SOFTBALL WITH ELLEN ROBERTS
Join VixenSports as we follow the journey of Softball pitcher Ellen Roberts!! Ellen will share her stories right here!!ABOUT ELLEN ROBERTS
The 2017 NPF season has come to an end. My team Chicago Bandits finished in the top four to make play offs and unfortunately lost the first semi final 2 games to 0. My time with the Chicago Bandits was one in a million. I loved every minute on and off the field. Being amongst so many elite athletes pushed me to learn and be better each day. I am forever thankful for the new friendships and to the Bandits and the City of Rosemont for the experience. The best part about playing in with the Bandits was being apart of a team with not just talent but with people that share the same passion and competitive spirit for the game that I love.
From Chicago, I flew directly to Takasaki, Japan along with five other Aussie Bandits to meet up with the Australian Squad for the Japan Cup where the top four rank teams competed. USA, Japan, Canada and Australia.
Currently ranked fourth in world ranking, our team goal was to compete with the best and finish at least with a podium finish, top three.
We had good games throughout, with a loss 6-5 in extra innings to USA, a respectable 3-0 loss to Japan, and two wins against Canada which got us through to finish in third place. From this, we know what is working for us as a Squad and what more we can do to continue improving. It is exciting to see our progress over the last twelve months and even more motivating to continue from here.
After the Japan Cup, I flew straight from Tokyo to Amsterdam where I rejoined my Dutch team, Haarlem Olympia to play the last round games and the national league finals. While I was away, Olympia competed in the European Winners Cup where they won first place and are now back to back champions. I’m pumped to be back and contribute to such a solid team and family like club. We we, Olympia!!!
Today we arrive back with the Chicago Bandits, heading straight to the field for a game against USSSA Pride, after our almost three week tour with the Aussie Spirit.
We began our tour in Oklahoma for the World Cup, where we faced some stiff competition. It was a new team with a good mix of returners and new youth. One of our team goals for the tour was to continue growing the program and add depth to our squad. We finished in fourth place in Oklahoma, behind Japan, USA and Canada. We would have like to have finished higher but held our world ranking of fourth, which we then tried to build on for the second half of the tour in Surrey, Canada, where we competed in the Canada Cup.
We faced more world class teams in Canada, and welcomed the challenge. We played some good games where with contributions from all. We got some good wins and ended the tournament with the silver medal behind Team Japan. We enjoyed the challenge and it’s exciting to know what we have done well and where we can improve on to continue growing the program.
Taylah Tsitsikronis and I head back to rejoin the Chicago Bandits and also bring our teammate Kaia Parnaby with us to play out the last month of the NPF.
We aim to finish in the top four to qualify from finals, and then go from there, one game at a time.
This last month and a half playing for the Chicago Bandits in the NPF (National Professional Fastpitch) has flown by. I am loving every minute of it, playing games six days a week and each game is a challenge with the competition being the very best in the world.We have had a good start to the season, currently being in third place out of six teams.
Being around so much talent brings new opportunities each day to learn and get better.So far, I’m enjoying being involved and contributing to the Bandits in any role I’m given and it’s great to be able to work with my fellow Aussie teammates thatI have grown up playing with. The level of professionalism by the American returners and their kindness has made me and the other Aussies feel so welcome and a part of the team. They have taught us about the history of the Chicago Bandits and what makes playing for this team so special. I love playing along side my new teammates and being apart of carrying on the Bandits tradition.
Sunday, my teammate Taylah Tsitsikronis and I leave the Bandits for two weeks tomeet up with the rest of the Australian Squad to play in the World Cup in Oklahoma then the Canada Cup in Surrey. I’m really looking forward to being backwith The Spirit and having another opportunity to represent my country.Taylah and I will return after this tour and meet The Bandits in Miami to play out the second half of the NPF season.
This is my last week in The Netherlands until August, before I go to America to join the Chicago Bandits in the NPF (National Professional League).
I have played almost the full first round with my club, Haarlem, Olympia. We have had a great start to the season, winning all of our games so far. The competition is even throughout and every game is a good challenge. My team is a good mix of experience and young talent, with many players commuting for practice and games from other cities.
I have really enjoyed my time here so far, getting plenty of game time and access to great practice facilities whenever I like. It’s a beautiful place to live, but my favorite thing so far is being a part of a team that have so much drive to win and succeed. We have been successful so far mainly due to everybody contributing offensively, followed by tidy defense. It is great to be a part of such a good hitting team and makes my job as a pitcher easier and more fun.
I am a little sad I have to leave so soon, but thankful for the time I have had so far and I will look forward to returning for the end part of season.
I will finish this week at practice and then I will be off to join some of my Aussie teammates and new friends in Chicago. I am so looking forward to what is ahead, learning in one of the best softball leagues in the world and to be apart of the Bandits.
Today we arrive back from Japan with the Australian Squad where we competed in the Toyota Cup. We began our tour in Brisbane where we trained as a team for two days before leaving for Tokyo.
