Geraldton softballers to represent WA at National Championships

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Dylan Percy (coach), Haylee Coker, Liam Meharry, Jake Chapman, Tyler Corlett, Jy Thurstun, Eli Etherton and Jack Etherton have all qualified for State softball squads.
Camera IconDylan Percy (coach), Haylee Coker, Liam Meharry, Jake Chapman, Tyler Corlett, Jy Thurstun, Eli Etherton and Jack Etherton have all qualified for State softball squads. Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Seven softball players from Geraldton will represent WA at this year’s National Championships after being picked in their respective State squads.

Jake Chapman (Rams), Liam Meharry (Suiside), Tyler Corlett (Suiside) and Jy Thurstun (Suiside) will travel to Perth in April to compete in the U18s Nationals, while Jack Etherton (Batavia Blaze) is planning to head to Canberra to play in the U14 Nationals.

Rams’ Haylee Coker and Batavia Blaze’s Eli Etherton have been selected for the U16s Girls’ and Boys’ Nationals, which will be held in Victoria towards the end of April.

The group of young guns have had to travel thousands of kilometres to and from Perth to try out for their State squads, but they say it has all been worth it.

Coker said she couldn’t believe she was picked for the U16s Girls after playing softball for only four years.

“When I first found out, it didn’t really sink in for a week,” she said.

“I would go down to Perth every Sunday morning, train for two hours and go back.

“It takes a lot of energy, but you’ve got to keep working.”

Thurston, who is representing WA for a second time, told his fellow teammates to “take a risk” every opportunity they get.

“It’s pretty special to be able to represent your State, especially as a few country kids,” he said.

Thurston said he aimed to play for Australia one day.

Rams White's Jake Chapman takes a swing.
Camera IconRams White's Jake Chapman takes a swing. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography/Supplied

Dylan Percy, who is a softball coach and mentor to the Geraldton State players, said there was plenty of talent coming through the local ranks.

“Within the last few years the talent pool in Geraldton has grown exponentially,” he said.

“We’ve seen a lot more people sign on.”

NSW and Queensland are the teams to beat, according to Percy, with WA last winning an U18 Boys title in 2009.

Percy said Nationals had been cancelled several times because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but was hopeful the schedule wouldn’t change again.

“We haven’t heard anything to say it isn’t going ahead,” he said.

“We’re hoping for the best.”

Batavia Blaze president Helen Etherton said she was incredibly proud of her players for making it to Nationals.

“It has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” she said.

“A lot of kilometres, but it’s all worth it. It gives our younger kids something to aspire to.”

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