Otahuhu team through to finals
Otahuhu premier women's softball team are through to the final of the Auckland club softball championship.
The minor premiers face keen rivals the Western Magpies at Simpson Reserve in Penrose tomorrow.
The pair emerged the victors from the semifinals at Warren Freer Park in Mt Albert on Wednesday night.
Otahuhu had to play back-to-back semifinals to qualify.
They were beaten 2-1 by the Magpies in the semifinal between the top two qualifiers.
That forced Otahuhu into a sudden death game with the Mt Albert Ramblers who had knocked out the Waitakere Bears in their semifinal.
Otahuhu won that match 4-2 to clinch their place in the final.
Coach Wayne Roper says it was a tough night at the office.
"It's pleasing to be in the final. It was physically and mentally demanding having to play back-to-back semifinals against two of the best teams in Auckland.
"But we're through and that's all that counts."
Rope says the team showed plenty of courage. Their heads were down after the loss to the Magpies.
"They could have easily let their emotions get to them but they hung in to beat a very good Ramblers outfit.
"Our American pitcher Samantha Parkes was outstanding. She showed just how tough a competitor she is.
"She pitched 14 innings and deservedly hit the winning run for us. She's in great form for the final."
The final promises to be a ripper. That's because neither team has dominated at club level or in the numerous tournaments in which Otahuhu and the Magpies have met.
"There's nothing between us," Roper says.
"We'd won three of the last four games we played. But they turned that around by beating us in the semifinal. They'll be feeling better for that." Roper believes lapses in concentration in the match cost them against the Magpies.
"We've got to stay focused for the whole seven innings. We can't afford to have an innings on and an innings off like we did in the semis."
Tomorrow's match starts at 1.30pm.