Softball: Family duo hoping for home run

By Shane Hurndell

When Angela Stubbs and daughter Brooke Eden take to the softball diamond together, there is often an air of apprehension among spectators.

The ingredients are there for some family domestics. You know the stuff - like if one makes more errors than the other, they've got the cooking and washing duties for the week.

But this isn't the case for these infielders, who will become the first mother-and-daughter combo to play at National Fastpitch Championship level, the country's elite softball tournament.

Hawke's Bay women will make their debut at the four-day event, which begins in North Harbour on Wednesday.

"We keep softball and home totally separate and it works well," former White Sox player Stubbs said.

"I thought I would have retired three years ago, but the opportunity to play alongside Brooke was too good to turn down and I'm enjoying it.

"We're bringing the best out of each other and, hopefully, the encouragement I give Brooke will see her make the Junior White Sox World Series team either next year or in 2015."

Bay softball experts reckon 35-year-old mother of three Stubbs, the oldest player in the Bay side, is playing as well as she did when playing for the White Sox in 2004-05 and the mother-daughter rivalry has a lot to do with it.

The pair can both run the bases in 12 seconds and they record similar results during fitness tests.

Stubbs will bat at four for the Bay and 16-year-old Hastings Girls' High School student Eden at six.

"I'll often get the opportunity to move Mum around the bases ... I'm sure she will let me know if I don't do it right," Eden said with a grin.

Three-time national champion Eden will play in four national tournaments this summer - the NFC, under-19s and under-17s with Hawke's Bay and the national interclubs with Dodgers. Her mother will also be in the Dodgers' interclubs side.

While thrilled with her speed around the bases and on defence, Eden pointed out one of her goals is to build up her upper body so she can match her mother for batting power.

In between their team and fitness trainings, the pair spend time together raising the $1200 required to represent Hawke's Bay. During the winter, Stubbs and Eden both played midcourt roles for their respective netball sides.

"We got the chance to play against each other regularly in trainings, which was just as good as playing against or alongside each other at softball," Stubbs said.

Stubbs and Eden are one of three different family combinations in the team. Outfielder Quayla Tatana-Paul is the niece of infielder Nikki Tatana, while the White Sox pitcher-catcher combination of Courtney Gettins and Melanie Gettins are daughters of Kevin and Charmaine Gettins, who are coach and manager respectively of the side.

All of the players, apart from the three pick-up players from outside of the Bay, play for the province's top club side Dodgers, which also plays in Wellington.

"We are one big happy family ... there are never any dramas. That's another reason why we should do well in North Harbour," added Stubbs.

Newlands pitcher Samantha Andrell, Auckland Ramblers third base player Freya Bullock and Johnsonville outfielder Jade Fraser are the pick ups.

While manager Gettins will be happy with a top-four finish in the Bay's first appearance at this level, Stubbs is a little more ambitious.

"We're going there to win," she said.

This was further evidence that mother-daughter rivalry is bringing out the best in Stubbs, who has won national titles in the past with the old Central Vikings team at provincial level and Hutt Valley's Te Aroha club at interclub level.

HB team: Ashleigh Harmer, Courtney Gettins, Samantha Andrell, Melanie Gettins, Emma Houkamau, Angela Stubbs, Whitney Nohokau, Nikki Tatana, Ashlyn Obers, Taya-Lee Halbert, Evana Schinkel, Jade Hoskin-Hindmarsh, Quayla Tatana-Paul, Brooke Eden, Freya Bullock, Jade Fraser.

HB draw:

Thursday: 11am v Auckland; 3pm v Wellington.

Friday: 9am v Counties-Manukau/Waikato; 11am v Hutt Valley; 3pm v Canterbury.

Saturday: Play-offs.

Sunday: Play-offs.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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