Kaia Parnaby is a pitcher for the Australian Women’s softball team, the Aussie Spirit, and has represented Australia at five World Championships winning two Bronze medals. The NSWIS scholarship holder will make her Olympic debut when she steps up to the pitcher’s circle at Tokyo 2020.
For Kaia, her Olympic spirit may have in fact ignited at age 10 when her primary school was chosen to perform at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Closing and Opening Ceremonies and also attended an Australia vs Italy softball match. The following year Kaia played her first game of softball in her primary school PE class where her teacher was also a local softball club coach. Her natural ability to pitch was then realised at a testing clinic and she was taken under the wing of the club pitching coach.
Dominating at the Junior level, the left handed pitcher was named in the NSW under 16 team at the age of 14 and won five Best Pitcher Awards at the junior level. Since then she has won six Gilley’s Shields withe the NSW Women’s Open Team, The Firestars.
Joining NSWIS in 2006, Kaia trained with the senior Australian players who were headed to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, giving her a glimpse of what it would be like to play at that level.
The Sydney-sider was part of the Australian team that won Bronze at the 2007 Junior Women’s World Championship. Two years later, at 18, she made her official debut for the Aussie Spirit at the 2009 Canada Cup. She has been a member of the Aussie Spirit ever since.
Targeted by a number of US colleges, the talented pitcher accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Hawaii in 2010. She broke multiple records in her final season and was awarded a number of honours, including NFCA All American. Kaia has also played seven seasons for the SGH Galaxy Stars in the Japan Women’s Softball League, where in 2020 she hit the 500-strikeout milestone. She is also a current member of the Aussie Peppers team who play in the US National Pro Fastpitch League, as part of a partnership with Softball Australia.
The dream of being an Olympian has been a long time in the making. After being omitted from the Olympic program after Beijing 2008, softball make its return at Tokyo 2020. With only six teams competing the Aussie Spirit had to defeat China in the last game of the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifier to secure the final place in the line up. Kaia pitched the final out for Australia to clinch the ticket to Tokyo.
Kaia was named on the Australian Olympic Team for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games in June 2021.