New focus for Ipswich’s national duo after tours lost
IT can be a massive disappointment for excited teenagers when sporting tours to the United States and Japan are called off.
However, for rising Ipswich softballers Charlotte Gaddes and Lianna Doyle, losing those opportunities may prove a blessing in the longer term.
Gaddes and Doyle were early in the year chosen in the Australian under-14 Diamonds squad for a 10-day US trip scheduled for June.
That tour was cancelled by Softball Australia due to COVID-19.
One of the venues was Minneapolis, where riots have been taking place, so the teenagers avoided any issues by remaining in Ipswich.
Charlotte's dad and softball enthusiast Wayne said the girls were understandably disappointed when the US trip was called off. Charlotte was also preparing for a separate Queensland Development squad visit to Japan in August.
However, the long-time Ipswich Tigers official was delighted the girls retained their places in the latest Australian Diamonds under-15 squad.
Softball Australia is hoping to conduct a national camp and Friendship Series in NSW in July.
"Clearly, both Queensland and Australia have indicated that these kids are on their radar for the future,'' Wayne said.
"And I don't think we've seen the best of them by a long shot.
"Lianna and Charlotte have got way more to show us . . . the best is certainly to come from both of them.''
West Moreton Anglican College student Lianna is a utility player.
St Peter Claver College student Charlotte is primarily a pitcher who plays outfield in the older age divisions.
The Ipswich duo played together for the Queensland Flames at the national championships in Perth in January.
They also shared in Met West's first state championship victory at Redlands in 2017.
Despite this year's international events being shut down, the promising duo have been able to play and train regularly since October.
Lianna plays for Tigers in the Ipswich under-16 competition.
Charlotte, who turns 15 next year, was recently selected in the Queensland under-16 squad.
She has been lining up for Brisbane club Panthers in three teams, having started her softball career with the Tigers club in Ipswich.
Her regular commitments are now with the Panthers under-16, under-18 and A3 (senior) sides.
The Panthers under-16 and under-18 teams are top of their respective tables.
Charlotte recently pitched for Brisbane in her side's grand final win over Redlands at the state under-16 titles at the Sunshine Coast.
She came on as a reliever in the third innings in a tough battle.
"One of Charlotte's real strengths is she doesn't let things like affect her,'' Wayne said.
Charlotte also received a late call-up to help Brisbane White at the under-18 state championships in Toowoomba.
Wayne hoped a 2021 Friendship Series with teams from Australia and New Zealand could be staged in NSW to help the girls continue their softball development.
"You're probably starting to hit people's radar at the ages of 14 and 15 for the longer term,'' he said.
As for this year's lost opportunities, Wayne said his daughter took it in her stride.
"From Charlotte's perspective, I think all of us in the world have had to accept some things this year that aren't really great but it is just the way it is,'' he said.