Whanganui Braves returned from the Christmas/New Year break to face nemesis Dodgers Grey in the latest round of the Manawatu senior men reserve grade softball.

Softball resumed on January 27 against the only team they had not been able to defeat and once again fell, going down 11-6 with a depleted team first up.

Regular pitcher Shane Foster, shortstop Toby Rison, left fielder Jake Hollis and the late withdrawal of Aaron Mahony left Braves with the bare minimum nine players.

Down 7-0 after the first innings, Braves were never in the hunt.
Ben Hollis pitched with determination and outfielders Carl Priddle and Ash Blanche took some good catches to no avail.

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The following Saturday Braves fronted up against Levin United.

"With a full team compliment we disposed of a disappointing Levin outfit 20-3 in 3 innings," player/coach Shane Foster said.

"Stephen Barnes impressed with the bat once again with two huge home runs and a three base hit. He could have chanced running home to make it a hat trick of home runs, but was held back by the Braves third base coach."

Foster and Paddy Steele also it homers.

There were two unfortunate incidents occurred in this match.

At Braves first turn at bat, Foster, on third base, was struck on his upper pitching arm with a full blown hit from Barnes. He was able to continue but was left with a massive bruise on the upper arm. A similar incident happened late in the game when Foster got onto a Levin pitch which struck their third baseman square on the forehead, knocking him out for a short time. He was carried from the diamond and later required medical treatment.

Last Saturday Braves travelled to Palmerston North for a double header. Both games were won comfortably.

"Our first game was against Bluesox Hitmen, winning 17-4 in three innings. Scoring eight runs at our first turn at bat with home runs to Carl Priddle and Toby Rison, Braves were never threatened. Priddle scored another homer later in the game," Foster said.
Braves second game of the day was against a young Linton side.

Pitching duties were left to Duane Paranihi after Foster had to return home for work commitments. Braves won comfortably 18-6. Richie Smith hit a grand slam home run ably supported by a Braves team enjoying strong batting.

This Saturday Braves play a strong Huia Warriors team that narrowly lost to Dodgers Grey 4-3 last Saturday. This will wrap up this round of games.

"The next round gets interesting with the top three teams from this section playing off with the bottom Premier team Palmerston North Raiders over the final weeks of this season. We are safely in the top three but need to beat Huia to secure top three.

"Of note is the Raiders pitcher is a local in Shaun Terry. We look forward to being at full strength for this next round and squaring the ledger."