We're ticking off the right boxes

By Chubbs Pitch

Phase one of our four-phase campaign is done and dusted at the World Series here in North Harbour.

I write this column four hours before our match against the other unbeaten team in our pool, Canada, at Rosedale Park last night. We're almost in the middle of phase two and we're eager to finish pool play as one or two in our pool so we get two lives for the playoffs which begin on Friday.

I was reasonably happy with our first three games - a 5-0 win against Mexico, a 4-0 win against Colombia and the 7-2 win against Japan. The first two games were all about all of our squad getting their feet wet in the tournament and we achieved that goal.

While we didn't fire with the bats as well as we could have against Mexico and Colombia, we pitched a couple of shut outs. Right from the beginning of this campaign we said if we can restrict our opponents to none or one run we can beat our opponents.

Japan was the start of our second phase and the idea was to pick a team of players who had batted well during the first phase. Because we didn't get as many hits as we would have liked against Mexico and Colombia this was hard to do so we went with an experienced batting line-up which delivered with nine hits against Japan.

This was encouraging. On the pitching front we started with rookie Nik Hayes. Nik had a good first inning but a mixed second one so I replaced him with Heini Shannon. Heini pulled a calf so I replaced him with Jeremy Manley.

The gutsy Heini wanted to play on but I stressed to him the importance of getting the injury right so he will be available towards the business end of the tournament. He is responding to treatment and should be available within a day or two.

Manley did a good job and the two runs Japan scored were soft. They collected three hits in the game.

Our squad is now understanding what is required in a 10-day campaign which is different to three-day ones the majority of the squad are used to. Everything is aimed at peaking on days nine and 10.

We're expecting a dog fight against Canada and we know a win against them will keep us on track for a top two finish in pool play.

We're ticking every box on and off the diamond and our team philosophy is working well.

It's almost team meeting time ... catch ya later in the week.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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