Softball: Gold, not silver lining for Gettins' family

Happy wedding anniversary mum and dad - from Courtney.

Hawke's Bay under-17 girls' softball coach Kevin Gettins and his wife and assistant coach, Charmaine, couldn't have asked for a better present from their youngest daughter, Courtney, in the buildup to their 25th wedding anniversary tomorrow.

On Sunday 16-year-old Courtney pitched Hawke's Bay to a 2-0 win against Canterbury in the final of their national tournament at Meadowlands Reserve in Auckland. Earlier in the day, she had pitched Hawke's Bay to a 14-2 win against Auckland in their semifinal. At the nine-team tournament's prizegiving Courtney was named most valuable player and top pitcher.

"It was a phenomenal effort ... not just from Courtney but from the entire squad. We're the first Hawke's Bay age-group team, boys or girls, to win back-to-back national age-group titles," coach Gettins explained.

The five-time national title winner with Bay age-group teams was referring to the fact he coached the Bay to the same title with a 2-0 win against Canterbury at last year's Christchurch-hosted nationals.

This year's team included six members of last year's side, Courtney, catcher Emma Houkamau, infielders Brooke Eden and Evana Schinkel and outfielders Ashlyn Obers and Brooke Hurndell.

Houkamau was named the tournament's top catcher on Sunday and joined Courtney and Kevin Gettins and Schinkel as the Bay members of the paper-only tournament team. Schinkel, as she did on finals day at her previous two national tournaments, smashed a home run on Sunday.

This time it was an automatic which cleared a premier men's distance boundary fence during the semifinal win against Auckland. This inspired the Bay to an 11-run haul in one inning.

Courtney, who was also the Bay's top batter, and top of the most runners batted in list with 12 for the tournament, collected 13 strikeouts in the final while conceding two hits. In the Bay's 5-0 round robin win against Auckland she pitched a no hitter and collected 16 strikeouts.

Coach Gettins pointed out his daughter's combination with Houkamau was a key factor in the side's success. In anticipation of the showdown with Canterbury in the final he didn't use this combo during the Bay's 13-5 round robin loss to the Cantabs on Friday, the Bay's only loss in 10 games during the four-day event.

Obers scored both of the Bay's runs in the final. The first in the bottom of the first was on a pass ball and the second in the sixth on a hit from Houkamau.

Seven members of the Bay under-17 side - pitcher Gettins, Houkamau, Eden, Obers, Hurndell, Amber Ray and Samarah Simmons - will play for the Bay under-19 girls' side at their Hastings-hosted nationals which start at Akina Park on Thursday and continue until Sunday.

Ray and Simmons will be playing in their third consecutive national tournament in as many weeks after playing at the North Island under-15 girls' tournament in Wellington earlier this month. Their under-19 side will play Wellington, Auckland, Canterbury, Hutt Valley and Waikato.

The Bay under-17 boys' side finished seventh at their Nelson-hosted nationals which Auckland won. Utility Cody Tamati was the only Bay player named in the paper-only tournament team while fellow utility Tiwana Aranui was named in the rest side. Coach Corey Tamati said both players displayed benefits of their stint with the Black Sox in November.

Bay premier men's side Fast Pitch had an ideal rehearsal for this weekend's Poneke Kilbirnie tournament in Wellington when they won all three games in the capital at the weekend.

Fast Pitch beat Johnsonville 5-0, Miramar 3-0 and Hutt Valley Marist 7-2. Pitcher Regan Manley and infielder Ryan Martin both collected two hits from three turns at bat against Johnsonville.

Jordan Waterhouse pitched against Miramar and collected six strikeouts while conceding four hits and no walks. Martin, who will play for Britain at the March World Series in Auckland, and Te Rangi Chadwick both produced two safe hits in this win and Chadwick finished the game with three RBIs.

Manley and Waterhouse shared the mound in the win against Hutt Valley Marist. Martin and Canadian outfielder Austin Mark both produced two hits in this win.

Lachie Hook was among the run scorer for Fast Pitch in this win. Hook will play for Fast Pitch in the Wellington inter-city competition and join Manley in the Maraenui Pumas side when Hawke's Bay's post-Christmas competition starts.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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