Fever pitch as rising Arnold softball star Josh Peat aims for home run
A NOTTS sports star of the future is on a mission to raise money to play in the world softball championships.
Nineteen-year-old Joshua Peat, of Warren Hill Close, Arnold, has been playing softball for more than ten years.
He is a regular in the GB men's fast-pitch softball team, which came third in the European championships in Holland in July last year.
With this, the team have qualified for the world championships in New Zealand early next year – but each player has to raise £1,800 to make the journey.
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Josh said: "It is a lot of money to raise in a short time but, as softball isn't an Olympic sport any more, we don't qualify for UK Sport sponsorship, which is a shame.
"Going to New Zealand and representing my country at the world championships would be an amazing thing for me and that's why I'm hoping people will support me."
Softball is similar to baseball, although it is played on a larger pitch. It was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1996 and played at each Olympics until 2008.
To help raise cash for the trip to New Zealand, friends and family of Josh organised an event on Saturday at Bestwood Park Community Centre, in Beckhampton Road.
Activities included a bouncy castle, cakes and a raffle, with all proceeds going towards the fund to get Josh on the plane to Auckland.
Josh said: "I've been playing softball since I was nine, when a couple of Americans came to my school and encouraged us to give it a go.
"From then, it's just been a strange but exciting few years as I've become more dedicated to the sport – I love it. It's seen me travel across the country and I just enjoy every game.
"The other thing that is spurring me on with the fundraising is the thought of playing in the final. It will be on March 10, my 20th birthday, and it would just be perfect."
Josh has received donations from former teams and teammates.
His mum, Patricia, 46, of Bestwood Park, said: "One way or another, we'll make sure he's on that plane.
"We're so proud of what he has achieved already – to be given the chance to represent the country in a world championship is fantastic.
"We want him there come March. He's had a lot of support from the people around him and we're trying our hardest to raise the money."
Josh, who works in a day nursery and has a six-month-old child, Bryce, said he was grateful to former clubs and coaches for helping with the fundraising.
One of the key organisers of the day was Adrian Tongue, father of Josh's partner, Amy.
The 51-year-old said: "We've had people come down from as far away as Mablethorpe today to support Josh and help get him to these championships..
Anyone who would like to contribute towards Josh's costs for the world championships can get in touch by e-mailing email@example.com.