Giants completed the threepeat in the Kuripuni Tavern Classic with a dominant performance, beating surprise package Demons 8-1 in Sunday’s final at South Park.
The winning team was based around the Giants Red Intercity Premier Three team, bolstered with the inclusion of other masters’ age players such as Giants Blue player-coach Justin ‘Chunky’ Karaitiana.
The Reds were rarely challenged and went through the tournament unbeaten, winning all games by convincing margins.
The host club’s decision to provide teams with the Easton softball, a harder ball better suited to batters rather than pitchers, also resulted in an avalanche of runs. In an entertaining two days of softball, a phenomenal number of automatic home runs were scored. A remarkable 17 home runs were hit on diamond one on Saturday, including eight in Giants Red’s 18-2 victory over Giants Blue, who were a late inclusion in the tournament after the withdrawal of Linton Army.
Gordon Wilmshurst took a liking to the Easton ball, dispatching three over the fence in the win over the Blues, while Matt Kawana, Karaitiana, and Terry Waitere also hit homers, as did Sean Robinson for the Blues.
The big-hitting was not only restricted to the main skin diamond, with another 14 home runs hit on diamond two on Saturday.
Giants Red started the tournament in emphatic fashion, dispatching Stokes Valley 18-0 in their opening match, followed by the win over the Blues. That left a clash with Cardinals on Sunday morning to decide which team from Pool A would progress to the afternoon final.
The home side made no race of it, winning 10-0.
Although the Blues weren’t playing for points, they impressed with wins over Cardinals [11-4] and Stokes Valley [8-3].
Pool B turned out to be a much tighter contest, with Demons finishing with three wins over Dodgers, Brawlers [Manawatu], and Totara Park.
Giants Red team member Chris Feary was surprised to come up against Demons in the final, saying it was the first time he can remember that Dodgers hadn’t made the decider.
Demons made the early running in the final with an automatic home run in the second inning before the Reds hit top gear and, in the end, came away with a convincing 8-1 victory.
“Demons had a good team, and the score probably wasn’t reflective of the game,” Feary said.
“It was a battle of attrition really, but our guys did the job with the bat.”
Feary added that one of the Reds’ younger players, Julian Ellmers had an outstanding tournament, while he also praised another up-and-coming player Thomas Kawana for giving up his spot in the team to help with the barbecue and other activities over the weekend.
Despite the one-sided scorelines posted by Giants Red, Feary believes that the tournament is getting tougher to win.
“We know every year these clubs are picking up players, and they’re coming over here to take that trophy from us, and every year it seems to get harder, but our attitude is that if you want it, you’re going have to earn it.”
Giants’ victory was their third straight in the tournament and the ninth in the last 10 years.
The Giants Blue and Red teams will return to their Intercity Championships on Saturday, and Feary reckons the weekend’s tournament is the ideal build-up for the two teams.