Hawke's Bay utility Rakai Henare and outfielder Xavier Clark-Lloyd both gained national recognition when the North Island under-15 boys softball tournament ended in Wellington yesterday.
Henare was selected in the tournament team and Clark-Lloyd in the rest side at the event's prizegiving. The pair both collected two hits from three turns at bat as Hawke's Bay beat Hutt Valley Development 9-2 in the playoff for seventh in the 14-team tournament played at Hataitai Park. Henare hit two home runs during the four-day event.
"Rakai was our star player on and off the field. Xavier is in his first year of softball after switching from cricket ... he is a natural athlete," Hawke's Bay coach Fabian Makea said.
On Saturday Makea's troops beat Whanganui 9-2 and lost 8-1 to Hutt Valley.
After a winless first two days at the North Island under-15 girls tournament in Papakura Hawke's Bay avoided the wooden spoon with two wins at the weekend. On Saturday they beat Manawatu 11-4 after being pipped 10-8 by Auckland Development and yesterday they beat Tairawhiti 7-2.
Against Auckland Development Innika Hapuku-Lambert and Aroha Tawhiri shared the pitching. Hapuku-Lambert conceded five hits, five runs and a walk while collecting two strikeouts during 1.1 innings on the mound.
Tawhiri conceded nine hits and five runs while collecting three strikeouts during her 4.2 innings. Errors proved costly for the Bay in this game but all of the Bay players hit well from the fourth inning.
Hapuku-Lambert produced three hits from as many turns at bat and Honor Hanley-Kopara two from three. Against Manawatu Tawhiri struck out nine of the 21 batters she faced while conceding four runs and a walk during the five-inning mercy victory.
Hanley-Kopara, Alizeigh Hanley-Edwards, Tatyana Elliot and Hapuku-Lambert all collected two hits from three turns and one of Hapuku-Lambert's was an error-assisted home run.
Hapuku-Lambert was the sole member of the Bay team to gain tournament team selection. Former Hawke's Bay pitcher Hine Crawford, who played for the fourth placed Waikato team at the tournament, was also selected in the tournament team.