The New Zealand White Sox are on track for the top eight playoffs after their first two games at the world women's softball championships in Canada.
The White Sox, including Hawke's Bay catcher Melanie Gettins and Auckland-based former Bay pitcher Michal Tangaroa, opened their campaign with a 7-3 win against Mexico on Saturday and yesterday were beaten 7-0 by Japan. Before Gettins left the Bay with the national team she said the White Sox had targeted Mexico, Great Britain, who they play today, Italy and Chinese Taipei as section play opponents they must beat to reach the top eight.
Japan, silver medallists at the 2010 world championships in Venezuela where New Zealand finished 12th, scored four runs in the first inning yesterday and three in the fourth. When the match ended in the fifth inning the Japanese had out-hit the Kiwis 8-2.
Gettins produced three assists and 11 pick offs and took two catches in the loss.
Gettins was also the starting catcher against Mexico, a game in which the Kiwis collected 13 safe hits, three of them to Hutt Valley's Lara Andrews.
Lead off batter Krysta Hoani, who had two RBIs, pitcher-outfielder Taylor Paige-Stewart and Australia-based infielder Brook McManus had two safe hits each.
Shortstop Ellie Cooper smashed a triple and designated hitter Courtney Maihi produced a two-bagger for the Kiwis.
Mexico scored three runs and took five safe hits off Paige-Stewart to lead 3-2 after three innings. The White Sox took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth when Maihi got on base with her double and scored on a McManus single and Danica Ferriso, running for Gettins, also scored.
Tangaroa, a daughter of Hawke's Bay and New Zealand pitching legend Chubb Tangaroa, was introduced in the bottom of the fourth. She shut out the Mexicans, collecting seven strikeouts while conceding one hit. New Zealand added another three runs in the top of the sixth. Tangaroa struck out three Mexicans for the victory in the bottom of the seventh.