Big Cat Women Well Represented at 2018 Women’s World Cup

Over the years, the Springvale Lions Women’s program has been very well represented at the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup, and has enjoyed success at both a team level, and a personal level, with a tournament hitting title, All-World team honours, and of course, a famous silver-medal finish.

This year’s event, to be held at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida – the first such tournament to be hosted on American soil – will be no different, with the Emeralds once again being led by long-time National coach, and the Big Cats’ own Simone Wearne.

The club will also be represented once again by infielder Shae Lillywhite, whose unprecedented World Cup experience will be invaluable as the Emeralds go into this year’s event with a new-look team, with several new faces. Lillywhite will create history this year when she represents her country in her eighth-consecutive World Cup – as a participant at every such event since the tournament was created – and will draw on her experience of managing the Women’s Big Cat program over the last couple of years, to be sure.

Also representing the Big Cats is pitcher Sinead Flanigan, who is making her second trip to the Women’s Baseball World Cup, and hoping to add to the silver medal she brought home from the 2010 event in Venezuela.

The club’s involvement won’t end there, however, as former Big Cats player Risa Nakashima takes the reigns as the Emeralds Pitching Coach.  Rieko Abe, who has been a premiership player with the Big Cats for the last three years, will also be in Florida as the team’s bullpen catcher throughout the tournament.

Two former players will also represent other countries in the tournament. For the first time, reigning-champion Team Japan will be managed by former Springvale player Megumi Kitta, becoming the second female-managed team in the event, joining Wearne. Among the 12 teams involved in the World Cup, the only two female managers are members of the Big Cats alumni.

Also representing the club will be long-time Team Canada first baseman Kate Psota, who is in her 15th year with the Canadian National team and one of two Canuck players who have participated in all eight World Cup tournaments.

Springvale is extremely proud of all of the women involved, and would like to wish them all the best in Florida.  Please stay tuned to our Facebook page to follow with regular updates including interviews, photos and score information.

Notable mention to Anthony Bennett, the Emeralds Assistant coach, who had a short stint in the red and blue colours back in 2017.