The Canadians warm up with the young local players. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

SOFTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

The Canada Under-18s came from four runs down in the last two innings to pip Giants 7-5 in a thrilling softball encounter at South Park on Tuesday night.

The Canadians, preparing for the Under-18 world championship starting in Palmerston North on Saturday, made a slow start against the Giants.

Corie Karaitiana takes an out at first base.

Terry Waitere, Corie Karaitiana, Trey Feary, and Greg Paku made the runs to give the Giants a 4-0 lead.

With two innings to play, Giants brought in young Totara Park pitcher Danyon Sievers in place of Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana and made several other changes.

This allowed the Canadians to click into gear and score seven runs, including an automatic home run with two runners on base.

Giants had the last turn at bat but were unable to make headway against the steady Canadian pitching.

Canadian assistant coach and former Giants player Mark Quinn was thrilled with his team’s performance against a strong home team.

“All four of our pitchers got a couple of innings and we showed some form with the bat towards the end.

“The Giants were great, the sort of opposition we needed,” he said.

“It was great to play on a skin diamond. We’ve only been practising on grass in Palmerston North because the skin diamonds are closed, and it’s a lot different fielding the ball in the dirt.”

Quinn relished his return to the club where he played for eight seasons from 2000 to 2008 and to Masterton Intermediate School where he taught.

Young Giants players show off their batting.

“We had a visit to MIS where Russell Thompson had organised a powhiri welcome and a tour of the school.

“Then we had a training clinic with about 30 to 40 kids, and then a good crowd turned out for the game.”

The Canadian team were also presented with a miniature taiaha, donated by Richard Carroll of Carroll’s Joinery, and Quinn said that topped off a great day.

“I explained the significance of the taiaha to the team, and it will be very special to take it home with me.

“Giants were a big part of my life with their family atmosphere, and there were even some kids I taught on the field in the game.”