Whanganui teams remain in the mix for top honours in the Manawatu softball competition that resumed at the weekend after the Christmas/New Year break.

The Athletic women continue to lead the women's premier grade after 15-4 demolition over Linton Storm and remain unbeaten in the grade, while the Athletic men won by default after being set to play Levin United to keep their hopes alive in the senior men reserve grade.

Castlecliff Club Mustangs opened their Top 6 series in the senior men's reserve grade with a hard fought 8-7 win over Palmerston North Dodgers on Saturday.

Dodgers scored in their first turn at bat to take a one run lead. Mustangs replied when Jefferson Yacap hit deep between the outfielders to score Josh Hollis and Aaron Mahony and himself for a home run putting Mustangs 3-1 up.

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Captain Langes scored in the fourth innings to give Mustangs a 4-1 lead. Dodgers came back with some fine base running and three safe hits to bring the score 4-all. Dodgers scored two more runs for a 6-4 lead.

Hollis and Mahony scored to even the match and with time up the tiebreaker innings came into play. Dodgers batted first and with a runner on second base the batter hit safely to have runners on third and first bases. Sharp play by Lawrence Llaneta saw the runner taken out at home with the runners now on second and first.

Dodgers hit to the outfield to score one run and take the score to 7-6. Pitcher Danny Green dismissed the next two batters for the three outs.

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Yacap was on second base for Mustangs when Green hit to the outfield scoring Yacap to again square the match at7-7. Brian Landon-Lane sacrificed to advance Green to third.

Dodgers tried to pick Green off only to fumble and misfield. Green scampered home for the win.

Top batters for Mustangs were Mahony and Yacap batting 600. Green had a good day amassing nine strikeouts.

The Ezi Finance Whanganui Braves side's woes continue and they languish as the bottom of the premier men's division after winning just one game this season. They continue to struggle fielding full teams each week and face relegation.

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