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Giants retain title after early hiccup

Terry Waitere crosses home plate for a run against Cardinals. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

Giants retain Classic title, beating the old foes Hutt

SOFTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Chris Feary hit the winning run, scored by Riley Hanson, in a thrilling final with Dodgers.

Giants bounced back from a shock early loss to retain their Kuripuni Tavern Classic title in a classic final against old foes Hutt Valley Dodgers.

The home side were expected to be too good for their first-up opponents, Totara Park, on Saturday morning at South Park, but they were out-thought and outplayed in a 1-3 loss.

That put the pressure on with Giants needing to beat the Cardinals to stay in the hunt for a place in the final, and they responded with a comprehensive 15-1 victory to set up a winner take-all repeat match with Totara Park on Sunday morning for a place in the final.

Giants made sure there was no repeat of Saturday’s game and were in complete control to come away with a 3-0 win and set up a final against Dodgers.

The decider was a fitting finale between the two clubs who have dominated the tournament in its 25-year history and went right down to the wire.

The scores were locked at 3-3 at the bottom of the seventh inning, and Giants were two-down in their last turn at bat, with Riley Hanson on second base.

One more out, and the game would be headed to a dreaded tiebreaker inning.

Tony Nixon was outstanding on the mound for Giants.

Up stepped club president Chris Feary, who fittingly found a gap in the field and hit the fence on the bounce, good enough for Hanson to make it home and seal the championship victory.

Feary reckoned it was a great way to cap off an outstanding tournament.

“It was even pretty much all the way through,” Feary said.

“There were plenty of hits from both teams but just no errors and both teams fielded exceptionally well.

“It was a great final and fitting that the two teams that have their names on the trophy the most times played in it.”

Feary felt Giants had played well after the early hiccup, and their key players such Gordon Wilmshurst, Terry Waitere, and Willie Waitere, with the bat, and pitcher Tony Nixon stood up when needed.

He also praised the support from the home and visiting supporters, who added a lot to the atmosphere.

Feary had a special mention for Giants’ coach Russell Kawana, who has organised the tournament for many years.

“Rusty did an outstanding job, organising the teams, the schedules, the barbecues, and everything around the games, and it was absolutely seamless.”

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