The Auckland women’s softball team is out to win their fourth consecutive National Fastpitch Championship. However, a title is not only on the minds of the players, who also want to make an individual mark with the selectors, who pick a National side next month for the World Series.
The Auckland Women’s team has a huge mission in front of them.
“We are the defending champions of the last three season and we're going after our fourth title,” says Head Coach for the women’s side, Vanita Hokai. “It's always difficult to defend any title really, and you know there's a lot more pressure on us, although I think we have a strong hitting line-up this year, and one of the better one's we've had.”
Nita Hickey is one of the youngest in the team and says there’s a huge pressure on the side “It's a huge thing for us, being one of the younger ones you kind of want to do well for the ones that have won this before you and win it for the ones after you, but yeah it's a challenge.”
But winning a fourth title is only one of two aims for the side.
“The Olympic qualifying is at the World Series this year in Japan, the White Sox team is going and we have a few of those players in the Auckland team, so there's a lot on the line for the players, to make sure, I understood the team is going to be named very shortly, probably only a squad of 21, only 17 can go to the World Series.”
Many of these players want a spot in the New Zealand squad. One is Katrina Nukunuku, wife of Black Sox player Nathan Nukunuku, who is well known for representing Aotearoa.
“For me, I’m just trying to take some pressure off myself and make sure we're going through everything, if I do all the little things right, I know it will add to the bigger picture. But the selectors are here this week, and it is a big week for the girls, squad members and non-squad members, as we move closer to the naming of the 21 team.
I guess the biggest part of it is that I just try to simplify everything, if you try too hard you don't do too well, for me it's just enjoying this weekend with the girls and whatever happens, happens," Nukunuku says.
The finals of this competition will be held this Sunday and the selectors will announce their World Series team next month after the Club Nationals held in Christchurch.