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Chunky hits grand slam form

Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana hit a grand slam in Giants march to victory in the Kuripuni Tavern Classic. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV


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Giants Blue player-coach Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana is hitting form at the right time with the Intercity Premier Three Championship nearing the business end.

Karaitiana’s team have been starved of playing opportunities over the past two months because of defaults, the latest two weeks ago by Dodgers Black, as well as a rained-off game and the traditional Christmas break.

The former Hutt Valley representative did get some valuable playing time for Giants in their Kuripuni Tavern Classic tournament held at South Park last weekend and was, literally, a big hit.

In Giants’ must-win game against Totara Park on Sunday morning, Karaitiana stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and promptly hammered the ball over the fence for a grand slam, the only scoring in what was virtually a semifinal.

And as lead pitcher, he also struck out 10 out of the 16 opposition batters, denying Totara Park any runs.

In the final against Dodgers, Karaitiana was again outstanding, giving up only three safe hits in the 4-3 victory.

With Giants Blue having bagged the two points for the default win over Dodgers Black, a win over Poneke-Kilbirnie Kowhai at South Park [1pm start] today would almost guarantee a spot in the playoffs in the Premier Three Section A.

The Blues can take a degree of confidence into the game, having defeated PK 10-2 in the previous clash in October.

Giants Red are also confident of scoring their second win in Intercity Premier Three Section B away to Demons at Fraser Park.

The Reds started with a 14-1 thumping of Totara Park Gold, and club president and team member Chris Feary said they will be too good for Demons, who have had only one win.

Jesse Neumann was in fine form for Giants Red in the Kuripuni Tavern Classic.

“The boys are still carrying a few aches and pains from last weekend, but on paper, we should go down there and wipe the floor with them,” said Feary, who had special praise for two of the team’s young players, Riley Hanson and Jesse Neumann.

“They came to us two seasons ago, and Riley caught to ‘Chunky’ in the final last week, which was a huge effort, and Jesse’s batting and some of the catches he took in the outfield have been outstanding.”

The club’s big improvers are the women’s team, who are chasing a playoff spot in the Hutt Valley Major B championship, having qualified for the top-five section — a huge step from when the team first took to the diamond.

“Two years ago when they started, if they won a game, there were fireworks going off,” Feary said.

“Last season, they showed improvement and this season, you can’t pat them on the back enough. They’ve really come out and are a team to be reckoned with.”

Giants play Demons at South Park from 3pm and will fancy their chances of upsetting their rivals.

Although Demons topped the points table after the first round, Giants pushed them hard, narrowly going down 6-8 in a tight tussle.

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