Southern Districts win NSW Open Men's State Championship

Best of the best: The Southern Districts men’s softball team broke an eight-year drought to win the 2018 NSW Open Men's State Championship at Blacktown. Picture: Softball NSW
Best of the best: The Southern Districts men’s softball team broke an eight-year drought to win the 2018 NSW Open Men's State Championship at Blacktown. Picture: Softball NSW

“It was just our year – we were determined we were taking it out this year.”

They are the words of Southern Districts men’s coach Eliza O’Leary after her team broke an eight year drought to win the 2018 NSW Open Men's State Championship at Blacktown.

The green and gold cruised to the top of their pool win wins against Cumberland Nepean (12-2), Penrith (11-9), Georges River (11-2), Campbelltown (8-1), Macarthur (5-3) and Central Coast (17-2). The team replicated their dominance against Georges River, who defeated Macarthur 3-2 to make the decider, in the final with a crushing 10-0 win. 

Led by a dominant display on the mound by Shaun Lanaghan (who pitched a no-hotter), Southern Districts jumped out of the box to lead 3 - 0 after the first inning and never looked back.

The game finished in the fourth inning courtesy of a Steven Evic home run which brought in three runs.

“It’s a hard tournament to play in because most of the teams have been together for a long time,” said O’Leary, who was the only female coach at the championships.

“A lot of the boys have been together since they were tee-ballers so I was proud of them to see them win their first state title.”

The majority of the team are members of the Thurabredz team which had a successful ACT Skins campaign. The team also contains five NSW state players.

The Southern Districts team is a family affair with coach O’Leary’s  three sons – Michael, Liam and Kieran – part of the squad along with the Rossi (Mason and Izack) and Kajan (Aidan and Kayne) brothers. 

The team: Steven Evic, Daniel Harrison, Blake Jackson, Aidan Kajan, Kayne Kajan, Shaun Lanaghan, Hayden Matthews, Tom Noble, Kieran O’Leary, Michael O’Leary, Liam O’Leary, Mason Rossi, Izack Rossi, Sam Spooner, Tom Zeylermaker.