Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Grinning & Gold; Queensland Didn't Want Him, So Routledge Made Hay with WA

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Grinning & Gold; Queensland Didn't Want Him, So Routledge Made Hay with WA

Article excerpt

Byline: Callum Dick Callum.Dick@qt.com.au

JOSH Routledge scrolls through images on his phone and pauses at a blurry video.

It's difficult to make out exactly what he's looking at, but Josh promises it's his softball bat - considered a top of the line model, and one which cost his parents a pretty penny.

There's a crack running through the centre. It's hard to pick out, because he's done a good job restoring it. But the crack is there.

These bats are meant to last for years. This one didn't make it 18 months.

But just like his mitt and his cleats - both showing signs of considerable wear and tear - Josh's bat has done the job he needed it to.

It's the price you pay to stay at the top of the junior game. And right now, Josh is at the pinnacle.

The Redbank Plains teenager will represent Australia on a tour of New Zealand in April, after helping Queensland to an Under-17 National Championships Title in Adelaide at the beginning of January.

The 17-year-old has previously pulled on the green and gold of Australia, but that was as part of a development squad.

This time, the stakes are higher. Perform well across the ditch, and a place in the squad for the Junior World Cup in March 2020 is there for the taking.

"Unreal" was all Josh could muster when reflecting on his selection.

Not because he was too overwhelmed by the news, but because he preferred to talk about something else.

About his non-selection for Queensland at the Under-19 National Championships and, more specifically, how he made his home state regret that decision.

Admittedly not expecting to crack the U19 Queensland side as a bottom-age player, Josh was still left disappointed when the news came through he would be a last-minute cut.

That news was tempered somewhat when he was told Western Australia needed a utility and he was their first call. …

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