We originally had ten games scheduled but due to too much rain some were postponed or cancelled. We played against China, Chinese Taipei and Japanese Division 1 professional teams. We ended up playing seven games, winning five and losing two. Every game we played tested us and was a good challenge. As a team, we worked together and feel we have can take a lot away from this tour to keep building on. Individually, I loved the game time against world class competition and every opportunity to play at this level is a learning experience.
Tomorrow I will pack and get ready as I leave the next day for the next part of my season playing for Olympia in Haarlem, Netherlands before joining some of my Aussie teammates again in Chicago for the NPF.
Since my last post, I competed with the New South Wales Women’s at the 2017 Nationals in Sydney. As a team, we really enjoyed the challenge this tournament as it was competitive throughout. We finished top two in the rounds, lost the first semi to Queensland which put us through to play Western Australia to make the final. We won 1-0 in a tight game. We faced off with Queensland in the final and won 8-0 after 6 innings. It was a great team effort with everyone contributing which showed in the final result. Always so much fun being apart of the NSW Blue Bloods and I think partly because we have played together for quite a while now and some of us grew up playing on the same teams too, which strengthens our team so much off the field and we feed off that when we get out there to play.
I have travelled a few more times to New Zealand to play with Mount Albert Ramblers. I love going over there to play with the club as it is a great club competition. Last month I was there to compete in the Bev Chote Classic that my club Ramblers hosts. My team played so well and we finished first in the round games. Won the first semis to get straight through to the final where we played against last years National Champions for the win. It was a tight game, and I pitched 6 full games in two and a half days. The final was 0-0 almost all game until the 6th and our team was able to push and score one run. We went into the 7th inning up 1-0 and our defense made some game changing plays and we held them done to get the last three outs to win the Classic for the first time in Ramblers history. I was awarded the Top Pitcher Award with an ERA 0.00 and my teammate, Katrina Nukunuku was awarded MVP It was such a good effort by all my teammates and their focus, desire to win and continue to fight is the reason we did so well.
Today I am flying to New Zealand for the last time this season for the Club Nationals, which is the biggest tournament of the year. Any club team in the entire country can compete and I’m so looking forward to playing with Ramblers again as I love playing with a team that wants to win just as badly as I do.
From the Australian National Championships, the Open Women’s Aussie Squad was decided for this year and I have been selected again.
We compete in he first international tournament for the year, Down Under Series in Sydney where we played again the Japan and New Zealand National teams. As a team, we played pretty and it is always good practice to get game time against some of he best in the world. We came second, with Japan finishing first. I feel we were happy with some of the things we achieved together as a team and have a better understanding now on what we need to improve in for the future.
I was recently chosen to travel with the Aussie Spirit to the Tokyo Cup. This will be another good learning experience for me personally, and also for our squad. We will have a two-day camp in Brisbane before heading to Japan where we will compete against the Japanese pro teams. This will be a fantastic opportunity to compete with some of the best competition in the world, and be pushed to perform at the highest level every game.
From Japan, I will be traveling straight to The Netherlands this year to play with Haarlem, Olympia is the Gold division softball pro league. I played in Haarlem in 2014 at the World Championships and I’m looking forward to returning and getting some more competitive game time. This will be my first time in the Dutch league, and I think will be a good change and new challenge for me. I’m looking forward to learning a new culture, being apart of a strong team and meeting my new teammates.
I will spend one month in Haarlem, playing with Olympia in the first part of season before I leave to compete in the US pro league.
I have been selected to play for the Chicago Bandits in the National Professional Fastpitch (NPF). Softball Australia have linked up with the NPF and are sending eight Australians to the US to compete with the Bandits. I am thrilled to be included in the eight and so thankful to have the opportunity to compete with some of the world’s best again. The US league is known to be highly competitive and I am looking forward to being a part of it, seeing what it’s about and learning as much as I can from just being amongst it all. It’s definitely a step up from college ball where I competed with the University of Memphis Tigers for four years. I have an idea about the US players because of my experience in college but this is definitely a world class championship where I will be tested with every opportunity I get and looking forward to the challenge.
When the NPF league finishes in August, I will then return to the Netherlands and compete again with Olympia in the Gold Division finals where I hope I can help contribute to the teams success.
It is going to be one of my busiest years yet and I feel so fortunate to have these opportunities. I love competing against different kinds of hitters from different parts of the world as it is such good practice. I am able to learn more about how different parts of the world play the game I love whilst also contributing to a new team and playing my part in the middle.
I have returned home from my second season in the Italian League, playing professionally. I really enjoyed my second year and was really fortunate to have such a good support in the club I played for, La Loggia (Turin). We finished up second in the regular season rounds, and went through to the first round of Play Off. We played the first cross over round best of 3, gave a good fight but ended up losing 2-1.
