Softball: Hawke's Bay pair make U19 tournament team

By Shane Hurndell

Versatile Hawke's Bay outfielder Ashlyn Obers wanted to make a statement at the national under-19 girls softball tournament which ended in Hastings yesterday and she did.

Obers, 16, joined pitcher Courtney Gettins as the only two Bay players named in the tournament team after Hawke's Bay finished fourth in the Akina Park, Hastings-hosted six-team event.

"I was pretty disappointed at not making the tournament team at the under-17s in Auckland last week after making the 17s tournament team last year and the 15s the previous year," Obers explained.

As well as giving that statement a huge tick Obers also displayed her versatility with a couple of stints at first base where she was involved in two double plays. She hopes that versatility will help her achieve Junior World Series selection.

"I'm not ready for it this year but I hope to be in two years time when I will still be eligible," Obers said.

Considering Gettins was unable to pitch for most of the tournament because of injury and Bay coach Darrel Paul didn't have the services of five of the province's top players in the age group the Bay's fourth placing was commendable.

After a tough day on Saturday which saw Hawke's Bay lose both of their games - 5-2 against Canterbury and 8-3 against Hutt Valley Hawke's Bay won both of their encounters yesterday - 7-4 against Waikato and 1-0 against Auckland in the playoff for fourth. A three bagger from Auckland pick-up pitcher Monique Whareumu was the highlight of the Bay's display against Waikato.

Against Auckland 14-year-old utility Samarah Simmons scored the only run of the game on an Auckland error.

Wellington beat Hutt Valley 6-0 in the final. Wellington catcher Emma Francis collected three awards at the prizegiving - top catcher, top batter and most valuable player.

Hawke's Bay's under-19 boys finished ninth at their 12-team nationals which ended in Hamilton yesterday.

Bay coach Mark Carter was proud of the manner in which his troops won their last five games after winning just one of their first five.

"We won our last five games and it was a top team effort. On Saturday the boys showed a lot of character to come back and beat Canterbury 10-9 after trailing 6-0 in the fourth inning," Carter said.

In their other game on Saturday Hawke's Bay beat Counties-Manukau 8-0 and yesterday Carter's troops beat Manawatu-Wanganui 8-1 and Canterbury 2-0. No Hawke's Bay players were selected in the tournament or rest sides.

Auckland beat North Harbour 5-4 in the final.

Wellington-based Hawke's Bay softballer Campbell Makea has been named as one of three non-travelling reserves for the Black Sox team to play at the March World Series in North Harbour.

Unlucky to miss original selection in the side, outfielder Makea, will join his brother and three-time world champion Thomas Makea for the first time at a World Series should he receive a call-up.

The other non-travelling reserves are Auckland's veteran infielder Nathan Nukunuku, who has played for the side since 1997, and Wellington pitcher Karl Gollan.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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