Talk about a dream start. Hawke's Bay Under 15 boys softball coach Ken Price was happy to, after day one of his team's North Island triumph in Hastings yesterday.
"Every thing we worked on in training came off, particularly our base running. The boys were very aggressive and hustled really well," said Price as he reflected on a 16-0 thrashing of Waikato and a 8-1 drubbing of Auckland Development at Akina Park.
Infielder Harris Soloman, one of the slickest base runners in the side, collected three hits from four turns at bat against Waikato including a three bagger and an automatic double. He collected another hit against Auckland Development.
Hard-hitting catcher Jacob Mita also smashed a three-bagger against Waikato and produced two hits from three turns at bat against Auckland Development. Mita's Maraenui Pumas premier team mate Tiwana Awanui produced three hits from as many turns at bat against Waikato and on the mound struck out five of the 21 batters he faced while conceding five hits.
"I was particularly pleased with how we went against Auckland Development as I had to change our infield around because of injuries sustainedi n the first game," said Price.
His side was scheduled to play Whanganui, Wellington Development and Auckland today. Two wins from the side will be enough to keep them on target for a berth in Sunday morning's semifinal.
Hawke's Bay under 15 girls side are also in semifinal contention after the first day of their North Island tournament being played at Haitaitai Park in Wellington.
The Kevin Gettins coached side opened the tournament with a 3-0 loss to Wellington. Coach Gettins opted to rest his top pitcher-catcher combination of Courtney Gettins and Emma Houkamau in this clash so they could comply with the share the load rule which does not allow them to face more than 45 batters on a day when they have three games.
In the Bay's next two games Gettins and Houkamau continued the form which saw them become the dominate pitcher-catcher duo in Hawke's Bay' premier woman's pre-Christmas competition. In a 4-3 win against Auckland, Gettins took 13 strike outs while conceding two hits. As Hawke's Bay thrashed Waikato, Gettins struck out 13 of the 16 batters she faced while conceding no hits and no walks.
Coach Gettins was concerned his troops weren't hitting as well as they should have been. They produced three hits against Wellington and the same score against Auckland.
"We've got three days to rectify this and hopefully will peak when it counts ... on the final day," said Gettins.
His side was scheduled to play North Harbour, Hutt Valley and Wellington Development today.