Tocumwal Public School Girl’s Softball team was a clear-cut winner for the Berrigan Shire Council’s Sports Team of the Year at the Australia Day award ceremony on Sunday.
The side had quite a successful 2019, reaching the state quarter final in the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association knockout competition.
It was a historic year with Tocumwal achieving what no other school in the Berrigan Shire has done before, in a sport that is not played locally.
Making it even more impressive is that the team won against schools that drew on much larger student populations.
As in any knockout competition, there are no second chances. The team had to win to continue on in the competition, and win they did, reaching the final seven teams in the state.
The girls learnt the rules and skills of the game in their own time at school sacrificing three to four lunch breaks a week for eight months.
On the way to the quarter finals, Tocumwal defeated Narrandera Public School (22-6) and then Lavington Public School (34-2) to reach the Riverina final.
They went on to play the highly competitive Lake Albert Public School, which included girls who play softball as a weekend sport.
Despite this advantage, Tocumwal’s girls played as a team and came away with a nail biting win (17-16) to become the Riverina champions.
The team’s next challenge came with an 11 hour trip to take on the winners of the South Coast region of NSW, Pambula Public School.
In what was an outstanding team effort with accurate, tight pitching and great fielding and batting, TPS came out victors to progress to the state quarter final.
The quarter final was played at home in front of a large and excited audience.
The highly experienced and skilled Panania Public School was the best team from all of Sydney South and South West regions and defeated Tocumwal 12-2, ending their winning streak.
‘‘The team would not have had the success they had without the commitment and dedication of their softball coach and teacher Beth Hatty, who gave up her time to teach and guide the girls the skills of the game,’’ the award citation read.
‘‘The girls were not only a highly competitive softball side but also a group of girls who had a lot of fun and displayed great sportsmanship towards other.’’