A PITCHER and catcher have a similar relationship to a pilot and co-pilot of a commercial jet.
Epping teenager Emily Read, 15, is the pitcher.
She determines the speed and flight-path of the ball and where it will land.
Jessica Micallef, 16, is the Greystanes catcher.
She acts as an observer, a motivator, a calming influence should Emily pitch one too many balls off course.
And the fielders, they are the passengers — holding on for dear life and hoping the plane won't crash.
In February the two girls will take to the field along with other NSW under-17s women's softball teammates.
It is the second consecutive year the girls have been chosen to represent the waratah state.
Emily said she was prepared for turbulent times during the competition.
But with Jessica by her side, she was confident she would perform well.
"NSW has won the nationals the last 11 years so I am pretty nervous," she said.
"There's lots of pressure on me [because as pitcher] you're in charge of the game and people rely on you.
"It gets very loud especially with the girls cheering.
"You have to block everything out and pretend it's just you and the catcher.
"Jess is a character and we're good friends outside of softball.
"I wouldn't ask for another catcher."
Jessica will also head into the tournament full of confidence.
She trains six days a week and has a couple of fitness regimes on the side.
She hoped she would help NSW win.
"Especially at nationals it will be hot and in the middle of summer, so when everyone is tired I want to be strong not weak," she said.
"You train really hard so when you accomplish something it feels good.
"NSW have a reputation for winning and you want to continue that reputation.
"Now I'm not nervous but you always get exciting nerves before nationals."