Mon, Mar 4, 2024 6:06 PM

Softballers dominate Nelson rivals


Peter Jones

Softball’s prized Seddon Shield is in Marlborough hands after the host province dominated their Nelson rivals across four of the five grades at Lansdowne Park on Sunday.

Marlborough prevailed 16-5 in the under-13 mixed and 17-7 in the under-15 girls match-ups, but the local under-15 boys were beaten 14-4.

The senior men’s and women’s clashes were both double headers, and all won by the local combinations.

Marlborough's Sharae Sinclair sends down another pitch.

The women fronted up on both attack and defence on the main diamond, romping past their rivals 15-0 in the first encounter, then prevailing 17-7 in the second.

They did most of the damage in the first inning of the opening match, scoring 10 runs, then added one in the second and four in the third to engage the mercy rule. Lisa Allen, Gavonnica Woods, Wiri Bristowe, Sharae Sinclair, Tracey Barclay, Jazmine Moon, Pera Wills, Brya Rousell, Sommer Baumas and Mallory Barrett-Rawiri all scampered across home plate at regular intervals to maintain their winning momentum.

In their second clash the home side again dominated early, scoring eight runs in the second inning to set them on a path to comfortable victory.

Wiri Bristowe signals to the dug out during the first women's game.

The men also enjoyed their time at the plate, beating Nelson 13-2 in their first clash, then coming away victorious in a much-tighter second match, winning 5-2 to complete a satisfying day for the local softball community.

Marlborough’s men showed their batting firepower to good effect. Solid hitting off Nelson hurler Jack Fletcher saw Drew Roberts, Braden Healy, Will MacDonald, Campbell Gill and Blake Wisdom cross home plate in the first inning. They added six more in the second and two more in the third to end the first match under the mercy rule after the top of the fourth.

Tyler Bird rounds the bases on Sunday.

With Will MacDonald throwing strongly on the mound, backed up by the in-fielders, Nelson were unable to make much of a dent in the home side’s advantage.

The second clash was tighter, Nelson leading 2-1 after the third but three runs to Marlborough in the fourth and one more at the top of the fifth was enough to get the job done, Rawiri Bird stepping in on the mound for MacDonald. This match was notable for a couple of double plays, capping a fine all-round effort.

Mallory Barrett-Rawiri fires down a pitch for Saints on Saturday.

On Saturday, Marlborough men’s side Saints Rams met Nelson-based Stoke Eagles in a double-header, as part of the top of the south club competition.

It was a tough day for the local side, who lost both games.

In the first clash they went down 11-4. The match was evenly poised through the first few innings before Eagles found their range with the bat, quickly putting the result out of Saints’ reach. Sixteen-year-old pitcher Mikaere Woods was on the mound for the local side, his first outing in the competition. A highlight for the locals was a home run by Drew Roberts.

Willem Hayton gets bat to ball.

The second encounter was much closer, Eagles prevailing 6-5.

In the local women’s competition Central enjoyed two big wins, beating Wairau 16-5 and Saints 18-5. Charley-Lee Taoho picked up a hat-trick of home runs for Central.

The other match saw Waitohi defeat Saints 22-12 in a free-scoring match-up.

Marlborough pitcher Will MacDonald on the mound.

Marlborough Softball Association president Lawrence Allen says the successful Seddon Shield weekend underlines the fact “a lot is being done to secure a solid future for softball in the province.”.

“Softball NZ have been to Marlborough once already this season and they will be back here next week for a meeting to discuss resources we can use going forward.

“And Wiremu Tamaki the SNZ Chief Umpire will be here on March 16 to umpire our women's finals.

“Plus, the Marlborough District Council have paid $30k already this season investing in four brand new back stops, two for Lansdowne Park, taking us to four diamonds, and two at Endeavour Park Picton. They'll arrive in August in time for next season,” Lawrence added.

“The new committee are doing a great job … I would like them to stay for a more years. They're magic.”

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