Oakley strikes a big victory
OAKLEY McMahon took up baseball to follow in his father's footsteps - now he is preparing to rub shoulders with some of the state's best young talent.
The 14-year-old was in the Kadina High School side that claimed victory in the quarter-finals of the New South Wales Combined High Schools Proud Shield yesterday.
A superb all-round perform- ance secured an 11-1 victory over Oxley High School and secured Kadina a last-four berth in the competition, which is believed to be the oldest schools' knockout tournament in Australia.
Oakley, who only started playing baseball about three years ago, was jubilant with his side's impressive progress.
"It is amazing," he said. "We just played really well.
"We put in everything and did everything right.
"It's a wonderful feeling."
Kadina was in great form as it wrapped up a comfortable win at Lismore's Albert Park. Daniel Sproule was a standout for his side, achieving two safe hits with five runners batted in.
Pitcher Daniel Crowther was also in good form, notching up five strikeouts to help subdue the Tamworth side.
Oakley, who plays for the Workers side in FNC Baseball, took up the sport to follow in the footsteps of dad Darren a keen player himself.
"I thought maybe it might be something that would help us bond together," Oakley said.
"I love baseball - it is a just a fun sport. I like how it can be intense and relaxing. You can communicate and work together as a team.
"I'm sure my dad will be happy with this win."
The open boys' team will now likely face a metropolitan side in the next stage of the tournament.
Delighted team coach Dan Matthias said he hoped his charges would benefit from their run in the tournament.
"It doesn't matter if they win or lose from here," he said. "It is going to be a great experience for the boys.
"It is a great achievement to make the semi-finals.
"I hope this experience helps them develop the ability to be open-minded and play different sports, as well as working together as a team.
"Baseball is starting to get a bit bigger at the school and we hope it grows down the track.
"This team is a great bunch of boys and I am really happy for them."