• Fast Pitch softballers rapt with Pumas gesture

Fast Pitch softballers rapt with Pumas gesture

Top marks for sportsmanship in Hawke's Bay's premier men's softball competition this season go to Maraenui Pumas.

Pumas pipped Fast Pitch 6-5 in yesterday's post-Christmas elimination semifinal at Akina Park, Hastings but Pumas player-coach Karaitiana Aranui told Fast Pitch coach Quentin Chadwick his troops could play in next Saturday's sudden death semifinal.

"It's only fair we let Fast Pitch go through. We defaulted to them on two occasions earlier in the season and we've had to borrow players to make up numbers in the post-Christmas competition," Aranui explained.

"We've had a lot of injuries and we're just happy to finish the season on a good note," Aranui said.

He pointed out former White Sox catcher Melanie Gettins played her second game for Pumas yesterday and her experience was crucial in helping rookie pitcher Hamish Long perform well.

"Hamish had his first premier game as a pitcher and did really well. He pitched the entire game," Aranui explained.

Long also scored the winning run in the final inning. Pumas had the last turn at bat, loaded the bases and short stop Aranui hit Long home.

First baseman Giovani Matairangi smashed an automatic home run over the left outfield fence on diamond one for Fast Pitch. Promising pitcher Nopera Tangaroa (pictured above), a son of Black Sox pitching legend Chubb Tangaroa did well in what was his third game of the day after earlier turning out for the Fast Pitch under-18s and development sides.

"Nopera will be running the show in a couple of seasons," Aranui said.

"We really appreciated the gesture from Pumas. I didn't tell my boys until after the game," Chadwick said.

The double life semifinal between Saints and Mets will be played on Thursday night. The winner of this game will secure a berth in next Saturday's final and the loser will take on Fast Pitch to determine the other finalists.

Mets and Saints didn't play yesterday as Saints pitcher Adam Woon was playing for beaten semifinalists Auckland United at the national interclub tournament in Lower Hutt and Mets pitcher Jordan Waterhouse was unavailable.

Meanwhile Porangahau hosted the annual keg game between the Maraenui Pumas and Fast Pitch Sliders senior B teams yesterday. Sliders handled the festivities better and took out the win.