This year I tried learning even more Italian which defiantly came in handy because I was the only foreign player this year on the team. I loved the experience and I think it made it even more special. I was pushed hard to do my role for the team while also being able to focus on some of my own personal goals. I was selected again for the Italian League All-star team where we are chosen from all over Italy to play and I got to meet more great players and people.
After being away for a while and enjoying life over seas again, coming home still feels so sweet. While I’m home, I’ll be playing, working part time when I can, and coaching a little. I’m back to playing club ball on Saturdays and State League Sunday’s with my home team North Shore, which I always love coming back to, playing along side some of my longest and best friends. The 2017 NSW Open Women’s was selected last week, and I’m feel privileged to be selected again this year. We have begun training this week, working towards the Australian Open Women’s Nationals being held in Sydney the first week of January, 2017.
I’ve also been fortunate to be asked to return to New Zealand this season. I played my first games of the Kiwi season last weekend and will get to travel over another five times to play in their competition. It’s a great opportunity for me, as its extra game time and a really competitive club championship. The club I play for, Mt Albert Ramblers based out of Auckland are always very welcoming, a lot of fun and have given me this opportunity to challenge myself again, playing against some of New Zealand’s best players while also contributing to the team. I always look forward to going over and seeing my New Zealand mates.
Coming back for another busy summer which I always love because I’m back in Sydney for the best part of the year.
Currently the Italian Professional league is on a break for the summer break. We have finished the regular season in second place in our pool and the finals begin next weekend, where we will play the third of the other pool. Best of three games goes on semi final, and that is best of five games. Winner of each bracket will play in the final, again best of five. For my team, La Loggia based out of Turin, we have improved a lot throughout the season and I think we will be prepared for next weekend.
In the break, the European Cup is played in Ostrava, Czech Republic and I have been asked to pitch for a team from Czech Republic based out of Prague called Tempo Titans. We have play teams from all around Europe. Tomorrow will be our last day for the tournament. Playing with a new team for the week and being the only foreign has been a great experience with getting to know a new culture, language and group of girls.
I will be looking forward to being back to Italy again on Sunday for the last week of team practice and then we will be ready to take the field for the Italian league finals.
I am now home in Sydney for the summer. I enjoyed my first year in the Italian Professional League.
Since I’ve been home I have been training hard for the Australian National Championships where we (NSW) finished second. It was a competitive championship this year, with each game being a good contest. As a team, we were tested as the first half of the tournament was rained off and postponed. After half a week of waiting, staying ready and practicing, we were all so looking forward to getting out of the hotel and playing. Unfortunately, we finished up second behind QLD in a 3-1 final.
I have now been selected for the Australian Open Women’s Squad, with practicing and working each day to give myself the best opportunity to compete and do the best I can for the squad.
I am returning to Italy again for my second season, this year playing for LaLoggia, based in Turin. I’m really looking forward to another new experience and enjoying another year full of softball and what this sport can bring to my life.
I have now just become involved in an Agency for young aspiring Athletes called, Aussie Athletes Agency. My role is to inform talented athletes about possible opportunities in their chosen sport and how a US college athletic experience can enhance them as an athlete and a person. If anyone would be interested they are free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m really excited about this opportunity as playing college ball was something that really helped me as an athlete and has helped me get to where I am now. I’d love to help other Aussie athletes to have the same great experience that I was fortunate to have. It’s something I’m passionate about and I am able to help others to learn more about an overseas opportunity whilst still focusing on my own goals in softball.
Last weekend we played the last two games of the Italian Championship regular season. Our team finished with 23wins and 1 loss, finishing first for the regular part of the season. So far for my pitching I have a 0.72ERA and batting .323.
We now have a month off from the Italian Championship. The first two weekends we compete in the Italian Cup, which is a playoff knock out completion with all the first division teams in Italy.
The second two weeks off, my American roommate and I are taking the opportunity to travel and see some of Italy. We are lucky enough to be able to get the most out of our time here.
Late August, is when the Italian Championships begin. The top three teams from each pool play off for the final round which is played the best out of a five game series. I love the competition here, and I have been able to continue playing too competitive softball. I am so looking forward to finals and striving to end on top. FORZA BOLLATE!
We have started our season here in Italy and have won both games so far. We played a couple of preseason tournaments and I was awarded the best pitcher of the tournament for both weekends. I’m really enjoying learning about how softball is played here and about their culture. My new teammates are very welcoming and fun and I am learning a little italian as well, which is making it easier.
Today I fly out to Italy for my first experience as a professional athlete. With my experiences up to now, make me feel somewhat prepared for the season ahead. I am not quite sure what to expect as each country plays the game slightly different, but I am so looking forward to the challenge.
Many teammates of mine have shared their stories and adventures playing in the Italian league, and I’m ready to learn what it’s all about. With my experiences up to now, playing fours of US College ball, and international softball with Team Australia, I have played with and against many talented players and each experience has taught me something new. I look forward to adding to my game, improving and playing hard for my new team, Bollate.