Softball: Dodgers show title credentials

By Shane Hurndell

Hawke's Bay will field a women's team for the first time in the National Fast Pitch softball tournament this season.

If the performance of the province's top side, Dodgers, in their first two matches in the Wellington-Hutt Valley intercity competition on Sunday is an indication expect Hawke's Bay to be a force at the December 6-9 North Harbour-hosted NFC. Dodgers beat defending champions Johnsonville 3-2 and 8-7 in their Johnsonville-hosted doubleheader.

"Any win down in Wellington by a Bay side is a good one so to get two against the defending champions is a good confidence booster," Dodgers head coach and Junior White Sox assistant coach Kevin Gettins said.

In the first game Dodgers opened the scoring in the second inning when Junior White Sox training squad catcher Emma Houkamau, who played at right outfield, batted in first base player Whitney Nohokau and 16-year-old White Sox pitcher Courtney Gettins hit a double, which scored former White Sox infielder Angela Stubbs.

Dodgers scored their third run in the seventh inning when left outfielder Jade Hoskin-Hindmarsh batted in Houkamau. Johnsonville scored both of their runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Pitcher Gettins collected six strikeouts while conceding six hits in the game. Her deputy Ashleigh Harmer pitched the second game, which saw Johnsonville establish a 4-0 lead before Dodgers scored five runs in the bottom of the third inning.

Centre outfielder Taya Lee Halbert hit two doubles in the third inning which also saw Stubbs and Houkamau hit doubles. Nohokau and outfielder Ashlyn Obers hit singles.

Dodgers scored another two runs in the fourth inning and Johnsonville scored two runs in the fifth to tie the score at 7-all. The bottom of the seventh inning saw White Sox catcher Melanie Gettins hit Stubbs home for the winning run.

Coach Gettins was thrilled with the manner his troops clawed their way back from the four-run deficit and also the manner in which Harmer contained the Johnsonville batters at the business end of the game. Harmer conceded nine hits while Dodgers collected 10 off the Johnsonville batters.

Dodgers will attempt to retain their Saints tournament title when they play in the capital on November 3 and 4.

Dodgers have opted to play premier ball in the capital because there isn't a premier women's competition in the Bay.

On Saturday, Dodgers opened their account in Hawke's Bay's senior B women's competition with a three inning 16-1 drubbing of Maraenui Pumas at Akina Park, Hastings. Fourteen-year-old second base player Samarah Simmons and former Wellington age group representative, short stop Renee England, both smashed grand slams (home runs with bases loaded) in the victory.

Hawke's Bay premier men's fixtures at Akina Park on Saturday saw Saints wallop Napier Vikings 10-0 and Fast Pitch hand Maraenui Pumas a 14-2 drubbing.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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