Shaylan pitches in for kids

RISING softball player and this month's Junior Sports Star, Shaylan Elson has a tight grip on his career.

The 16-year-old Jamison High School student won the under-17 men's team national championship earlier this year.

He spends his weekends playing for Penrith Pirates and has impressed members of the Western Sydney Academy of Sport who selected him as 2011 Most Valuable Player and 2012 member.

Success came after years of practising, coaching and winning the under-15 Assistant Coach International Challenge.

Shaylan's favourite part of coaching is working with children and helping them discover what they can do.

"I have a few specialty coaches who help me with batting, third base or pitching," he said.

The five-year Penrith City softball representative began playing as a member of the Penrith Softball Club in 2002.

"I enjoy being on the diamond while playing with my teammates," he said.

"I will never forget flying out as a team to Melbourne in our uniform and playing at the famous ball park then winning."

The two-year NSW State Camp attendee said his father has played a key role in his career.

As the 2012 assistant coach international challenge winner, he hopes to represent Australia.

Shaylan said batting and fitness can be a struggle.

"Future goals are to win the under-19 National Championship, complete the Higher School Certificate and start a plumbing apprenticeship," he said.

"I'm going to continue to play softball until it hurts too much."

As the winner of this month's Penrith Valley Sports Foundation Junior Sports Star of the Month, Shaylan will receive a $400 cheque from sponsors, St Marys Leagues Club.

¦ Nominate a local athlete, details: www.pvsf.com.au

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