Ezi Finance Wanganui Braves went down to Palmerston North's Huia Chiefs 6-1 in an error-ridden Manawatu Senior Men's Premier Softball game on Saturday.
For the first time this season the Braves' defence was put under pressure and just could not cope at times and they could not reply with the bat to stay in the game.
Huia Chiefs opened their account at their first turn at bat when lead off batter Gareth Greenfield was walked by Braves pitcher Brad Worsley. Greenfield stole to second base, but Worsley stuck out the next two batters to relieve some pressure. However, Huia's Wayne Norman smashed a line drive through second baseman Glen Casey to score Greenfield.
Braves responded in the bottom of the first when lead off batter Paddy Steele was walked. Steele was put into a scoring position when No.3 batter Richie Smith was also walked. Worsley hit nicely to centre field to score Steele and level the game up.
Huia scored three more runs at their second turn at bat, all through errors, which took the wind out of Braves' sails.
Braves struggled with the bat after that with Huia pitcher Kelly Dyson striking out 12 Braves batters.
"The boys struggled with Dyson's speed and movement all day," Braves co-coach Shane Foster said.
"We have a lot of work to do both with the bat and in defence if we expect to be competitive against this Huia Chiefs outfit. They turned up prepared to just square up in the batters box and move the ball, which put the Braves' defence under pressure all day."
The Braves play a double header this weekend against Linton at 2.30pm and Raiders 4.30pm.
Meanwhile, the Wanganui Mustangs took out a thrilling game against last season's reserve grade champions Dodgers.
In the first innings, Jeff Yacap picked a walk, stole second and third base before being hit home by Trent Hemi. In the third innings Josh Hollis hit to left field for a two base run. Hollis was scored from hits by Yacap and Hemi putting Mustangs ahead 2-0.
Dodgers replied with runs in the third and fifth innings, which included a big home run by Mark Jones leaving the game all tied up 2-2.
No more runs where scored and with time up, a tie breaker innings was required where a runner is placed on second base at the beginning of the innings.
Mustangs pitcher Trent Hemi struck out the first two batters with the runner still stuck on second. Dodgers hit to left field to score their runner, and with another hit it was 4-2 to Dodgers.
Yacap was the runner on second for mustangs and he stole third base and with the throw going astray he scored. Mustangs' next two batters were dismissed before Jake Hollis put down the perfect bunt to reach first base. Pinch hitter Danny Green hit to the outfield, so with runners on first and second Lenox Fold stepped into the batters box and slammed a three base hit to right field to score both Hollis and Green. That was game over and 5-4 to Mustangs.
Hemi had a solid game on the mound taking an impressive 15 strikeouts, while giving up just three walks. Yacap had a good day with the bat with three hits from four turns at bat and Jake Hollis two from three.
After the game, coach Ron Hollis said it was a brilliant game for both players and spectators.
"A classic game of ball. The team is starting to get an understanding of the game. Thanks to our supporters once again, they really spur the team on and a big thanks goes out to the Castlecliff Club for their great support," Hollis said.