Rest is history: refreshed for title shot
ACT pitcher Brad Riley sends one down against NSW. Photo: Graham Tidy
A rested roster has ACT coach Darrin Hebditch confident his team is on the verge of winning a record 12th national title - regardless of who it plays in Saturday's finals.
The ACT stormed through the round-robin games of the John Reid Shield undefeated to sit on top of the ladder. The side played its semi-final late last night.
Worst case, they'll play in the preliminary final on Saturday morning for a spot in the afternoon grand final.
The ACT is level with Western Australia with 11 John Reid Shield titles, the most of any of the states.
An historic first title on its home soil at Hawker International Softball Centre would make the ACT the undisputed kings of Australian softball.
That has been the team's focus since the tournament began - with the ACT even going into camp and staying at a hotel in O'Connor to ensure its sole focus was softball.
''The team's very confident, and we know that any team on their day can match us and beat us, but those days are very few and far between,'' Hebditch said.
''If we play to our potential, we're fairly confident we won't have to worry too much about what other teams can do, just worry about what we have to do.''
As well as winning 10 from 10 during the round robin, Hebditch was also confident his team had enough experience to eliminate complacency as an issue.
He has some of the world's best players in his line-up - players that were part of Australia's world championship-winning side in 2009.
Two of those are his main pitchers - Adam Folkard and Andrew Kirkpatrick - the two best pitchers in the world.
Hebditch has been able to rest both of them throughout the tournament to keep them fresh for the finals.
But Kirkpatrick's ability isn't just limited to the pitching mound. He's also one of the best hitters in the game and took out both the pitching and batting awards at last year's nationals.
Hebditch knew about the weapon he had at his disposal.
''With Folkard and Kirkpatrick, they're the best two pitchers in Australia, they're the best two pitchers in the world,'' he said.
''[Kirkpatrick is] dominating from the pitching plate and he's dominating with the stick.''