Happy New Year everyone, softballers were welcomed back on Saturday with extremely strong winds which favoured neither batter or fielder, producing some interesting results.
The grounds are in good condition, considering the weather conditions we have been experiencing and we appreciate the work the Port Pirie Regional Council ground staff do to keep our playing fields safe.
What we don’t appreciate are the thoughtless people who take their dogs out onto the park and fail to clean up after them.
For the best part of the season we have had people having to go over the grounds and collect doggy “doos”.
On Saturday there were three bags collected before we could start the games.
Leonard Park is not a dog park – if this selfish behaviour continues, we will look to ban dogs and their owners from using the grounds.
Okay – so that’s enough of a rant – let’s have a look at the games for the weekend.
Sheralee Hooper celebrated her 100th game for Checkmates and started the game with an awesome catch at leftfield – that should have set the tone for the game to get better and better.
Checkmates batted consistently over 4 innings, a couple of runs in each innings – Jacqui Bateson proving that she can be a consistent lead off batter.
Checkmates held Cougars scoreless for 3 innings and then the floodgates opened.
In the 4th innings Cougars strung together some solid hits – courtesy Helen Webb and, particularly Emily Gonsalves, who gets stronger every week and, suddenly Cougars hit the front – piling on 8 runs in one innings.
Pleasing for Cougars, disappointing for Checkmates.
Cats spent a long time at bat in the first innings of their game against Tigers for a meagre 6 run return. They seemed to be in the field for an eternity.
The strength of their time at bat was the return to form of some of their stronger batters. Krista Young and Dom Fasciano pleased the crowd with a couple of solid two baggers.
Tigers took the field with 7 players but their performance was creditable against a full Cats side – Tigers had no stand out batters, Clair Beyer from Cats was on song, 2 K2s and 2 safe hits after a slow start for Cats. Maddie Baldock put in a strong pitching performance for Tigers 4 K2’s.
Cats faced a depleted Tigers side and for the first two innings the result of the game was evenly poised.
Tigers Jess Finlayson had Cats batters mesmerised in the first innings with the three outs a result of a pitcher catcher combination. To their credit, Cats rallied and applied some sensible batting and spent time in the batting box.
Carla Franson set the pace first up to bat in the third innings with a strong ground hit to centrefield, other batters followed her lead and, in that innings Cats accumulated 8 runs to give them a comfortable lead to defend.
Tigers Kerin Colgan was a stand out batter as well as a dynamic field – trying to cover two infield positions – Colgan’s stats 3 sh. 2 outs. It was safe hits aplenty when Checkmates faced Cougars with the team recording 22 hits off the usually realiable Kristy Thomas.
Checkmates Tori Ditton-Bennett and Leonora Neil batted 4 safe hits from 4 times at bat. Checkmates pitcher Jess Haren, continued her form from 2018 and, with a strong field behind her, held Cougars to only two runs, despite Haren indicating that the strike zone was thin.
Positives for Cougars was the form of Katelyn Wilson, an under rated player who recorded two safe hits and Tiffany Stewart who also got a couple of greens in the score book.
If it was mentioned that the game between Cougars and Solly Cats was a scorer’s nightmare, it might be thought that the game was a blow out. Wrong!! The score line was great – it was the fact that Cougars pulled off not only a double play, but a triple play to retire a Cats side which was on a role. Cougars are the early premiership favourites in this grade and Cats were in very solid positions to inflict some pain on the score board.
However, some inexperienced base running was their undoing and Cats will be the better for the experience. Cougars Merridy Fetherstonhaugh showed her class at shortstop and her knowledge of the game finishing with 3 outs and 2 safe hits – I’d say she’d have to be a keeper. Paige Ridgeway, Alyssa Caputo and Ellouise Wilson all batted safely each time at bat – that’s a positive for Cats fans.