Eagles the high flyers
Stoke Eagles women started the 2013 softball season confidently, taking two wins in the leadup to club nationals in the Hutt Valley in March.
The women beat an Eagles men's team 7-5 and then defeated their old rivals, Royals xtReme, 16-3 on Saturday at Saxton Ballpark.
In the matchup against xtReme, Stoke Eagles won convincingly, taking the game in four innings.
A number of batters got to base each turn at bat, including Hannah Cook who hit two singles, a double and took a walk; Abbie Cook who hit a double and a triple; Paige Lovell who hit three from four, and Junita Thomson, who hit to the fence at centrefield. Natalie Ewing hit consistently well over the two games.
Lorin Cook hit a home run with loaded bases and scored all four runs, and impressed on the mound as well, giving up only three hits all game.
She also took four strikeouts.
Stoke's Emma Stobie took a nice catch in leftfield and Rachel Atkinson beat a batter to first base with a throw from rightfield.
Royals scored two runs in the second inning. The first came from pass balls, the second from a hit to centrefield by Kelsey Power. Their additional run in the fourth inning was scored on walks as Cook began to tire in the team's second game in extreme heat.
Royal xtReme players who impressed were catcher Penny Stickney and short stop Nat Hone.
Coach Daryl Stratford said he was pleased with the results.
"They may have made seven errors compared to our one but we hit to gaps and ran the bases well."
In Stoke's first game, the women played an Eagles composite team, which included some senior A men.
Again the women hit well, connecting with Alistair Ching's pitches. Luke Bowers, a senior A player, replaced him on the mound near the end of the game but it wasn't enough to shut out the women.
Megan Thomson took to the mound for two innings, back from injury after breaking her ankle in a slide in October last year.
"Two wins after a long break over Christmas is a great leadup to club nationals," Stratford said.
"Against the women we batted well and hit to gaps.
"Even against the men we hit the ball well."