Might of WA no match for Canberra in Aust title battle
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Might of WA no match for Canberra in Aust title battle

CANBERRA has proven it punches well above its weight in softball after the ACT men's team claimed a record 11th Australian title in Sydney yesterday.

The ACT is level with Western Australia on 11 titles in the 29-year history of the competition after defeating its arch rivals 2-0 in the final.

Jeff Goolagong, a former Australian representative who has just came out of a two-year retirement, was the difference between the two teams, scoring a two-run home run in the first innings.

From there Adam Folkard pitched six innings for only two hits before Andrew Kirkpatrick closed out the record victory.

The ACT went through the rain-affected competition undefeated, something first-time head coach Darrin Hebditch was proud of.

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''It was a massive effort [to be undefeated] … the first two days we played seven games so for the guys to show their fitness and their stamina to be able to dominate was just outstanding,'' Hebditch said.

''Adam Folkard and Andrew Kirkpatrick [are] the number one and number two pitchers in the world and they basically dominated the opposition.'' Equalling Western Australia's record was a major focus for the team, especially after losing in the 2009 national championships final in Canberra to its largest rival.

''Our drive this year was one, to win the title but two, to hopefully get a crack at WA and put them away in the final,'' Hebditch said.

''The guys have worked very hard and have set their sights on this for a couple of years as they could see themselves getting closer and closer [to the record].''

Zenon Winter was named the tournament's most valuable player and was also the leading run scoring for the event.

Winter was one of the three ACT batters in the top four highest scorers in the competition alongside teammates Nick Norton and Tim Crome.

Goolagong was named the player of the final and the 30-year-old rose to the occasion when it was required most.

''Jeff was the guy that stood up, delivered us the home run and got the win for us,'' Hebditch said.

In a sign of strength in Canberra the ACT's women's team just fell at the final hurdle and could not bring back the Gilley's Shield to Canberra after going down to NSW 2-1 yesterday.

The ACT team had beaten NSW in their two previous meetings in this round of the national competition but could not repeat that result in the final match.

''It was a tight game all the way and we can't complain it has been the nature of the competition,'' head coach Richard McCreedy said.

''It just didn't quite go our way but I am pleased with the performance.''

Brenda De Blaes, who scored the ACT's sole run from a home run in the third innings, was named the tournament's MVP.