FNC teens go into bat for Queensland
FOUR Far North Coast junior baseballers have gained Queensland state selection, while another is a shadow player, to compete at the National Baseball Championships in January.
Kodey Wilford, Oakley McMahon and Ethan Elliott were selected for the under-18 age group while the under-16 FNC selection was Seth McClelland
Damon Mitchell, while not selected in the under-18 team, is a shadow player and should anybody become injured or unable to make the final team he will step in to fill the void.
Josh Healy (under-16s) was also selected in the Queensland train-on squad but narrowly missed the final state team.
He has, however, been selected in the Australian Capital Territory team and will come up against his fellow FNC players when the ACT and Queensland clash.
The national championships will be held in Sydney from January 6, culminating in the medal games on January 15.
All players are no strangers to playing against some of the country's top baseballers, having suited up alongside a number of them every week in the local competition, in the top grades, and also having represented Queensland or Australia in the past few years.
Wilford and Elliott have both played for Australia.
Elliott suited up in 2013 in the Cal Ripken Little League World Series in the United States while Wilford took on the best in the world while playing in the Under 15 World Series in Mexico.
Both players, and parents, have made tremendous commitments to gain selection, starting with the Queensland State Championships in late September from where they were part of 30 players to form the state squad.
From there they would travel up to twice a week to South East Queensland ball parks to train, returning home at 2am sometimes.
FNC Major League player Scott McClelland will again take on the assistant coach role for the Queensland under-16 team for a second straight year.
He has wealth of coaching experience, being the FNC director of coaching for a number of years while also coaching FNC junior teams.
To top this off one of the FNC's finest umpires, Aiden Hanlon, will also take part in the tournament, giving him the distinction of being recognised as one of the best umpires in Australia.