CQ softball teams prepare for Saturday's grand finals
SOFTBALL: This Saturday, four of the competition's best teams will step up to bat for the honours of grand final champions of 2018.
In the men's, Frenchville Bushrangers and Bluebirds will go up against each other and in the women's, Magpies and Bluebirds will battle it out for the title.
Magpies women's A1 coach, Joe Lawton, is "pretty confident” his girls will take out the grand final win.
"They've had a pretty good season and didn't lose too many games,” Lawton said.
"They're going good.
"The Bluebirds will be tough and they're a good side, but I think my girls will go real good on the weekend.
"Their batting and their fielding is pretty good.”
Tia Water, Kirsty Dwyer, Hannah Bunt, Del Abbott and Anastasia Toby will be ones to watch, with Bunt in particular expected to shine on the pitch.
"We also have Tia Water who got two or three home runs last weekend,” Lawton said.
"She's a Queensland player and it's a big advantage having her.”
Lawton said he's been focusing on batting and fielding at training leading up to the season conclusion and believes his team will gives Bluebirds a "run for their money”.
"It will be an entertaining game,” he said.
"Good luck to the girls for their last game.”
Bluebirds women's A1 coach Danny O'Keefe said the game will be fast paced, with "very high intensity with quick plays”.
"If they play the same as last weekend, they've got a pretty good shot of taking out the win,” O'Keefe said.
"We've been a pretty defensive-orientated team this year but at the end of the year we've been doing more batting.
"Katii Batty has been a stand-out with her batting and Rebecca Watson with her pitching game.
"This year we've got a lot of experienced players and a lot of juniors stepping up through the season and being nurtured by the more experienced players who are showing them what they know.”
This mentoring is something O'Keefe credits to a great season.
"They're very enthusiastic and always cheering each other on,” he said.
Bluebirds men's coach, Shane Wallach, said the outcome of Saturday's grand final will be like a "flip of a coin” and that both men's teams are equally matched in skill.
"I don't think there's been too many games where the teams have been more than a few runs apart all season... it will be pretty even,” Wallach said.
"It's always a tough competition in Rockhampton... the standard across the board has been so high this year.
"I'm confident we could win this weekend but there are a few small injury worries.
"However, we've got the depth in the club and in the B-grade side.”
Wallach said the team will endeavour to "shine with the bat” and will hopefully continuing their progress this year of putting more bats to balls.
"This weekend we're looking for us to pull through in the batting line-up,” he said.
"When we're on top, we're unstoppable.
"The only time we're beaten is when we get outplayed which isn't that often but it does happen.”
A huge component behind the team's success on the pitch lies within its "family orientation” and strong camaraderie, says Wallach.
"I think we've bonded more this year than any other year,” he said.
"I've seen guys pull together, and when some will be down they'll focus on those and gear them back up.
"I try to instil in guys that camaraderie, which is one of the things I enjoy most.
"Whether we win or lose this weekend, I'm absolutely proud to be part of the coaching team and I can't say enough about those guys. I love them all.”
Wallach also thanked the club and the younger teams for their support throughout the season.
Frenchville men's coach, Louie Cox, said his team is confident heading into this weekend's grand final, and this year his team has shown impressive skill across batting, pitching and catching.
"We're focusing on getting comfortable in our positions and we'll have a bit of a bat and try and get our swings right,” he said.
"The win will be up to whoever turns up on the day.”
Despite two players sitting out, a handful of B-grade players will be stepping up.
"We've had to reshuffle our players and when we ended up getting the minor premiers it was a big boost for us,” Cox said.
"We'll make sure everyone is all good for the weekend and we should be right.
"Our pitcher Daniel Cox has been playing with injuries all year, but he toughs it out and hopefully he can go the full distance on the weekend.”
Cox named Andrew Platen as one to keep an eye on in the grand final, and said he expects Platen to swing a few good hits.