Young pitcher's latest conquest is spot in Australian squad
SPORTING a t-shirt reading: Softball is life, Michael Ludkin epitomises the phrase. He spends every minute his family will allow him on the diamond.
Training and playing multiple days a week, Ludkin has a huge amount of experience for a lad who is only a pup, at just 14 years of age.
Success has followed from this dedication to the sport.
The latest conquest for this talented pitcher is a spot in the Australian under-17 squad.
After playing for the Queensland side, a feat impressive enough, Ludkin returned from Canberra not even thinking about the next level.
So when he found out his name was included on the green and gold list, it was a welcome surprise.
"I was shocked. I didn't believe it at first," Ludkin said with a smile.
"I was thinking about whether it was for real."
Still struggling to fully accept he is part of Australia's best, not just for his age, but in overall juniors, Ludkin remains down-to-earth about his blossoming softball career.
Giving back into the sport as well as playing and improving his own game, Ludkin can be found every Saturday umpiring matches for younger age groups.
Now a level one umpire, Ludkin is working towards a level one coaching certificate, ready to assist in duties at the upcoming U15 state titles.
On the personal front though, Ludkin is keeping things simple, training hard and staying prepared for anything.
"I am just going to keep training, work hard and hopefully reach my goals," he said humbly.
With a date set for July to travel to Sydney for the Friendship series as a part of the Australian squad, Ludkin has some time to work on his skills and impress his teammates.
Knowing a number of them through the Queensland side already, the transition into the national side will be made a little less daunting for the Gladstone softballer.
"I know a lot of them, mostly from the Queensland team," he said.
"My next trip away is to Mackay for Capricornia U19s.
"I am keen. Congratulations to everyone who has made it. I look forward to it."
Until then, Michael Ludkin will continue to work hard on the diamonds of Gladstone, awaiting his journey down to Blacktown.