With fine weather at last, the five premier games produced some great batting with 83 hits being recorded in the grade.
Black Panthers were in good form, defeating ILT Dodgers Eagles 10-3, ILT Dodgers Brewers recorded their first win of the season over Blues 10-8, ILT Dodgers Diamondbacks carried on their good form taking out Central Otago Panthers 10-3, Demons Red accounted for Blues in their second game 13-7, and in the clash between Demons Blue and Craftys United, Demons took out the game by 9 runs to 2.
Being up eight runs after four completed innings, Black Panthers were in complete control over Dodgers, allowing only two runners to reach base.
Jason Milne took out six batters at the plate and allowed only one hit to be recorded.
Dodgers did better in the fifth innings, with three hits and three runners crossing home plate. Panthers scored another two runs in the top of the seventh, with Daniel Keen hitting a home run.
For Panthers, Wade Griffen, Regan Prattley (4) Bruce Rogers, Keen (2) Milne, Rachel Newton, Mark Pearson (1)
Wiremu Karetai, Giahanni Paraku (2) Connor Templeton, Jahna Crombie (1) took the six hits for Dodgers. Dodgers Brewers managed at last to record a win, although they were behind in the hitting duel with Blues with five hits to seven.
Taine Duthie had one of his better games for Dodgers, hitting a three-base hit and striking out eight of the opposition on defence.
Zane Hiko for Blues, showed that he could be dangerous with the bat, going three for three, and also doing well on defence with six strikeouts.
Duthie, Joe Nicholls, Simon Gilbert, Troy Duthie and Mark Frew (1) recorded the hits for Dodgers.
Hilo (3) Sam Lowe, Tauira Patterson, Stephen De Garnham, Angela Taylor (1) for Blues.
In what was expected to be a much closer game, the first two innings between Demons Blue and United were scoreless, with spectators settling in for a close encounter.
However, Demons took off in the top of the third, started by George Karamaena hitting safely to centre field, Chris Telfer dropped the sacrifice bunt that was errored, and the ever-reliable Danny Shayler batted both runners in. Michael Sinclair carried on with a two-base hit, and a drive by Jimmy Affleck to right field scored the two base runners.
After Kayne Duggan was walked for United in the bottom of the third, reaching second on a wild pitch, Tane Tuhakaraina came up with the hit to score Duggan, and reach second on the throw from the outfield, scoring after an infield error and a fielders choice. Demons scored another five runs in the top of the fifth, with six hits and an error.
For Demons, Karamaena, Shayler, Sinclair, Affleck (2) Andrew Karsten, Trevor Pryde (1)
Devon Robinson, Tuhakaraina (1) got the two hits for United.
The last game in this grade was between Demons Red and Blues, with the Red team coming out on top.
In fairness to Blues, Demons took off top Southland pitcher Daniel Perry after two innings, as he had struck out the six batters faced, while Demons had scored six runs in their two innings.
This was the incentive that Blues needed, as they clawed their way back with five runs in the bottom of the third.
It was therefore no surprise to see Demons bring back Perry to stop the runs. This he did, with Blues scoring only another two in the forth and fifth. Demons then went on to score another seven runs to take the game.
Demons batters were: Brad Perry, Tim Flynn (3) Isaac Thurlow, Daniel Perry, Daniel Karsten (2) Scott Sinclair, Dean Allen, Kieran O'Connor (1)
For Blues, Stephen De Garnham (3) Peter Taylor (2) Tauira Patterson, TeArohatai Mataha (1).
- The Southland Times