem­bers in the crowd watch­ing the fi­nal.

‘‘My par­ents, my gran and my auntie came along to the tour­na­ment and that was re­ally cool for them to get to see me play.’’

Lu­cas has been play­ing soft­ball since he was five and got into the sport through his fa­ther.

Mullings said he en­joyed the game as it was a less tra­di­tional sport to play than per­haps cricket or ten­nis.

‘‘Catch­ing is my strength in the game.’’

Lu­cas’ mother said the tour­na­ment had been a great ex­pe­ri­ence for her son.

Mullings team won 7-2 over Metro Green, 3-2 over Ja­pan Phenix, 3-1 over Metro Orange, 12-1 over Coun­try Gold and a 2-all draw with Ja­pan Vic­tory.

The team is: Bren­dan Kop­uLow­er­son (Auck­land), Cas­sidy Brown (Westen Bay of Plenty), TeRua Withers (Coun­ties), Daniel War­man (North Harbour), Eli­jah Heta (North Harbour), Ja­cob Quin­tal (Waikato), Flint Gi­boney (Auck­land), Josh For­rester (Otago), Con­nor Stan­ley (Can­ter­bury), Brody Hey­don (South­land), Arana Kelly (Otago), Lu­cas Mullings (South Can­ter­bury), Fletcher Due (Can­ter­bury), Hamish Long (Hawke’s Bay), Nikau Peipi (Marl­bor­ough).

PHOTO: JOHN BIS­SET/STUFF

Ti­maru soft­baller Lu­cas Mullings was part of the NZ team which won the New South Wales Soft­ball BOP Ju­nior In­ter­na­tional Chal­lenge Tour­na­ment in Syd­ney.

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