Softball champ in in­ter­na­tional

Bush Telegraph - - NEWS - By DAVE MUR­DOCH

By now Jachan Roberts is back at school fac­ing Level One NCEA ex­ter­nal ex­ams, but dur­ing the hol­i­days he ex­pe­ri­enced play­ing softball in Aus­tralia.

From the pre­sen­ta­tion of his New Zealand Un­der 15 De­vel­op­ing Sox blazer and his num­ber 19 which will stay with him through­out his New Zealand ca­reer, to play­ing in the Un­der 17 Queens­land State Cham­pi­onships fi­nal, it was one huge ex­pe­ri­ence and he wants more.

Jachan plays for Huia Softball Club in Palmer­ston North, mak­ing its top Chief’s team, and has been se­lected for Manawatu¯ since he was 11, at­tend­ing Palmer­ston North Boys High and mak­ing the NZ De­vel­op­ing Sox Softball team.

His rep­re­sen­ta­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for New Zealand did not start too well with an asthma at­tack which put him in Mackay hospi­tal for four hours un­til he sta­bilised in the heat and hu­mid­ity of the Gold Coast.

From there he was able to play in the warm-up games against Mackay Un­der 17 and Mackay Se­nior men un­der lights the next evening.

New Zealand won com­fort­ably, boost­ing the team’s con­fi­dence for the com­pe­ti­tion which started the next day on Septem­ber 22.

Play­ing three games a day New Zealand dealt com­fort­ably with all its op­po­nents ex­cept Red­lands, the tour­na­ment win­ners for the last two years. In a match which went to over­time New Zealand lost 5-6 but went on un­beaten in its re­main­ing round matches, com­ing up against Toowoomba in the semi-fi­nal.

Toowoomba had the NZ Un­der 17 pitcher play­ing for it but de­spite be­ing fast, the team won 9-4, re­peat­ing its ear­lier win over the team 11-2.

New Zealand met Red­lands again in the fi­nal. Early mis­takes cost the team and de­spite ral­ly­ing it lost, to place sec­ond over­all.

For Jachan it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence field­ing in the left and right out­fields where his strong arm and knowl­edge of the plays brought some good runouts. At bat he was a des­ig­nated bat­ter, brought in out of po­si­tion when bases were loaded.

Against Toowoomba he hit a home run bring­ing home three run­ners but against Red­lands with the first game close he was walked by the pitcher, de­priv­ing him of that op­por­tu­nity.

Back home he has al­ready played for Huia Re­serves in the first game of the sea­son but was frus­trated by a de­fault from the Chiefs’ op­po­nents.

His aim is to make the NZ Un­der 17 Emerg­ing Sox by do­ing well in the De­cem­ber Re­gional Cham­pi­onships, but in the mean­time he has a camp run by the Black Sox later this month.

Jachan Roberts home in Woodville wears the NZ Un­der 15 De­vel­op­ing Sox Trav­el­ling Uni­form.

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