Giants Blue and Giants Red are hoping to shine on their home diamond and extend their unbeaten runs in an Intercity Softball doubleheader at South Park this afternoon.
The action gets underway at 1pm, with Giants Red taking the diamond against Dodgers Black, followed at 3.30pm by the Blues against last season’s runners-up Demons.
Giants Blue have been untroubled in their three wins in the Premier Two [P2] championship, dominating with bat and ball. The batters have smashed 25 runs, and player-coach and pitcher Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana has given up only two runs, both in the round one 9–2 win over Wainuiomata, while he conceded only three safe hits in the 8-0 wins over Hutt Valley Marist and Kapiti last weekend.
Despite Demons having made an indifferent start to the championship, winning one and losing two of their three games, Giants stalwart Chris Feary expects the Hutt Valley club to provide a stiffer challenge for the competition leaders.
“The Blues will be extremely confident, although Demons were in the final last year, and they were also in the Hutt Valley final as well, so they’re a more than capable team,” Feary said.
“If there is a team in the P2 grade that might give our boys a bit of a push, they would be it, I would imagine.”
There is still doubt over when backup pitcher Shane Kirkwood will make his debut for the Blues after he was ruled out of last weekend’s action with a badly bruised hand.
Feary is also confident his Giants Red team can extend their unbeaten run in Premier Three [P3] to four games when they take on Dodgers Black in the early game.
Both teams have perfect records and have been in devastating form with the bat, with the Reds having smashed 36 runs and Dodgers Black 37 runs. However, Dodgers have conceded only seven runs, and the Reds have given up 16 runs, eight of those in a tense 10–8 tiebreaker victory over Demons last Sunday, a result that Feary believes will hold the Reds in good stead this afternoon.
“We’ve got a little bit of a roll on, and we’ve got a full squad, so it is looking pretty good,” he said.
“We’d be quietly confident. I think it will be a tough game, but I don’t know much about them. Last year, Dodgers White caused us the problem, but I do believe Dodgers Black are the stronger team, so it will be a battle.”
The Giants women are searching for their first win of the Hutt Valley Premier Three Championship when they travel to Upper Hutt to take on Perennial frontrunners Tōtara Park.
Feary said that although Tōtara Park are always difficult opponents, Giants are improving with every game, and he is hopeful of them returning with a good win.
The Giants Under-13s will simply be hoping to get some game time when they host Demons at 10am after they won their first-round game by default.