The WA Gold Rays and Blue Rays made the most of their opportunities at the first-ever Barclay Cup, a new national tournament for youth girls aged 13-16.
Named in honour of Jacinda Barclay, a beloved baseballer from WA, the tournament brought female baseballers from across the country together for a memorable week of competitive games and fun on and off the field.
The Gold Rays went undefeated to bring home the inaugural Barclay Cup while the Blue Rays pushed through challenging games to pick up exciting victories. EO Amanda Mirco says they should all be very proud.
"Both teams played a huge part in Gold’s success. The teams both prepared as a group and pushed each other at every single training. The players had a great chemistry, as did the coaches. To have six great coaches leading the way in the preparation played a big part in my opinion," Mirco said.
"It was great to see one of our teams bring home the inaugural Barclay Cup. The WA Women’s State Team won their first national title on the Gold Coast in 2010 and Jacinda played a huge role in that tournament, so as someone who was part of that team, I think it was very fitting to see a WA team win the very first Barclay Cup."
The coaching staff wanted the girls to know how Jacinda played the game - hard, but fair.
"She did everything with 100% effort and always enjoyed doing it. She was also a great teammate off the field, always picking people up when they were down, throwing an arm around someone and including them. I saw this not just in the WA players, but every player there, and I think that is how the tournament honoured Barks," Mirco explained. "It was great to see the comradery between all of the players from each state, making friends and having fun on and off the diamond together."
The WA Gold and Blue Rays got to learn more about the game, teamwork, and what it's like to travel and play tournament baseball.
"We feel the girls have learnt a great deal about resilience in baseball and in life," Gold Rays Head Coach Grace Spano added. "They also learnt what it means to be a good teammate, and how they can positively impact others for team success. The top highlights were watching the team work so well together, seeing them have a laugh on and off the field, and enjoying the sport so much."
Spano attributes the WA girls' success to their hard work in the lead-up to the tournament, as well as their great attitudes and confidence on the field.
"We did a lot of work with our pitchers before the tournament to ensure they were ready, and they performed exceptionally. This was a standout for us," Spano said. "We were very proud to see the team come away with the cup after an amazing tournament. We were so proud of how they conducted themselves and how well they adapted to tournament challenges."
The WA Girls have come away from the Gold Coast with lifelong memories after paying tribute to Jacinda and her infectious spirit and love of the game. Leah Cornish of WA Gold Rays was even awarded Barky's "LIONHEARTED" Award for the most ferocious competitor who also demonstrated courage and leadership, both on and off the field.
"The tournament provided a fantastic opportunity to honour Jacinda, not only her legacy as an exceptional athlete but also as an exceptional person. There was an opportunity for the players to speak to Jacinda’s good friends who were at the tournament and listen to stories about Jacinda on and off the field," Spano explained.
"We feel our team embodied a lot of Jacinda’s qualities, including her fun and caring nature. We are proud of this and the impact it had on our success."