New Zealand U-18 Women's National Softball Team to tune up for World Cup group stage at senior national championship

New Zealand U-18 Women's National Softball Team to tune up for World Cup group stage at senior national championship
12/01/2024
New Zealand will participate in the WBSC U-18 Women's Softball World Cup Group Stage, scheduled for July and August in Brazil, China and USA.

The New Zealand U-18 Women's National Softball Team, known as the Junior White Sox, will field an invitational team at the National Fastpitch Championships (NFC) in February 2024. The tournament will serve as a preparation for the WBSC U-18 Women's Softball World Cup Group Stage, scheduled for the summer 2024 in Brazil, China and USA. 

"Very excited for this team to play at NFC. This gives this group of young players the chance to showcase their softball capabilities against our strongest and most experienced teams and players," said Kiri Shaw, head coach of the National Team. "We also have a number of age grade players who have made their provincial teams, so it's another group of players we get to see." 

The team is as follows:

  • Siobhan Bolger 
  • Elizabeth Caudwell 
  • Abigail Church 
  • Shyla de Lautour 
  • Yvanni Gibson 
  • Tiana Graham 
  • Angela Harrison 
  • Jaimee Hoani 
  • Rihanna Hill 
  • Matangihau Nuku 
  • Maddison Parsons 
  • Maggie Shields 
  • Meagan Stokes 
  • Waimarie Tawera 
  • Maiarangi Waipara 

World No. 32 New Zealand qualified for the WBSC U-18 Women's Softball World Cup group stage after sweeping the Oceania Qualifier last November in American Samoa. No. 10 Australia earned the second spot for Oceania.

Even if the World Cup is the final goal, Shaw stated that there's still a long way to the global tournament. "Right now we focus on the present. The second half of the NZ domestic and rep season, especially, will be important for all players of age to have performances that 'stick their hand up'. Attitude, consistency and the ability to perform under pressure is what we are looking at."

The 2024 national tournament season started in January with the U-19 women's and men's national championships, hosted from 4-7 January in Manawatu and Hutt Valley respectively. The U-17 boys and girls events will be played from 11-14 January, with the Open Club Championships later in the southern hemisphere summer.