The first part of the softball season finished this weekend, with some teams needing to take time for reflection and others delighted at how things have panned out and we head for the holiday break. This time of the year is always difficult with work and family commitments, but the team on the field is what you’ve got, so you must make the best of it.
Umpires often come in for a lot of criticism, but a big shout out to Paul Steff who umpired the plate in the A2 game – his calling of balls and strikes was consistent which added to the game’s spectacle. Also returning and showing his class was Terry Deed who based in the A grade alongside experienced umpire Ngaire Simms. Well done to all the “blues” who get out there every week.
Checkmates were far too strong for an under strength Solly Cats in the first major game. Cats were held scoreless for the game. In a game which produced 5 innings, Cats conceded their innings facing 45 pitches for side in 5 innings. This had a lot to do with the consistency from Rachel Ciampi on the mound and some smart fielding including a double play by Jacqui Graham who excelled in the field. Sharyn Combe led off brilliantly, ending up with two safe hits and Checkmates held a 5-run start in their first dig. Gradually returning to form Jessica Haren chipped in with a couple of safe hits also. Cats Dominique Fasciano never stopped trying – the only Cats player to get a safe hit and she covered some good ground to make some difficult outs at shortstop.
Cougars welcomed back Emily Doran (4 K2’s) as they won their second consecutive win. After a slow start, Cougars piled on 6 runs against the pitching of Tigers Maddie Baldock. Alexis Hill for Cougars had a great game and showed her style with 3 safe hits, including a solid 3 bagger over centrefield. The crowd kept entertained with a home run from Tigers Shianne Short which came from a bunt – result – massive wild throw from the pitcher which ended up way out in right field territory and then another wild throw from right field – the runner crosses the plate. That was about the total of the Tiger highlights, although Casey Baldock could hold her head high with two safe hits.
Jessica Finlayson produced another winning pitching performance for Tigers for her side to easily account for Cougars who were missing a couple of prime position players. There was no information provided for this game.
Jess Axon came through with 6 K2’s in a strong pitching performance for Solly Cats against Checkmates. Added to her fine pitching she also contributed 3 safe hits for the game. It was one of the best all round performances from this player who is growing in confidence.
Tanya Scarman showed her skill as a lead off batter with 3 safe hits including a great drive over left field. If Scarman could have got her brandy legs pumping she would have had a home run no doubt. A great effort. Checkmates started with Jessica Haren on the mound and she did a great job. Having already played in the early game it was a lot to ask, but Haren took it in her stride and put one safe hit on the board. The day belonged to Cats who scored consistently in each innings.
Strong batting from Cougars so them record a huge total against Checkmates. Elissa Dix and Abbey Marsland lead the way with 3 safe hits each – all solid, one base hits, but effective in moving the players around the diamond. Checkmates found it difficult to put away the consistent Cougars pitching, it was left to the old timer Jan Haren, who was the only player to record a safe hit in Checkmates innings. Haren also featured in a double play – a line drive to first and then a tag out. That type of reflex comes from many hours of playing softball. It was good to see a couple of Checkmates players back from injury, Emily Lepinath and Kirby Cricchiola – they will help settle the side in the New Year.
The game between Solly Cats and Cougars was a thriller with Cats dominating and going into the last innings with an 8 run lead. Cougars could not win the game as side is called when 7 runs are scored, but to Cougars credit they fought back strongly and scored 7 runs, going down by one run. Jordan Ganley for Cats batted strongly with 3 safe hits and she was well assisted by Jerylee Brown who continues to improve with each game. Cougars Natalia Okkes got her side off to a good start and finished with a couple of safe hits and Marlee Biddell, continues to improve with 3 safe hits and shows that she is becoming a very versatile inside player.
As an association it is great to see the improvement in this junior grade with runs coming thick and fast and each game featuring a close result. It will be interesting next year as to which coach has the courage to get batters batting and not waiting for the easy walk to first. With the inclusion of boys in this grade – it is interesting to note that in the most instances, it is the boys who get out there a look for a hit. Batters to watch out for in the New Year: Cats – Liam Williams, Beau Bridley, Aliza McBride, Axon Quade. Cougars – Miylo Roberts. Checkmates – Bridie Ellis Nunn, Farley O’Brien, Lilly Emms, Amelia Criccholia, Kyan Graham, Gavin O’Brian. Tigers – Nick Spier, Phoenix Griffiths, Cohen Tee, Ariel Tee, Angel Griffiths.