MOUNT Isa’s Rhys Shelley was the catcher for Qld, which won the Australian Under 17 Men’s Softball Championships.
And if a dream team was compiled among the state teams competing; Shelly would be on it. He was named as catcher among the championship’s ‘All Tournament Team’.
Also playing a large part in helping Queensland claim the Arthur Allsopp Shield was designated player William Todd, who now lives in Caboolture but has close family ties remaining in the Isa.
The championship was held in Hawker, ACT, from January 2 to 7. Qld defeated NSW in the grand final match 5-0.
Todd and Shelley both contributed to the score. Shelley’s two runs batted in during the first inning were the last for the game.
NSW had beaten Qld twice in the earlier rounds, the only team that managed to do so, but in the semi-final Shelley’s team was able to pull together and win 12-4.
Qld coach David Metekingi said that Shelley was “vital to our success” as catcher.
“He is one of our most experienced players on our team.”
The coach said Shelley was proficient as a catcher because of; “his confidence, his attitude towards his training, and his preparation.”
Metekingi said the 14 weeks training was “full on”. There had also been a preparation camp where they created core values for the team.
The team stuck to these values during the championship and Metekingi says that was the “secret to our success”.
He believed the players had the ability to eventually represent Australia and even win the world series.
Shelley said that despite losing to NSW earlier he was not intimidated playing against them in the finals. “I had faith in my pitcher and he would throw where I wanted it.” He said it was a team effort. “We all chipped in, that’s for sure.”
The secret to being a good catcher was “not rushing into it. You’ve got to think about the big picture and the little picture at the same time.”
He returned to Mount Isa with his family on Wednesday afternoon. Shelley would rest for several weeks before taking some swings at the ball park. “nothing serious”.