Saints softballers go back to back
Defending champions Saints retained Hawke's Bay's premier men's softball pre-Christmas competition title in emphatic fashion tonight.
The Luke Woon-coached Saints team needed just five innings to beat Fast Pitch 7-0 at Akina Park, Hastings. Third seeds, Fast Pitch, beat top qualifiers Mets 8-2 earlier today.
Saints scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning. New Zealand Black Sox training squad pitcher Adam Woon, who celebrated his 22nd birthday yesterday with teammate and twin brother Bradley Woon, hit a double to score his former Junior Black Sox teammate Jacob Zurcher.
Second baseman Daniel Green scored on a pass ball and Adam Woon came home on a pass ball. Saints remaining four runs were scored in the fourth inning.
Short stop Hoani Crawford smashed a three bagger to score player-coach and first baseman Luke Woon.
Third baseman Tridan McClutchie hit Crawford home, catcher Sam Coldicutt hit McClutchie home and centre outfielder Ben Foxall scored when Adam Woon was walked with the bases loaded.
Adam Woon struck out eight of the 17 batters he faced while conceding four hits.
Fast Pitch used Tamihana Hokianga on the mound until Crawford's three bagger two batters into the bottom of the fourth. Hokianga struck out four of the 14 batters he faced while conceding six hits.
Hokianga was replaced by 15-year-old Nopera Tangaroa who struck out one of the eight batters he faced while leaking three hits and two walks. Tangaroa is a son of Black Sox pitching legend Chubb Tangaroa.
Coach Woon was thrilled with his troops display.
"The boys are working hard and got a well deserved win. This is another step towards our campaign at the March national interclub tournament.
The post-Christmas comp title is the next goal," Woon said.
He pointed out with Hawke's Bay's National Fast Pitch tournament entry being accepted there will be no shortage of talent for the side from within the Bay.
"I'm here for the good of all the Hawke's Bay players and I will be happy to take players from other Hawke's Bay teams to clubs," Woon added.
Fast Pitch coach Quentin Chadwick pointed out the hot sun had taken its toll on his lads.
"Saints turned up to play and we couldn't match their intensity after being out in the sun all day. Looking back Tamihana [Hokianga] should not have pitched for our Sliders team in their 2pm game after pitching the entire noon match against Mets. But the Sliders were short and Tamihana wanted to help them out."
Mets failed to produce any safe hits off Hokianga and third baseman Elijah Mataira, a Junior Black Sox World Championship player last summer, was Fast Pitch's hero with the bat. Mataira smashed an automatic home run with two runners on base.
In other finals today Saints Green pipped Fast Pitch Sliders 3-1 for the senior B men's championship title, Flaxmere beat Hastings Vikings 10-2 for the senior B men's plate and Fast Pitch beat Taradale High School 7-1 for the under-18 boys title.
On Wednesday night Flaxmere pipped Saints 11-10 in the women's final.