Hawke's Bay's sole 2017-18 season national softball champion Adam Woon continued his winning ways in the province's premier men's club competition last night.
Two days after turning out for Hutt Valley, who beat defending champions Auckland 6-1 in the final of the country's most prestigious inter-provincial tournament, the National Fast Pitch Championship, in Auckland on Sunday Woon batted 1000 as his Saints team beat Fast Pitch 9-0 in five inning at Akina Park, Hastings.
Woon, 19, a member of the 2016 Junior Black Sox team which finished second at their Junior World Series in Michigan, was selected to play for Hutt Valley through the draft.
"It was a great opportunity. I basically got us to the semifinals because I had the bulk of the load during the first two days and Nik turned up for the final two days," he said referring to Black Sox pitcher Nik Hayes.
"I understand it was Hutt Valley's first provincial title in 18 years so it was pretty good to be a part of it. I didn't get on the diamond during the final but I did plenty of yelling and plenty of learning," Woon said.
In addition to Hayes, the other big name on the Hutt Valley roster was second baseman Joel Evans, the Black Sox star who hit a grand slam home run to secure the Kiwis seventh world championship gold medal last July.
"It was good to experience the professionalism those blokes bring on and off the diamond. I also picked up a few little things off Nik on how to get the better of the best batters."
Woon could face many of his Hutt Valley teammates should his Saints meet the Hutt Valley Dodgers side at the Hutt Valley-hosted national interclub tournament from March 8-11. He was one of four Hawke's Bay club players in action at the NFC.
Former Junior White Sox catcher Emma Houkamau played for the Canterbury team which finished third in the women's competition behind winners Hutt Valley and runners-up Auckland.
The Bay's White Sox pitcher-catcher combo of Rita Hokianga and Melanie Gettins turned out for Counties-Manukau who finished fifth in the six-team women's competition.
Former Hawke's Bay players, Horowai Puketapu, and Callum Lewis-Carson, a 2016 Junior Black Sox teammate of Woon, played for Wellington who missed out on a top four finish in the eight-team men's comp.
All three of Woon's hits last night were singles. He gave his pitching arm a rest and played short stop.
His father Paul Woon has taken over the Saints head coach role in the post-Christmas competition to allow his oldest son, Luke, to focus on playing.
"The most pleasing aspect of our win was our fourth string pitcher pitching a no-hitter," coach Woon, said referring to Canadian outfielder Bryan Johnson who collected seven strikeouts.
"Obviously Kyle [Canadian Crawford], Adam and Brodie Boyce are ranked ahead of Bryan in our pitching department but I kept him on the mound because he was going so well," coach Woon said.
Saints scored five runs in the first inning and four in the second. Ihaka Tangaroa and Te Rangi Chadwick shared the pitching for Fast Pitch.
Saints catcher Sam Coldicutt hit the only double in the game. Fast Pitch third baseman Ben Mackey-Gotty almost broke his hand while making a gutsy catch off a hit from Boyce and did well to continue playing.
Saints have recorded a win and a loss to date in the Bay's post-Christmas comp and coach Woon is happy with the way his troops are building towards the interclubs.
After the interclubs Saints' attention will turn to regaining the post-Christmas club title they lost to Flaxmere last year.
Saturday's premier men's matches will see Fast Pitch take on Flaxmere and Maraenui Pumas play Saints at Akina Park.