Australia's women's baseball team will be touting their experience as they head to Edmonton, Canada for the fifth IBAF Women's Baseball World Cup at the helm is our own 'Core Four'.
With four players on Australia’s roster having played in all four previous World Cup’s, Team Australia looks to capitalise on their experience and turn green to gold.
Katie Gaynor, Shae Lillywhite, Sam Hamilton and Amy McCann comprise Team Australia’s “Core Four” of veteran leadership. Having begun their journey competing in the inaugural tournament ten years ago, also held in Canada, they’re hoping that the fifth time’s the charm at this year’s World Cup.
Katie “Rana” Gaynor, best known for her Most RBI award in the 2010 World Cup, will be slotted into the 1B/DH position this year. Shae “Shaeka” Lillywhite will be playing infield, batting from the right side.
While Sam “Hammer” Hamilton is set to play OF/1B, also batting righty. Last, but certainly not least is Amy “A-Mac” McCann, who was named to the All World Team at the 2004 World Series and 2006 World Cup, and named the 2006 ABF Female Player of the Year, is pencilled in to play outfield for Team Australia.
Head Coach John Gaynor said the team is looking fitter, stronger and faster than they have been at this stage of preparations in previous years.
Senior player Amy McCann said the improvements seen across the team and the players so far have been amazing.
“I think when players get a taste of World Cup life, in particular the taste of a silver medal, they want to make sure they are there the next time, to make sure they taste gold,” said McCann.
Fellow senior player, Sam Hamilton, said the drive to achieve gold is the main motivator behind the hard work and sacrifices that have been made to compete in an unprecedented fifth World Cup.
“If we are good enough to win a silver medal, there is no reason why we can’t be the world’s best. When you think of it that way, the chance to have gold around your neck, all the hard work and sacrifice doesn’t seem so bad,” Hamilton said.
McCann reiterated Hamilton’s feelings, but added that the balance of work and baseball isn’t always easy.
“For me, the balance for work has been hard. But all the pain, sacrifice, lack of money, etc. is all worth it the moment you pull on the green and gold jersey, that’s for sure,” McCann said.
That style of thinking is something Team Australia hopes to use as motivation as they arguably bring their best team to the World Cup tournament.
More importantly, the “Core Four” look to this tournament as a way to pass on their baseball knowledge, with the thoughts of playing in a sixth World Cup up in the air.
“I want to make sure that I teach the players, the next lot of veterans, what it means to play for Australia,” said Hamilton.
“To make sure when I am gone, that they teach the next group of players just what a privilege and honour it is to represent your country.”
That being said, neither Hamilton nor McCann have ruled out competing in a record sixth World Cup.
“This is the fittest I have ever been heading into a World Cup, so as long as I can stay healthy and injury-free, I certainly have 2014 marked on the calendar,” said Hamilton.
“As long as I am still enjoying it, and I can fit it in with work, hell yeah! If we win gold though, who knows! Could there be a better way to leave?” McCann said.
The 2012 IBAF Women’s Baseball World Cup will be held from August 10 to 19 in Edmonton, Canada, where Team Australia will compete against Canada, Japan, USA, Netherlands, Venezuela, Cuba and Chinese Taipei.
|Official Team Australia Website|