Softball success for Whitby Collegiate


Story courtesy of College Sport Media

Whitby Collegiate School sport is on the rise, with the girls softball team winning last week’s College Sport Wellington Senior Softball Tournament at Fraser Park.

They did so with a youthful team, fielding just two year 13s in the squad and one of those players was sidelined with injury.

The other senior player, captain and pitcher Bailey Symons, is herself coming back from a major injury setback when she cruelly broke her hand two days before her scheduled departure to the USA with the Junior White Sox last June.

Now back to full fitness, Bailey led her team to a clean sweep of wins in last week’s CSW tournament – beating Wellington East Girls College 5-0, St Mary’s College 10-0 and then St Mary’s again in the final, 5-0.

Bailey threw a perfect game – meaning no runners got on base - against Wellington East.

“In the first game against St Mary’s we took the opportunity to give our young players some valuable gametime, with everyone playing well,” Bailey told College Sport Wellington.

Bailey then pitched the final, taking seven strikeouts and only conceding two hits, while the batters took five hits off Junior White Sox player Angela Harrison.

Bailey explained the age spread of the team: “Matangihau Nuku and I are the two year 13s, we have no year 12s and the rest of the team is comprised of year 11s and year 10s. So it’s a young group who will hopefully keep building over the next few years.”

This result follows on from Whitby Collegiate finishing runners-up to Tawa College last year and beating Wellington East in the 2022 final.

Most of Whitby Collegiate’s team plays for two clubs in the Hutt Valley, either female-focused club Saints or for Totata Park, the players coming together to represent the school.

Bailey plays for Saints. “Both Saints and Totara Park are in the playoffs for the Hutt Valley Premier Youth Grade, which will be played over the next few weeks.”

Despite not playing regularly for school, the foundations of last week’s success were down to their time together on tour last September.

“We toured Japan for about two weeks and trained with local universities and played eight games against local colleges. We also took in some of the cultural and sporting experiences of Japan, such as going to watch sumo wrestling and going to a baseball game.

“Last week was our first time playing back together, so we were really excited to show what we had learnt overseas and how we had developed together as a group.”

Whitby’s team is also coached by Junior White Sox head coach and former international Kiri Shaw and by Bailey’s father, former Black Sox player Craig Symons.

Next up is the NZSS Softball Nationals between 21-23 March.

“We are heading to Division 2 Nationals in Auckland. We have been to this same tournament once previously, just losing the final. We are looking forward to the challenge this year because we don’t know what we are up against in Auckland and because of our young team – it will be a great experience.”

Most of the Whitby Collegiate team plays representative softball for Hutt Valley U15, U17 and U19 teams – Bailey, Matangihau and Bailey’s younger sister Dakota (year 11) played in the U19 tournament in Palmerston North in January.

Last year, Matangihau and Bailey were selected in the New Zealand Junior White Sox team that toured the heartland of the USA last July. But Bailey couldn’t make the trip.

“Two days before departure I got hit on the hand by a softball in training. I was pitching and the ball came back me and hit me on the pitching hand and my metacarpal bone right by my knuckle was broken. I needed to have surgery within the week.

“I returned to travel to Japan with my school, but on return from there I had to have another surgery and I was back playing again in January.”

Matangihau, who did tour the USA, has recently been sidelined with an ankle injury. “She has been injured since the end of January but hopes to be back with the team with me for Nationals.”

As well as the Junior White Sox overseas tour last year, a group of four U15 Whitby Collegiate players travelled to Japan in the middle of last year with the Developing White Sox team to play in their World Cup tournament. So, for these players, they made two trips to Japan last year.

Softball opens up opportunities for young players to gain university scholarships in the USA, which Bailey and many of her year 13 cohorts in the Wellington region are hoping to gain.

But for now, she is just concentrating on captaining her team to the upcoming Division 2 NZSS Nationals and for playing for her club team as the business end of the season approaches.

Many of Whitby Collegiate’s players will also be busy next term playing winter sports codes such as netball and basketball.


The Whitby Collegiate team that won the 2024 CSW Senior Softball Tournament was:

Bailey Symons (Captain)

Dakota Symons 

Kim-Marie Aurupa-Rakanui

Bella Coxson

Safira Schultz

Ella Smits 

Georgia Keall

Marcia Laurenson 

Montana Cavill-Fowler 

Matangihau Nuku



Kiri Shaw, Craig Symons


Manager and Scorer:

Katelyn Coxson, Mel Symons


Article added: Friday 08 March 2024


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