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White Sox blend experience with new faces as squad named for Asia Pacific Cup

The White Sox have welcomed back some veterans and introduced some new faces as part of a 15-strong squad for the Asia Pacific Cup later this month.

White Sox batter Lara Andrews swings at the 2019 Asia Pacific Cup. Source: 1 NEWS

Roman Gabriel has named his first team since taking over as the White Sox's new coach last month and has opted for a variety in experience, mixing debutants with current mainstays and also recalling some veterans who have been on international hiatus.

"The team is a mixed collection of some new faces and some experienced players," Gabriel said.

"Good performances by Brooke Whiteman, Nerissa McDowell and Otila Tavite at the recent under 23 nationals in Christchurch have seen a call up and their debut for the women's national team.

"The recall of the likes of the Bromhead sisters Rebecca and Kyla will help lead these younger players alongside the current experienced players such as Lara Andrews, Krysta Hoani and Mereana Makea who have been in the team a while now."

White Sox infielder Ashley Johnston makes a diving out for the Emeralds during the Summer Slam. Source: 1 NEWS

Of note, only four players from the 15-strong squad that competed at last year's failed Olympic Qualifiers in Shangai have been retained and Gabriel's squad consists of only New Zealand-based players. The Olympic Qualifers squad featured five US-based players.

Gabriel said those who missed out on selection will still have plenty of chances to prove themselves for the 2021 World Championships though.

"We will look to name a wider squad later in the year as we start our journey towards the 2021 World Cup, but for now these players have an amazing opportunity to play against some of the top teams in the world."

The Asia Pacific Cup will feature four of the six nations who have qualified for next year's Olympics in Tokyo; World No.2 Japan, No.5 Mexico No.7 Australia, and No.9 Italy. Sixth-ranked Chinese Taipei and the World No.11 White Sox round out the competition.

"I hope this group realise how lucky they are as it was very tough to narrow the selection of players in front of us down to only 15," Gabriel said.

"Ideally it would have been good to initially work with the wider squad, but an opportunity like this does not come around often so you have to take those opportunities when you can.”

The Asia Pacific Cup will take place from January 30 to February 2 at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney.

White Sox squad for 2020 Asia Pacific Cup

Pitchers:
Tyla Morrison (Auckland)
Amy Begg (Canterbury)
Loran Parker (Auckland)

Catchers:
Otila Tavite (Hutt Valley)
Kyla Bromhead (Auckland)

Infield:
Lara Andrews (Hutt Valley)
Ashley Johnston (Hutt Valley)
Caitlyn Lewin (Hutt Valley)
Brooke Whiteman (Auckland)

Outfield:
Krysta Hoani (Auckland)
Nerissa McDowell (Canterbury)

Utilities:
Mereana Makea (Auckland)
Rebecca Bromhead (Auckland)
Lucy McIntyre (Canterbury)
Erin Blackmore (Hutt Valley)