The Manawatū men's and women's softball leagues featured a mix of skilled play, drama and amateur theatrics for Whanganui teams over the weekend.
Ezi Finance Wanganui Braves have struggled to field a cohesive squad in the Premier men's division this season and went down 19-6 to the Bluesox in four innings in Palmerston North on Saturday.
With regular pitcher Shaun Terry unavailable, veteran player/coach Shane Foster had to step on the mound on a very hot Saturday afternoon.
Foster became immediately frustrated when the top-order Bluesox batters were hitting "bloopers" into a shallow outfield. When Foster ordered the outfielders to come in, the Bluesox batters then began hitting the ball over their heads, and hitting hard into gaps.
Ricky Boniface, Phil Taylor and Stephen Barnes had a very busy afternoon in the outfield.
Down nine runs after their first turn at bat, and the Bluesox having gone through their entire batting line up, the Braves were in serious trouble.
The Braves responded in the third inning when Richie Smith and Peter Flood made base.
Foster stepped up and hit a three-base hit to score both Smith and Flood.
Drama then unfolded when Bluesox pitcher Bryan Taiaroa walked off the diamond with a nose bleed. With both teams fielding the bare nine players, he had to return to play or default the game.
Under the circumstances, with the Bluesox leading by 12 runs, it would have been a travesty if that had occurred.
On his return to the mound, Taiaroa threw a wild pitch which scored Foster.
The Braves scored another three runs in the fourth inning but could not stop the rampant Bluesox batters succumbing to the mercy rule in the fourth.
The Athletic and Castlecliff Club Mustangs reserve grade game was played in Whanganui on Saturday with a big crowd on hand to watch the locals go head-to-head at the Ballpark.
Athletic took advantage of opting to bat first as lead off batter Scotty McKnight got on safely with a hit down third base. Athletic scored five runs in their first turn at bat with Jon Procter hitting a three bagger to score two of those runs. The Mustangs were able to score a run in that first inning, but came out firing in the second inning to get six runs, with Jeff Yacap hitting a home run.
Mustangs pitcher Danny Green pitched the whole seven innings, giving up five walks, 10 safe hits and taking six strike outs. Tre Hemi shared pitching duties with AJ Newton, who came onto the mound in the sixth inning. Hemi walked two batters, gave up eight safe hits and took three strike outs. Top batter was lead off for Mustangs Matt Ranga with an average .667 and Procter for Athletic .600.
Coach Annie Tangata was happy with her Athletic team beating Mustangs 12-9.
"The team played like a team and enjoyed the game."
Meanwhile, a touch of amateur theatrics produced a wasted trip to Palmerston North for the Athletic women who lead the Manawatū premier competition.
The Athletic women's team drove to Palmerston North to play a 3.30pm game against Kingswood Angels. Ten minutes before the game, the Kingswood captain apologised as one of her players had just stormed off after having an argument with another player. That meant they only had eight players, so had to forfeit the game.