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Emeralds' Manager Wearne to lead SA
National Team Coach joins SA as expanded SAWBL starts
10/20/2017 12:05 AM ET
SA Bite Women's State Team stars, Sarah Short, Chantel Keats, Carly Moore and Bianca Smith.
SA Bite Women's State Team stars, Sarah Short, Chantel Keats, Carly Moore and Bianca Smith. (Calum Robertson/The Advertiser)

With the 2017/18 SA Women's Baseball League season underway, Baseball SA is excited to announce the signing of Emeralds Manager, Simone Wearne, as manager for the SA State Team.

Wearne took over as manager of the National Team in 2013, and in doing so became the first woman to hold the position. As a player she also won the 2002 Women's Baseball World Series with Australia and at the 2006 World Cup was named in the All-Star Team.

Her arrival highlights Baseball SA's dedication to women's baseball in the state and Player Pathway & Development Manager, Matt Williams, believes there is no better person for the job.

"It shows that Baseball SA is serious with our state team and women's program," Williams said.

"It's a big thing that we're looking forward to improving our girls' skills and whoever we can bring on board we're happy to do that to make our women's program and state team better.

"Simone's got the unique experience that she's been through this system and seen the growth in women's baseball in Australia over the last 15-20 years. She's someone that has the contacts and has seen the development that is invaluable for a league that's starting up and especially for those trying to crack into the Emeralds."

Taking her place in the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012, Wearne's move to South Australia grew from a brief conversation as Landon Hernandez looked to move on from the manager's role.

"Talking to her at Nationals, Landon Hernandez had mentioned that he potentially was not going to do the state role next year," Williams explained.

"Out of a casual conversation he suggested that Simone would be good to do it and it just snowballed from there."

Meanwhile, the SAWBL returns for its third season and after humble beginnings with four league-run teams, there will be 12 club-run sides alongside just two league-run sides.

Having lead the way with two teams last season, Glenelg has shown other clubs can invest in the women's game. With 14 teams the focus for Baseball SA is both creating pathways and supporting a growing competition.

"The key to our league is just making it sustainable year on year and making it so people want to keep coming back," Williams said.

"The original plan when we set up the league, we had to show there was a pathway for women before clubs got involved.

"You can't really have a sustainable state team if you don't actually have any players that are playing in a league week in, week out."

For Baseball SA's Competition and Membership Coordinator, Bianca Smith, there is also a unique opportunity to experience working in baseball and playing for South Australia.

She has witnessed firsthand the opportunities created by the state league, and now the benefits of a national team manager coming to the state.

"From the state team, and having a couple of wins over in Canberra, other girls have thought that this year they'll give it a try," Smith said.

"It's definitely exciting to have Simone on board and work under someone that has that experience. Obviously being the head coach of the national team it's pretty exciting to have her down here.

"I hope people realise it's not something that happens very often and they take advantage of her coming down and coaching the state team."

Williams has also worked closely with women's baseball after coaching with the Emeralds in 2016, and he has already witnessed the short term gains of the SAWBL.

"We recently had an Emeralds team travel to Japan for a training camp and we had Ashleigh George over with those girls," he explained.

"She's a young girl who is hopefully on the right track to becoming an Emerald. We've also just recently released an Emeralds pitching squad which is an extended squad of potential pitchers for the World Cup in 2018.

"We have two players on the list plus one Friendship player that played with us last year from the Northern Territory; Sarah McMahon, Bianca Smith and Nikki Bacon.

"Hopefully as our league grows we get more people in these squads and get the first South Australian player to crack the Emeralds squad."

Roughly 200 girls and women will take part in the SAWBL with a spread of talent that will ensure an even season lies ahead.

"From what we've seen from a couple of clubs coming into train is a lot of them are at the beginner level so I think that will really even out the competition across all the teams," Smith said.

"Everyone is sort of on the same level so it will be interesting to see what the season is like."

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.