Corey Karaitiana will be a key player for Giants in their quest for a top-four spot in Intercity Premier Reserve Softball. PHOTO/FILE

SOFTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Giants have two vital away matches today in their push to make the top four in the Intercity Premier Reserve Softball Championship.

The Masterton-based team sit fourth-equal place on four points, along with Hutt Valley Marist and Porirua City United. Poneke-Kilbirnie Pango lead on 10 points, with Johnsonville Billy Goats and Kapiti Coast joint second on eight points.

Giants play Dodgers at Fraser Park at 1pm, followed by Hutt Valley Marist at 3.30pm.

Giants club president Chris Feary said on Thursday that “one win will probably be enough to qualify”.

He expects the team will target a first-up win over Dodgers, who have yet to win a game in the championship, but he said “both games will be tough”.

Feary cited veteran pitcher Justin “Chunky” Karaitiana, second baseman and batter Corey Karaitiana, player-coach Gordon Wilmshurst, and batter Justin Fricker as the key players for Giants.

“They have the experience to win these crunch games and there is good confidence they can get the business done”.

The Presidents and Major B women’s teams have already qualified for the top four and are playing for seedings.

The Presidents are away to Te Aroha and are hotly favoured to win and push for the all-important number one seeding for the semifinals. They have lost only one game all season and are not expected be troubled by Te Aroha.

The Major B women also travel to Lower Hutt to take on the Dodgers Divas. Again, Feary predicts that they should have comfortable victory.

The Under-13s are the only junior team in action, away to the Wainuiomata Bears, while the Under-15s’ match has been deferred until next weekend.

Both junior teams are also guaranteed of playing in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Feary is pushing Hutt Valley Softball hard for the Giants to host any home semifinal at South Park.

In the past, all semifinals have been played at Fraser Park, however Feary believes it is time for Hutt Valley to reward the club for their success on the diamond.

“The Hutt Valley clubs may look at it as a long way to travel, and it may impact on their fans, but we deserve the chance to host the semifinals”.

“Whether Hutt Valley Softball agree to it, is a different matter,” he said.