Hawke's Bay softballer Kane Herbert displayed the benefits of his winter stint in the United States when playing for his club side Fast Pitch in Lower Hutt at the weekend.
The versatile Herbert smashed three home runs during Fast Pitch's campaign at the Doreen Dalton tournament. Herbert, who spent the winter playing for the Wisconsin-based The Bar of Appleton team, hit all three on Sunday, the first during a 5-3 loss to Hutt Valley Dodgers, the second during a 6-2 loss to Miramar and the third during a 5-4 tiebreaker loss to Porirua.
On Saturday Fast Pitch, Hawke's Bay's second-ranked men's team but sole entry at the tournament, lost 7-0 to Miramar, 2-0 to Porirua and 6-0 to Hutt Valley Dodgers.
"Considering a third of our team were from our young B grade team we were happy with how competitive we were," Fast Pitch manager Craig Waterhouse said.
He was referring to the fact six of his regular players were unavailable for the Labour Weekend event and four of the 11-strong squad, pitcher Isaiah Tangaroa, Drew Duthie, Stirling Bartlett and Daniel Green, are all under-19 players.
"It shows Hawke's Bay softball is in great shape. These results will give us plenty of confidence when we return on Sunday for our first lot of games in the capital's intercity competition," Waterhouse said.
Fast Pitch will play Hutt Valley Dodgers twice on Sunday and Hutt Valley Marist once. Waterhouse said Fast Pitch would play three weekends before Christmas, one in January and two in February in the capital as part of the side's build-up to the March 20-24 national men's interclub tournament in Christchurch.
Waterhouse's son, Jordan, who also played in the United States last winter, conceded just one earned run in the 7-0 loss to Miramar. Errors proved costly for his side in this game.
Waterhouse jnr conceded no earned runs in the 2-0 loss to Porirua. Fast Pitch reduced their error rate in this match but Porirua capitalised on one error and scored both of their runs on an over-throw.
Tangaroa pitched in the 6-0 loss to Hutt Valley Dodgers. During the 5-3 loss to Hutt Valley Dodgers, Fast Pitch led 3-0 until the fifth inning.
Tangaroa, a son of three-time world champion Chubb Tangaroa, pitched again in the 6-2 loss to Miramar. Fast Pitch led 3-0 during the first four innings of their tiebreaker loss to Porirua and like Herbert former Black Sox training squad member Curtis Huata also hit a home run in this game.