Hawke's Bay softball catcher Melanie Gettins will play at her sixth world championship next month.
Gettins, 27, is one of three Hawke's Bay players in the White Sox team which arrived in Canada yesterday to play in the eight-day Canada Cup tournament from today. This will be their final buildup tournament for the August 2-12 world championship in Chiba, Japan.
The other Bay players are her sister Courtney Gettins and fellow pitcher Rita Hokianga.
Gettins played in the 2007 junior world championship in the Netherlands and, since stepping up to the White Sox in 2010, has played in four senior world championships - Venezuela in 2010, Canada in 2012, the Netherlands in 2014 and Canada in 2016.
"Finally made it to Canada. Still doesn't feel real that it's really quite beginning all over again. Sincere thank you for everyone that has helped me get here. These trips never get old and I am eternally grateful for every opportunity to represent New Zealand.
So excited to start yet another campaign for worlds," Gettins told supporters via Facebook yesterday.
Her father Kevin Gettins is the White Sox' head coach. He said is happy with where the team is at and they have prepared well reaching good fitness levels along the way.
"Although the team is young, many have junior and senior world championship experience that we will benefit from," coach Gettins said.
"An aggressive approach will allow us to create opportunities and build pressure on teams offensively and defensively. The team is not without its challenges though.
"For the most part the players are spread around the world playing in various leagues, hence a longer than normal build up in Canada," he said.
"Defence will play a major role in how far we progress in the world championship, minimising errors and walks will be critical to our success.
"We are looking to take learnings from the last world championships and focus on competing at the higher level, playing with more intensity for longer periods and not let our guard down" Gettins added.
The Japan world championships will also be an opportunity to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The Emerging Sox under-17 girls and Junior White Sox girls will also be in Canada competing in the Futures under-19 tournament.
"Three national teams at the Canada Cup is unprecedented, a move designed to enhance the quality of our women's national team programme", Softball NZ CEO Tony Giles said.
"It really is an exciting time for softball, with the Junior Black Sox currently competing at their world championship, our Emerging Sox Boys team in Australia at the International Friendship Games and Black Sox heading to Prague next month for the Intercontinental Cup", Giles said.
Hawke's Bay's multiple world champion Thomas Makea jnr is head coach of the Junior Black Sox, who have recorded four wins and a loss in Canada to date.
They start the business end of their tournament against Japan today.
Makea has coached the Junior Black Sox to consecutive second placings at their last two world championships.