What is going on at Intercity Softball?
The Giants Softball Club will be wanting answers to some pointed questions after a shambolic 24 hours, which saw the club’s top team win by default, only for that to be overturned, resulting in the team having to take the diamond at short notice at the weekend.
In the end, Giants Blue won their Intercity Premier Two preliminary final 3–0 over Poneke-Kilbirnie [PK], but the lead-up to the game has left a sour taste with the Masterton-based club.
The debacle started on Thursday afternoon when Giants were advised the Blues had won their preliminary final over Hutt Valley Marist by default. Then, late that night, Giants received an email saying Marist had lodged a protest, believing there was a discrepancy in the draw and that they finished third, not fourth, and they shouldn’t be playing Giants.
Giants spokesman Chris Feary said Intercity Softball upheld the protest because Marist had beaten PK in their round-robin clash, took the draw offline, and put up a new draw at 1pm Friday, showing that Giants Blue were to play PK at South Park at 1pm Saturday.
“It is the biggest shambles. I can’t remember a season that has been as big a shambles as this,” an exasperated Feary said.
“In premier two, you’ve got to ask what was even the point in playing a round-robin because every team goes to the playoffs. It’s diabolical, really, and I don’t know how else you would explain it.”
On the diamond, Giants Blue exacted revenge on the only team to have beaten them this season with an automatic home run to Greg Paku, which also brought home Rico Hillman, the decisive moment in a hard-fought victory.
The Blues had been holding on to a 1–0 lead until the late heroics put the game out of reach.
“Rico got an in-diamond hit, took off, and put pressure on the fielder, who miss-fielded and then overthrew, which got him safe at one. Then Greg stepped up and put one out of the park over centre outfield, and then after that, it was pretty much three up, three down.”
Feary added that player-coach Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana played a massive role, shutting down the PK batters in the later innings and giving up only four safe hits throughout the game.
The Giants Reds’ premier three game away to Johnsonville and the women’s game against WASC at Fraser Park, Lower Hutt, were both called off early.