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Anthony • 15 mins
By Joshua Papanikolaou (PSG Staff)
Queensland started the 2017 Pacific School Games with a big victory in the under 17s softball competition posting a 14-0 win against Victoria in front of a sizeable crowd of family and friends.
Amongst those in the bleachers was proud mum and four-time Olympic pitcher Tanya Harding who was supporting her daughter Renee who played in the outfield for the winning side at Adelaide Shores.
“Yeah, I do some coaching with her, but it’s difficult coaching your own kids,” Harding laughed.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, they don’t want to hear it from you, parents don’t know anything.
“It will be a fun week, this is her first time away with the schoolgirls at Queensland level.
“It’s really cool that there is a whole lot of sports and other countries, it’s almost like a mini Commonwealth Games for kids, it’s really good.”
The team will likely face their best competition against New South Wales, who had a few of their girls play at the Junior League Softball World Series last year.
“It’s a pretty cool atmosphere, I’ve never been to something like this before,” Renee said after the game.
“I like how there is a different range of sports you can go to and watch, and everyone is just so supportive.
“So, it’s going to be fun this week, I’ve played club and rep softball with some of the girls before, so it will be really fun.
“I also want to go and watch touch football and soccer.”
Harding won three bronze and a silver Olympic medal during a career that saw her ranked in the top five pitchers in the world for over a decade and the only player to ever win every award at a national championship.
Since retiring from the game, she coached a few junior teams but has mostly passed on her experience of more than 260 games for Australia on to the next generation as a pitching coach.
“I probably played a bit more softball than Renee at her age, as she plays a few other sports as well, and different positions on the field, which is good,” Harding explained.
“And I was the youngest of five kids who were heavily involved in softball, so I started a lot younger.
“Nah, no not at all (laughs), we tried but she wasn’t really interested in pitching… I really liked it, enjoyed the challenge and always wanted to be a pitcher.”