The Wanganui Braves men's softball team has found itself between a rock and a hard place after easily winning its first two matches in the Manawatu Senior Men's Reserves grade.
The side simply blitzed the Blue Sox Rookies 13-5 in atrocious conditions on season debut and on Saturday eclipsed that scoreline smashing a young Raiders outfit 17-1 in Palmerston North.
If the ease of victory continues in this grade, the step to premier division would be the next logical move. However, the newly-formed team has neither the numbers nor the depth for the step up.
"Last Saturday we once again struggled with numbers due to winter code commitments but hope numbers will increase in the next week or two," Braves team founder and pitcher Shane Foster said.
Braves fielded a bare nine players with no reserves, yet still produced a powerful batting display against Raiders.
The game was abandoned after four innings with Braves up 17-1 when the mercy rule kicked in.
The mercy rule is usually applied if a team is more than 15 runs up after three innings.
A welcome return to the side was big Stephen Barnes, a Quantity Surveyor from Mitre 10 Mega, who smashed two huge hits from his four turns at bat.
Foster said the young Raiders pitcher was just too loose with his pitching. There were plenty of pass balls allowing base runners to progress around the diamond and big hits from the likes of Barnes, Jamie Hollis, Paddy Steele and Foster.
Raiders were never going to threaten and the game should have been over in three innings. Foster struck out five batters.
Another coup for the team was new recruit Richie Smith, an ex NZ Combined Services rep who made several good outs at shortstop.
"Richie brings plenty of experience to the team and will be an asset to the Braves camp," Foster said.
There is no softball this weekend due to the the annual Labour weekend tournament in the Manawatu.
Training is at 5pm Wednesdays on the Puriri St diamonds for anyone interested in playing.
Foster said his team appeared way too strong for the Manawatu Reserves grade, but lacked the numbers and depth to take on the Manawatu Men's Premier division at this stage.
"We struggle to field a team at the moment let alone have the luxury of having cover in specialist positions like pitcher and catcher. There was a suggestion on Saturday there may be a promotion/relegation situation at the end of the season and if we were to play and beat the bottom premier side we would be promoted, but I'm not sure we are ready for that."