Hawke's Bay softball catcher Mel Gettins Olympic Games dream may have been shattered but there is an ideal form of consolation.
Gettins is one of three Hawke's Bay players in the White Sox team which ended their campaign at the world championship in Japan yesterday with a 4-0 loss to Venezuela.
The White Sox, who are coached by her father Kevin Gettins and also include Bay pitchers Rita Hokianga and Courtney Gettins, finished the tournament with two wins and six losses, well out of top eight contention where they needed to be to stay in the hunt for a berth at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Depending on results of games which were still in progress when Hawke's Bay Today went to press last night the White Sox could finished 12th at best.
When 29-year-old left-handed catcher Gettins took the diamond as a pinch hitter in Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Mexico it was her 50th test appearance for the White Sox against a full international side.
Gettins and Hutt Valley infielder Lara Andrews, who made her 50th in the 10-5 loss to the Netherlands last weekend were honoured at a team dinner in Chiba on Wednesday night.
Andrews and Gettins have become the 19th and 20th players respectively in the White Sox 50-test club.
White Sox manager Lyn Lockhart said it is fitting that "Lara and Mel have achieved this honour together" at their fifth world championship.
The pair made their White Sox debuts in 2009 after graduating from the Junior White Sox which played in the 2007 under-19 world championships in Enschede, Holland.
"Both players are important members of the White Sox senior leadership group and live and breathe softball," Lockhart said.
"Mel spent four years at Iona College in the United States perfecting her craft and, like Lara, she's also a big part of our senior leadership team. She is the type of player who performs when most needed and brings the best out of people around her. Playing softball for New Zealand and playing for the White Sox is just her," Lockhart explained.
She pointed out Gettins has displayed great dedication by commuting to play as a draft player for National Fastpitch Championship teams from her Hawke's Bay base.
With no premier women's softball in the Bay, she hones her skills by playing with Hokianga for the Flaxmere men's team.
Andrews and Gettins won't receive their 50th test caps until after the world champs — it's normally done the following year at the National Fastpitch Championship tournament in New Zealand in front of their peers and the people who support them.
"But we wanted to recognise their achievement here at our team dinner because it's a fabulous milestone for both of them," Lockhart said.
"Lara has been playing for a long period of time for New Zealand and had more than four years overseas, at college and then as the first New Zealander to play in the Pro League.
"She's a massive contributor to this team. She plays her heart out every time she wears the White Sox jersey," Lockhart added.
Hawke's Bay Sports Hall of Fame inductee Rhonda Hira, who started playing in Central Hawke's Bay, is still the most capped White Sox player with 107 tests.
Behind Hira are: Lesley Monk (102), Kiri Shaw (82), Nardi Clark (75), Char Pouaka (63), Naomi Shaw (60), Gina Weber (59) and Helen Townsend (59).