Ipswich state and national softball representative Josh Harding.
Ipswich state and national softball representative Josh Harding.

Selection shock: Rollercoaster week leaves Josh on outer

RISING Ipswich talent Josh Harding was understandably disappointed when told he'd missed selection in the Australian Steelers under 19 team.

After making the 30-player squad trimmed to 17 this week, he was clearly hurting.

"I'm not going to lie. I was a bit shocked,'' the former St Edmund's College student after playing a pivotal role in Queensland's recent back- to-back title success at the Australian championships.

"I got cut from the final squad. I'm just a reserve.

"But I'm confident that if any pitchers pull out, I will probably be the first one to go.''

The Deebing Heights teenager was hoping to secure a spot in the final team for the Under 19 World Series in Canada from July 7-15.

After a powerhouse performance at the nationals in NSW, he was optimistic of being included in the pitching staff.

Harding, who turns 19 in April, pitched in three consecutive Queensland wins on the second last day - including the semi-final - before backing up in his state team's thrilling 6-5 grand final win.

"To step up and play against the bigger teams certainly boost my confidence - seeing what I've got,'' he said after the nationals.

However, Ipswich-bred Harding was told he would not be needed unless another under 19 national player withdrew.

"I'll just hang in there and keep my fingers crossed that someone pulls out and I get my way in,'' he said.

"We're still a part of the team so we'll still do all our training and stuff.

"I'm still pretty respectful being there as one of the best 30 athletes in my sport in the country.''

Harding will continue his club commitments in Ipswich before looking at playing the off-season in Logan, as he did last year.

Harding is also keen to represent the Queensland under-23 side at the nationals in July, unless he receives a lifeline from Softball Australia to join the Steelers' touring party.



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