By: CHRIS BOULOUS
IT'S easy to forget Smithfield resident Hayden Mathews (pictured) is only 15; his softball
CV reads more like a veteran.
Club, school, regional, state and international honours — he has achieved them all in a bumper
What you can't forget is his powerful hitting, dedication and first base exploits on the diamond.
The judges of the Western Sydney Academy of Sport couldn't forget it either, naming
Hayden the 2011 male athlete of the year in only his second year in the high-
performance training unit.
"It was a shock that's for sure," Hayden said of the award which carries a $5000
"To win the award was very unexpected and a big honour."
This year has been the best of his 12 in the sport.
The Westfields Sports student was selected in the NSW under-17
team for the second successive year, NSW Combined high schools
and the Australian under-17 team for a friendship series against
It's a long way from when Hayden first started at Mount Pritchard
and Cabra Vale Bashers.
"I guess I was pretty lucky I picked softball up pretty quick when I was
younger and something that has always come naturally," he said.
"The good thing about softball is there is always something to learn or
improve so they keep me motivated to train harder."
Hayden will line-up for his second under-17 national titles in January.