Renee England has been a great asset for Giants. PHOTO/FILE

SOFTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

The Giants Softball Club have scored a major coup with Hutt Valley Softball to host three semifinals at South Park today.

President Chris Feary says it is the first time ever that the Giants have been given home advantage for the semifinals.

They will host the Presidents Men, Major B Women, and Under-13 games, while the Under-15s will travel to Fraser Park, Lower Hutt.

“We’ve worked really hard this season to build a great relationship with Hutt Valley [Softball] and this is a fantastic reward,” Feary said.

“We will have a barbecue down there on Saturday morning and afternoon and will make a real club day out of it.”

On the diamond, Feary is predicting a successful day for the club.

The Presidents, who Feary plays for, take on Wainuiomata. In their only encounter this season, four weeks ago, Giants won 5-0.

“They are a little bit of a bogey team for us” Feary said “but after last week’s win over Dodgers, we are quietly confident.”

Giants probably had their best game of the season against Dodgers, winning 11-4, with the batters hitting form backed up by a strong fielding effort, and giving the team important momentum heading into the playoffs.

The inclusion of Gordon Wilmshurst, who is playing for the team since the end of the Premier 2’s season, only strengthens the already powerful batting line-up. While pitcher Tony Nixon can always be relied on to restrict any batting line-up.

The Major B Women will go into their semifinal against Hutt City United T-ballers as the hottest of favourites.

Giants have had two big wins over the T-ballers in the past six weeks, 6-2 in early February, and most recently, 19-0, just three weeks ago.

Much of the team’s success has been built around pitcher Renee England, who Feary said “has been going really well, and is a great asset to the team”.

He also cited catcher-batter Tammy Waitere, and youngsters Beauleah Karaitiana and Alix Waitere as key players.

The Giants Under-13s will host the Wainui Cubs. Their only previous clash ended in a 9-5 victory to the Cubs.

The Under-15s travel to Fraser Park for their semifinal with Dodgers Aces. Giants won one of their games 5-2 and lost the other 4-5.

The Presidents and Major B Women’s semifinals will start at South Park at 3.15pm today. The Under-13s will get under way at 10.30am.