Giants Blue 2
Hutt Valley Marist 4
Giants Blue stumbled at the final hurdle, going down 4–2 to a stacked Hutt Valley Marist in a thrilling Intercity Premier Two final at South Park on Saturday.
Giants took the early advantage through an automatic home run to Sean Robinson, only for Marist to take a one-run lead midway through the game.
The scores were tied after Rico Hillman, a designated runner for player-coach Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana, who had been walked, stole first to second base and then scrambled home after a poor throw from the outfield hit the third baseman and went to the fence.
Locked at 2–2 at the top of the seventh inning, Marist brought home two runs, but the Blues couldn’t respond, and their championship dream ended.
Giants stalwart Chris Feary said it was a fantastic game to watch, and the battle of the pitchers Karaitiana and Ricky Wardlaw was enthralling.
The Marist side was a significantly different one than the Blues would have faced earlier in the year, and it included about five regular premier one players, including pitcher Wardlaw. Feary believes the Blues players should be proud of their efforts against such a strong team.
“That just goes to show how close our guys are to that level; they’re right there,” he said
“I’m not thinking of it as a loss for Giants, I’m thinking of it as a win because here’s a whole lot of young guys footing it with some of the best. They’re not far behind some of the P1 teams, and the guys should take a lot of pride in their performance on Saturday.”
There was frustration for Giants Red, with the deferral of their premier three final against Paremata–Plimmerton at Paremata after steady rain washed out any prospect of play.
The match had been wrongly scheduled for Paremata-Plimmerton’s home ground, despite Giants having qualified top. Efforts to change the game to South Park were rejected by Intercity Softball, who insisted it was too late to relocate the game.
The final will now be played in January and, ironically, it will be played at South Park.
Other than that, Giants’ involvement with Intercity is over for the season, and they will compete in Hutt Valley competitions in the New Year, probably starting in the last weekend of January.