Angela Mourtzios and Faith Neretlis aim high in baseball – The Greek Herald

Two young Greek Australians have spoken to The Greek Herald about their love for baseball and representing the Greek community in a sport that is typically male dominated. This comes as the Women’s Baseball National Championships take place from Tuesday, April 2 to Monday, April 8 this year.

Angela Mourtzios

Angela Mourtzios​​​, a 19-year-old university student from Adelaide, South Australia, told The Greek Herald she developed her love for baseball after commencing tee-ball when she was younger.

“I started playing tee-ball when I was seven and played a couple of years until I moved up to baseball,” Angela said.

“I could have taken the same path as a lot of girls and moved over to softball, but baseball just seemed a lot more exciting to me.”

Angela said she loves the challenge of baseball as “there’s always something to improve.”

“I also really enjoy the team aspect of the game. As much as you individually have to perform well, it takes a whole team effort to be successful,” she said.”

“Our club season didn’t go as well as we were hoping for this past season, but we’ve got a great bunch of ladies and junior girls coming through. I’m looking forward to seeing where we can go in the next few years.”

Angela Mourtzios.
Angela Mourtzios.

The South Australian baseball player is in Melbourne, Victoria this week to represent the Adelaide Angels in the division 1 women’s baseball team. She will serve as a pitcher and outfielder.

“It feels really good to be out representing SA again at this year’s nationals after taking last season off with injury. I’m looking forward to seeing how we compete with other states, and hopefully come home with a medal,” Angela said.

Being one of the only players at the tournament with Hellenic heritage, Angela said she was proud to represent the Greek community in SA.

“It makes me feel proud and I know my yiayia and pappou are super excited to see how I go,” she said.

“They sacrificed a lot to come to Australia from their villages in the Amyntao region in western Macedonia when they were in their early twenties to give their children, and now their grandchildren, the opportunities they wouldn’t have if they stayed in Greece.”

Angela said she plans to continue pursuing her passion for baseball.

“After I graduate, I’m hoping to get a job potentially in the marketing industry while continuing to play baseball at a high level,” she said.

“One day I would like to be considered for the Emeralds – the Australian Women’s Baseball Team, but I’ve got to keep working hard and putting in the effort to get there.”

Faith Neretlis

Faith Neretlis is a baseball coach from Western Australia. She coaches the Western Australian U16 Youth Women’s State team and said she loved coaching as it provides a “different perspective on baseball.”

“You don’t realise it until you’re coaching, how different situations are when you are a coach, compared to competing. It has allowed me to understand the kind of work that goes behind every training session and game,” Faith told The Greek Herald.

“It’s just such a different world, but you still get the opportunity to be involved. Even if I’m not competing, I’m still there in that atmosphere and I get to help and support the next generation of women in baseball, which I really enjoy.”

Faith Neretlis is a baseball coach from Western Australia.
Faith Neretlis is a baseball coach from Western Australia.
Faith and her dad
Faith and her Dad.
Faith and the WA Youth Wmen's team (used to be called WA HEAT) 1JPEG (002)dddd
Faith and the WA Youth Wmen’s team (used to be called WA HEAT).

The 19-year-old said her love for baseball stemmed through the influence of her father, Mark Neretlis, who played baseball through most of his life. Alongside her younger brother, Jesse, Faith was introduced to the sport at an early age.

“My dad was the one who kind of introduced us to it,” Faith said.

 “My younger brother, who is 17, also plays baseball and we grew up playing together.

“Growing up, it wasn’t a typical sport for women, it was kind of more male dominated, but I was in a mixed team, which I really liked as it meant I could be in the same team as my brother.”

As a coach of Greek heritage hailing from Florina, Northern Greece, Faith said she felt proud to be one of the only Greek Australian coaches at this week’s championship in Melbourne. This will be her second time coaching the Under 16’s team.

“I’m not sure if there’s much baseball in Greece, so it feels great to be able to represent [her Greek heritage] in something that’s not as common,” Faith said.

 “We’ve got a great group of girls this year that have worked really hard, and I’m really interested to see how they play in the tournament and to see how the other states have developed as well.”

Angela and Faith are both taking part in the Women’s Baseball National Championships at Melbourne Ballpark in Altona from Tuesday, April 2 to Monday, April 8 this year.

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