One loss was all that stood between the Upper South Island team and making the national under-19 men's softball final in Hamilton over the weekend.
Auckland won the final 5-3 over North Harbour and the Upper South Island team, which included several Marlborough players, beat North Harbour in pool play 1-0 and lost in an eighth innings tie-breaker to Auckland in pool play 4-6.
Upper South Island lost one other match, a surprise reversal to Auckland Development on the opening day. Coach Darren Aldridge, from the Saints club in Blenheim, said that loss ultimately cost them a place in the final.
Upper South Island showed a massive improvement from the previous season when they went winless. This time they lost just two matches from nine played and there were some fine performances from Marlborough players.
Pitcher Kurt Schollum made the tournament team. Tailah Love came back strongly in the latter stages to impress and Tyler Bird had a fine tournament, getting bat on ball at crucial times. Nic Kelly also gained from the experience.
- The Marlborough Express