Tiaki Tewheoro has arrived in Hawke's Bay with the aim of resurrecting his softball career.
The 21-year-old former North Harbour, Auckland and Bay of Plenty representative had a two-year spell from the code while farming in Australia.
On Saturday he had his second outing for the unbeaten GSB Building Saints side in Hawke's Bay's premier men's competition and the pitcher-outfielder realised it may take him a little while to get back into the swing of things.
"It was more the hunger of wanting to hit the right spots and not quite getting them. It took a long time to come back but it's only my second game," Tewheoro said as he reflected on his three innings on the mound in a 13-5 win against defending champions Maraenui Pumas at Akina Park, Hastings.
Tewheoro struck out three of the 11 batters he faced while conceding six walks and two hits. Saints other pitcher, Tamihana Hokianga, struck out six of the eight batters he faced.
A 2008 knee injury prevented Tewheoro from attending a World Series with the Junior Black Sox. While in the Bay he intends to make the Hawke's Bay NFC squad and complete a building apprenticeship.
"Tiaki is a little bit down on himself but we're not disappointed. He hasn't played for a year or two and we know he is going to be a big asset to Hawke's Bay softball for the next three years at least," Saints coach Graham Scarfe said.
Scarfe also accepted Pumas were far from full strength and pointed out they will be a different outfit with Black Sox squad pitcher Regan Manley on the mound. Saints catcher Joe O'Leary smashed an automatic home run.
Saints left outfielder and former Junior Black Sox utility Jovaan Hanley collected three hits from as many turns at bat. Centre outfielder Luke Woon, first baseman Bryan Dellow and second baseman Devontae Roberts all collected two hits from three turns at bat.
"This is a rebuilding year for us. We used three under-14 players and two veterans in Kevin Wildermoth and Zane Mitchell so we could get nine players on the diamond," Pumas manager Vicky Julian said.
"We'll be more of a force when Regan [Manley] returns and Karaitiana comes home from his university commitments in Auckland," she added referring to catcher Karaitiana Aranui.
First baseman Wildermoth and catcher Mitchell both produced hits for Pumas.
In Saturday's other premier men's game Fast Pitch maintained their unbeaten run with an 8-2 victory against the winless Napier Vikings. Fast Pitch short stop and former Black Sox training squad member Curtis Huata hit a three bagger.
Fast Pitch first baseman and former Junior Black Sox utility Mario Herbert collected two hits from three turns at bat while pitcher Jordan Waterhouse conceded two hits.
Winning coach Cory Tamati was disappointed his troops only had one run on the score sheet until the fourth inning.
Viking player-coach Scotty Mitchell was thrilled with the improvement displayed by his side. Former Fast Pitch catcher Matt Williams smashed a home run in the seventh inning with Canadian centre outfielder Austin Mark on base for his side's two runs.
Mitchell and Tamati are co-coaching the Hawke's Bay NFC team and will announce their squad later this week.