Ipswich team to benefit from duo's national glory
HIGH-achieving representative duo Josh Harding and Jourdyn Hollands will add a winning feeling to the Ipswich softball team when they join forces at the state titles.
Harding and Hollands will reunite for the Ipswich side at the Queensland championships at Redlands later in the year.
Both softballers have just shared in major tournament successes at the same venue.
Harding, 18, was part of the Australian Gold combination that were crowned winners at the International Friendship series.
The Australian Steelers prospect gained more top-level experience pitching and in a variety of roles including fielding at first base.
"It was awesome,'' the former St Edmund's College student said. "It's one of the best tournaments I've played so far so I was happy with that.''
Hollands, 21, shared in the national title success of the Queensland under-23 team, also at a recent tournament at Redlands.
It was the sixth national championship for the former St Peter Claver student.
"Being my second national title, I was pretty happy about that,'' he said.
"They are pretty hard to win.
"This one we had a lot more teams than the first one, which was better.''
Although the International Friendship Series final was washed out, Harding said he gained confidence from being in a consistent team.
The Aussie Gold side only had two losses - to Queensland 4-3 and to New Zealand 3-0.
"They were pretty strong. Our team just got caught a bit and relaxed,'' he said.
Harding was happy with his pitching effort in Australia Gold's convincing victories over New Zealand and the Aussie Green team.
The Aussie Gold team totalled 14 points from their seven wins and two losses, scoring 79 runs and conceding 21.
Second placed Aussie Green amassed 13 points from six wins, two losses and a draw, having hit 44 runs and given up 24.
The Deebing Heights sportsman said he received positive feedback about his performance and leadership during the tournament.
He'll return to club commitments at Logan and continue training with Ipswich to prepare for the state titles and onto the national championships in January. That is where the Australian Steelers under-19 side will be chosen for next year's world series in Canada.
Redbank Plains-based Hollands will also focus on his Ipswich commitments in coming weeks with the state titles in September.
He said the recent Australian under-23 championships were beneficial, with Queensland only losing to Western Australia and the New Zealand Red Sox under-23 side.
The Queenslanders made amends in the final, beating Western Australia 5-3.
The shortstop was happy with his improved batting, averaging .500 during the round robin games.
"I hit pretty well,'' he said.
"I was a bit sketchy at the start but towards the end I came through.''
Among his best performances was a perfect three from three, including a home run, against NSW.