6 February, 2024

Career highlight for young Cienna

Kilcoy Hammers soft baller Cienna Hayes’s first tournament in Queensland colours was a resounding success, as the maroons were undefeated in the U16 girls national championships in Waverley last month.

By Liam Hauser

Cienna Hayes savours Queensland winning the Esther Deason Shield.
Cienna Hayes savours Queensland winning the Esther Deason Shield.

Queensland beat Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and NSW twice, each before edging out NSW 1-0 in a semi-final.

In the decider, Queensland beat NSW 9-2 to secure the Esther Deason Shield.

“It was most definitely a career highlight to be not only representing my state, but to win my first ever national championship,” Cienna said.

“It felt amazing to know that all the hard work myself and my team had put in had all paid off in the end.”

Having begun her soft ball career about six years ago, Cienna said she was familiar with her Queensland teammates after playing with and against them in club and representative fixtures.

Cienna fielded at left field during the championships and made a couple of crucial contributions with the bat against NSW.

Trailing 9-0 in a round-robin game, Queensland appeared headed for defeat before Cienna hit a triple, scoring two vital runs as Queensland fought back and recorded a spectacular come-from-behind 11-10 win.

Cienna again came in for a pinch hit in the decider, hitting a double and scoring a run.

Cienna said Queensland seemed in control of most of its contests, except for the one when NSW had a strong lead.

“After being down 9-0, this was most definitely the hardest game, not only physically but mentally too, as NSW really controlled most of that game,” she said.

Cienna said she thought the key to Queensland’s success throughout the six days was playing as a team every game, both on and off the field.

“We were always doing things together and (were) just like one big family,” she said.

“Being so close to all the girls really gave us an unbreakable bond on the field, whichmade us never give up, no matter the score.”

Looking ahead, Cienna said making the Aussie team was one of her big goals.

“Selection takes place at nationals to make a squad, then if I get picked for that I would go to the AIS to hopefully make the team,” she said.

Having played for Kilcoy for two years and also played for the Caboolture-based Warriors and Redcliff e-based Cougars, Cienna said she was grateful to all of her coaches.

“I am especially grateful to Renee and Bruce from Kilcoy Hammers for always keeping it real with me,” she said.

“Their support and confidence in me means a lot.”


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