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‘Intimidation’ sours chaotic final

Giants pitcher Renee England missed the start of the Major B Women’s final. PHOTO/FILE

SOFTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

An atmosphere of “intimidation and bullying” soured the Giants’ softball final against Stokes Valley Breeze in the Hutt Valley Softball Major B Women’s Championship on Saturday, and it started before the first pitch had been thrown.

Masterton’s Giants are protesting the result – a 15-8 loss – after Stokes Valley refused to continue the game after the sixth inning.

Problems began when four of the Giants team for the women’s final were also involved in the under-15 team, which was locked in a tense final against Hutt Valley Dodgers Mini Ds.

That game went to a tiebreaker, taking it beyond the scheduled noon start time for the women’s final.

Players involved were pitcher and coach of the under-15s, Renee England, back-up pitcher Beauleah Karaitiana and two other players.

Giants president Chris Feary saw it all unfold.

“Stokes Valley Breeze refused to allow the team to wait for the under-15s to finish,” he said.

“We had to start with no pitcher and no catcher. We had to use a woman who had never pitched before and could only lob the ball in.

“Stokes Valley scored seven runs in the first inning and we never recovered.”

However, the drama was anything but over.

“Stokes Valley claimed at the end of the fourth inning it was a [fixed] time limit game and refused to take the diamond,” Feary said.

“We eventually showed them the rule book and they continued. Then in the sixth inning Stokes Valley said because the game had been delayed by 10 minutes, they were given two extra runs.”

That took Stokes Valley out to a 15-8 lead and the game ended prematurely at that stage.

“They [Stokes Valley] knew that we would beat them if the game continued and refused to play.”

Feary described the atmosphere as “intimidating and bullying from the [Stokes Valley] players and their supporters” and he felt sympathy for the umpire, a 17-year-old member of the Te Aroha premier women’s team.

Feary was disappointed there was no one from Hutt Valley Softball present to deal with the matter at the time.

Giants’ protest of the result was due to be heard by Hutt Valley Softball last night.

In the early game, the under-15s went to tiebreaker innings, after it was tied 1-1 after seven innings.

Giants went one run ahead in the ninth and second extra inning, before Dodgers scored two runs in their last turn at bat to seal the victory.

The Giants team were impacted by the drama at the Major B Women’s game, with England and Karaitaina having to leave to try and resurrect the women’s hopes.

The Presidents were last on the diamond and they were well beaten 10-1 by a rampant Dodgers team.

Dodgers scored two runs in the second inning and backed that up with six runs in the third inning.

“Dodgers turned up and just hit the ball,” Feary said.

“There were no fielding errors, they were safe hits into the gaps.”

Giants had several safe hits but couldn’t really capitalise. The only run was scored by Daniel Ranger, who was on as a runner.

Feary said he was “absolutely stoked” at how the club performed over the season.

“We couldn’t have asked for any more from the club. We had three teams in the finals, plus the Premier Reserves were unlucky not to make the [Intercity] play-offs and the under-13s just missed out on the final.

“There wouldn’t be another club with that sort of success.”

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