Two more GB teams publish 2020 selections

Tue 5 May 2020

Although neither team will be in tournament action this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, coaches from the GB Women and GB Under-15 Women’s Fastpitch Teams have published the squads they selected for 2020 in order to honour the players chosen.

The GB Women’s Team had planned to compete in a European Women’s Championship this year in northeast Italy, originally scheduled for early June and then moved to late September as a qualifier for the 2021 World Baseball Softball Confederation Women’s World Cup.  But at the beginning of May, when the WBSC announced the postponement of the Women’s World Cup to 2023, the European Softball Federation quickly followed by moving the European Championship to 2021, with a date and venue yet to be announced.

With no official ESF or WBSC tournament in 2020, the GB Under-15 Women had been planning a 14-day tour with stops in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada to participate in the Canada Cup Showcase Select International Softball Tournament from 3-5 July, followed by a few days of training and scrimmages against local teams in British Columbia.  The team would then have travelled to Lacey, Washington, just outside Seattle in the United States, to scrimmage and participate in the USSSA July Celebration Tournament from 10-12 July.

Sadly, neither of these tours will be taking place this year as the world fights to overcome the virus to a point where normal activities, including international sport, can resume.

Selection process

For the 2020 season, the GB Women's Fastpitch Programme held a trial in Uxbridge, near London, on 1 March, open to all athletes wishing to try out for the Senior, Under-22, Under-18 and Under-15 Women's National Teams.  Those unable to attend the UK trial were required to submit video evidence and testing protocols -- athletic, defensive and offensive -- as well as game footage.

Following the UK trial and receipt of all video submissions, selection panels were convened for each team, consisting of the coaching staff for that team and one or two external selectors, whose role is to ensure that selections are made fairly and transparently based on criteria in the GB Softball Selection Policy.

All athletes who trialed for the 2020 GB Women and GB Under-15 Teams have now been contacted regarding selection decisions, and athletes who were offered a place on the preliminary roster were required to confirm whether they would accept their selection.

GB Women selections

The players selected for the 2020 GB Women’s Fastpitch Team are shown below.  Those marked with an asterisk (*) are returnees from the 2019 team that won a European Championship bronze medal and reached the final of the Europe-Africa Olympic Qualifier, where they lost out to Italy for Europe’s one place in the Tokyo Olympics.

Sydney Brown*
Katie Burge*
Georgina Corrick*
Hannah Edwards*
Lauren Evans*
Kim Hobson
Amie Hutchison*
Lauren King
Kirsten Mack
Aubrey Peterson*
Morgan Salmon
Alana Snow* 
Chloe Wigington*

The GB Women’s Team staff for 2020 would have been:

Head Coach
Rachael Watkeys

Assistant Coach
Liz Knight

Hitting Coach
Linda Derk

Team Manager
Simon Mortimer

Exercise Physiologist
Kim Hannessen

GB Under-15 Women selections

The players selected for the 2020 GB Under-15 Women’s Fastpitch Team are shown below.  Those marked with an asterisk (*) are returnees from the 2019 GB Under-16 Team that competed in the Canada Cup.

Kallie Chappell
Cara Edwards*
Sophia Evans-Francis
Rhianne Henderson
Charlotte Laidler
Morgan Laidler
Megan Longman*
Scarlett Patience*
Shinju Kimura-Phalon
Tamsin Scarrett
Georgia Wilson*
Mililani Youngman*

GB Under-15 Women’s Team staff

With regard to staff, while the team said goodbye to long-time Assistant Coach Joss Thompson after many years of service, two new staff members came on board.

Mary Murray was announced as the new Team Manager in January, and former Great Britain Junior National Team player Felicity West was named as an Assistant Coach.

Felicity West said, “I'm extremely excited to be on board with the GB Under-15 Team.  As much as this current situation isn't ideal, I'm looking forward to working with every player this year and in the coming seasons.  The key is to continue working hard during this difficult time and come back fitter, stronger and even more focused than before.  That's what I'm really excited to see!”

Head Coach Jo Malisani stated, “We are extremely sad that we will not be able to tour with this great group of athletes in 2020 due to Covid-19, but we will continue to train through virtual means to develop these talented athletes in preparation for 2021 and beyond.”

Associate Head Coach Alexis Markham-Hill added, “Although this year has not turned out as we had planned or hoped, the Under-15 staff team is working hard to help the athletes train and continue to develop whilst at home; our collective goal is for them to be able to return next season as stronger, quicker and more technically-skilled softball players.  As Coach Jo said, we are using all the virtual platforms available to us to connect and work together as a team.

“The athletes have comprehensive weekly schedules to work on strength and conditioning, as well as offensive and defensive skills plans, which they video so we can provide individual feedback.  We have weekly live video sessions as a team, giving the girls the opportunity to virtually train, exercise, bond and learn together; these sessions have been really motivating for us already.  Both the staff and the athletes are having to be very creative, adapting to very limited spaces with little to no softball equipment.  But things that could have been accepted as barriers and reasons to avoid training by the athletes are instead being tackled as fun challenges and providing them with more motivation than ever.

“These are qualities that we really value, as they translate so well on the diamond, so it makes me really excited to see that the young athletes we have selected to the GB Under-15 Women’s National Team are more resourceful and more driven when faced with big challenges.  As a staff we are proud and impressed with the effort, enthusiasm, and commitment we have seen from the girls and their families throughout the selection process and beyond, especially during these difficult times, so it is really important that we publicly honour and celebrate the athletes’ efforts and successful selection onto the squad.”

The full staff for the 2020 GB Under-15 Women’s Team would have been:

Head Coach
Jo Malisani

Associate Head Coach
Alexis Markham-Hill

Assistant Coaches
Sian Wigington
Felicity West

Team Manager
Mary Murray

Edwin Lam

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