Who could have picked the winners in this week’s games with minor premiers, Cats A1, Cats A2 and Cougars going down in their respective games and having to play off in the elimination final this coming Saturday.
In the elimination semi-final – less fancied Checkmates A3 and Tigers Under 13 caused upsets in very close games to have a second chance at playing in the grand final.
The preliminary final series makes a must come and see in a season which has provided many ups and downs for all clubs.
Cats have three teams progressing to the finals, (A3, Under 17 and Under 13) Checkmates A1 and Tigers A2.
It was a great sight at Leonard Park to see games being played on all major diamonds.
This week all games will stand alone giving supporters the opportunity to watch their favourite side compete.
The association presentation night will be held on Saturday night at Tavener Hall.
All players and supporters are encouraged to attend a night where the association’s best and fairest players are recognised as well as individual achievements and the presentation of the A Grade Team of the Year.
For a modest fee of $5.00 which includes supper, get along and make this a memorable night for the recipients of the Port Pirie Softball Association’s awards.
The enthusiastic Tigers side took on the young Cougars side in a thrilling game which was not decided until the last innings.
Tigers trailed by three runs going into the bottom of the seventh innings and ran out winners by one run with two batters in hand.
Full credit to the Cougars girls who gave it their very best shot in a season which has been very tumultuous for them.
It was Cougars first out of the blocks scoring three runs in the first and one in the second, forcing Tigers to respond.
Batting second, Tigers were held scoreless for the first two innings, but then strung together a 4-run innings in the sixth to bring them back into the game.
Helen Webb for Cougars was impressive with the bat and was aggressive with her base running which brought her down fall with a great double play from Taylor Eglington and Paula Peterson for Tigers.
Evelyn Dumoi returned to the side and contributed a couple of solid outfield hits – her glove work was safe at first and her calming presence was one of the reasons that Tigers came out on top.
Some days are diamond and other days are stone as Cats found out in their clash with Checkmates. Cats conceded seven runs in the first innings and were forced to fight hard to get into the game.
There was a glimmer of hope when Cats scored three runs at the bottom of the first but the score line didn’t change very much from there on in.
A few singles in each inning but from the third inning, the score remained at 10-4 for the next three digs when Checkmates scored one more run.
A very comprehensive win to Checkmates to see them move into the Grand Final.
Rachel Ciampi was a stand out for Checkmates producing one of the best games for the season, conceding only two bases on balls for the entire seven innings and batting strongly for two very solid left field hits – two bases through the cones.
Checkmates had consistent batters throughout their line up with Sharon Ciampi and Melissa DiGeronimo also safe in the field.
Cats could not penetrate the Checkmates infield with Sharyn Combe energetic at shortstop, covering a lot of ground and playing her position perfectly.
Sam Burt for Cats produced three good safe hits from four times at bat to be Cats best.
Tigers should consider playing with eight players every week as they performed a first-class job on minor premiers Solly Cats.
To be fair Tigers only lost the minor premiership by percentage to Cats so they have been a benchmark in this grade all season.
Jessica Finlayson is a pitcher who puts the ball over the plate with great consistency.
Finlayson conceded one base on balls and only three safe hits in the 5-innings game.
Welcome back Hayley Griffiths for Tigers who has taken until the finals round to show the potential of which she is capable.
Griffiths batted three from three and looked very safe at first base six outs at first.
Mandy Bridley was the only Cats player to record a safe hit – coach Terry Deed will be looking for a more aggressive approach from Cats players if they are to progress into the grand final.
For almost the first time in the season Cougars had the luxury of a full squad and could afford the luxury of batting Tonia Packard for an equally strong batter in Megan Voumard.
Packard responded to the role with two safe hits.
It took until the third innings for Cougars to hit their straps and then they piled on seven, six and four runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to put the game well out of reach for Checkmates.
The pleasing aspect of Cougars batting depth was that every player in the line up produced at least one safe hit in the game.
Checkmates had a few batters who had a couple of safe hits, the best among them, Sheralee Hooper, but they simply were unable to put any pressure on Cougars field.
Karli Penglase is a gun at shortstop and there is not much which will get past her.
Kristy O’Neill continues to consistently put the ball over the plate and have confidence that the field will do the rest.
Powerful batting from Jordan Ganley, Georgia Eades and Bec Claughton moved Cats into the grand final.
Cats welcomed back Pauline Trigger, but unfortunately, she sustained an injury in the first dig, fortunately her replacement Ganley produced four safe hits to stand alongside Claughton who, unfortunately could have had a home run from one of her hits, but the ball was blocked in the outfield resulting in a 2-base hit.
Karen Bowering pitched accurately, but it was that predictable accuracy which went in Cats favour.
Bowering to Langsford is a good pitcher catcher combination for Cougars and they are the two most consistent batters in the Cougars side.
Cougars will come back next week more confident in their ability.
There are not many games played on Diamond 6 these days – it always had a down hill run and usually a following wind which resulted in the ball running away if the batter connected.
Saturday was no exception in the thrilling game between Checkmates and Tigers. Checkmates victorious by one run.
Tigers batted consistently in the 5-innings game scoring runs every time at bat, Aimee Simmons home run being a highlight in her side’s run chase.
On the other hand, Checkmates had a batting splurge bringing in nine runs in the second innings with a huge home run from Zoe Collini.
Put together the experience of Jan Haren on the mound and the batting and fielding power of Deanna Spencer, Checkmates could well march into a final next week.
It’s amazing how a good game brings out confidence in a team.
Cats into the grand final and Cougars and Checkmates to play off in the preliminary final to see who will make the grade.
It was a strong win by Cats – a dominant performance by Bridley to Scarman who hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the fourth innings – side declared after scoring seven runs.
Dakota Petagna continues to show just how strong she has become with a couple of solid hits including a three bagger and owning third base side of the diamond.
Cats field hasn’t had to do much with Bridley dominating – this makes it more important to stay focussed for the one that does come your way.
Cougars were in the game up until that time – Cougars could be pleased with the efforts of Jesse Skipworth Taylor who was able to put bat to ball – they will get stronger and benefit from the experience.
What a turnaround for Tigers – they have been battling all season – getting close to a win and then, bingo a win when it counted, moving them into the preliminary final.
So much improvement from this side with players gradually understanding getting into the batting box and having a crack.
Cohen Tee, Kyleah Dunstall, Destiny Pole, Jet Dunstall and Ariel Tee all put bat to ball with Ariel Tee being the most consistent in their thrilling one run win.
Drazic Roberts for Cougars understands the importance of being a batter and showed this as lead off batter with three bats into the field.
Well done, especially to the coaches who are bringing these young people into the game of softball – their first year since playing T Ball.
Cats didn’t have it all their own way in their game against Checkmates with the three-run win not an indication of the state of the game.
The win will go to the team who is prepared to have a hit as then the fielder must field the ball, throw it and then another player must catch it.
Meteha DiGeronimo for Checkmates and Sophie Tattoli for Cats appear weekly as players who wants to bat – sometimes the choices they make may not be the correct ones, but their aggression will put the field under pressure and this is how players learn.
Checkmates versus Tigers will be an interesting game and might depend on who can bat the ball on a consistent level.