By Aiden Taylor

Southern Stars’ division two women’s baseball team are heading to the state title playoff after going undefeated in the regular season and toppling last year’s champs.

Their stellar run earned the Regents Park-based Stars a promotion to the northside division for next season and a place in the state title showdown against Sunshine Coast this Saturday.

“The team was awesome, it was a great team to be part of,” says player-coach Karen Gallpen, who has been rubbed out of the state title match through an injury sustained in the grand final last week.

A strong Ipswich Musketeers side was not enough to beat the Stars, who clinched a 12-7 victory.

“Competitively, we did really well, we beat Ipswich Red in our fixtures, so they were the top team from next year,” says Ms Gallpen.

She says it has to be more than 6 years since a Stars senior team last won a grand final and hopes this title will spur the club on to more success in the future.

“We’ve had teams get to the grand final and come second, but to win a title, we’re the first team to do it in a long time,” says Ms Gallpen.

“We had the club behind us, so all our male participants came in and were helping us with pitching and catching and batting.

“As I said to the girls, the accomplishment we made today is hopefully going to start something for the club.”

Regardless of the outcome this Saturday, Ms Gallpen could not be prouder of her young team.

“As a coach, I am so proud of the girls, we’ve got a lot of first and second year players,” she says.

“We’ve got a lot of family and friends playing, so my daughter plays and then I’ve got another mother and daughter that plays and then friends intertwined.

“I’ve had some of my girls playing for five and six years that have come up from under 14s and they’re now playing with me in seniors.”

Tactics meeting. Catcher Sarah Jane with Karen Gallpen.

One of the players Ms Gallpen has really enjoyed watching over the season is her pitcher turned catcher Sarah Jane, who she lured over to the Stars from Griffith Uni’s Southern Queensland Winter Baseball League team.

“She has been selected into the state team, which is absolutely fantastic,” says Ms Gallpen. “She’s one of the hardest working players I’ve seen in baseball – she trains almost everyday.”

‘Goat track’ no more: Stars’ home base gets a facelift

For a while, the Stars have been without a groundsman through illness, so the playing field was looking worse for wear, but not any more.

“They don’t call it a goat track anymore – our president at the moment, because our groundsman’s ill, is maintaining the fields,” Ms Gallpen says.

And now, the club’s looking better and more professional than ever thanks to new upgrades.

“We got lights, so that was huge, meaning we can now host our own masters games,” says Ms Gallpen.

“We had an upgrade in lights through state government and local government, we got the community benefit gambling fund which helped with other things, Bunnings came in and painted our bathrooms for us and everyone comments on how great it looks.”

The Stars start their state title match against Sunshine Coast at All Stars Baseball in Hendra this Saturday (December 19) at 12pm. Then they are back in action for the 2021 season on January 16.

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