Demons Red had mixed results on the main diamond at Surrey Park on Saturday, when the new Major League competition kicked off, going down to fellow club side, Demons Blue 13-16, but surging ahead 19-4 in three innings against Central Otago Panthers.
In fairness to Demons Red, top Southland pitcher Daniel Perry was still out with injury, with replacements Tim Campbell and Mathew Telfer filling the breach.
Taking nothing away from some fine play by the Blue team, teenager George Karamaena was picked as player of the game. He excelled with the bat, going five from five, including a home run, and, along with Danny Shayler, batted in four runs. Another fill in player, Dean Heydon, was also sharp with the bat, going three from five.
Other batters for Blue were Michael Sinclair, Trevor Pryde, Shayler, Jimmy Affleck (2), Andrew Karsten, Mile Walsh (1).
Jonathan Campbell and Scott Sinclair both recorded home runs for Red, with Telfer batting three from four. Daniel Karsten, William Campbell, Isaac Thurlow and Brad Perry (2) and Tim Flynn (1).
Demons Red shrugged off the loss and played the second game with winning on their mind. It was the teenagers' day in the league, with another, Daniel Karsten, standing out with three from three with the bat, including one over the fence, batting infive runs and some fine base running. Karsten was also player of the game.
The young Central team, although well beaten by the experienced Demons, is to be admired for entering the top grade, showing the boys just what can be achieved.
Three exciting games were played on the Premier League diamond, with Craftys United winning their double-header games by close margins, 6-5 against Black Panthers and 7-6 over ILT Dodgers Diamondbacks. The third tussle between two ILT Dodgers teams, Brewers and Eagles, went to tie-breaker innings to find a winner, with Brewers taking out the game 9-6.
With home runs to Tane Tuhakaraina, Jake Hansen and Shaye Gentle in the first game, United led, but Panthers came back strongly in the bottom of the seventh innings, coming within one run and with two down and two on base, looked like they could snatch the game in the finish. Simon Cade tried hard with a drive that looked like it was going to the outfield, but smacked into the glove of young Tia Tuhakaraina to finish the game.
Tane Tuhakaraina (3) Dylan Richardson (2) topped for United with the bat.
Michael Cade put the ball over the fence for Panthers to record a home run in the third, and followed with another safe hit in the fifth. Jason Milne and Wade Griffen (2) were the other batters.
The second game was thrilling, going right to the wire, tied at 6-6 with two minutes on the clock. With Aaron Wakelin on base after an infield error, Michael Tiplady batted to left field to bring Wakelin in and win the game. Tiplady (3) Devon Robinson, Hansen and Tane Tuhakaraina (2) were the other batters. Another teenager, Devon Robinson, pitched both games for United and never faltered.
For Diamondbacks, Pare Tanoa and Terrance Dunn (2) were on top with the bat, while Karl McDonald hit hard to left field for a three base hit in the sixth.
All tied up at six apiece after time was called, Brewers and Eagles went straight into tie-breaker innings. For Brewers, Shannon Colyer, Darren Flowers, Dean Gibb and Joe Nicolls all hit safely, bringing in four runners in the top of the innings. Eagles could only manage one run in the bottom.
For Brewers, Alan Mortimore hit a home run, with Colyer, Flowers, Gibb, and Nicholls (2).
Eagles batters were Whitney Areaiiti, Giahanni Parata (2).
Two one-sided games in Premier 2 resulted in wins to ILT Dodgers Mustangs, 17-1 against Panthers Angels, and Panthers Wildcats overwhelmed Wallacetown Green 18-1.
Rochelle Watson had a good day for Mustangs with the bat, (4) followed by Jackie Buckley-Gray (3), Kelly Rowland, Sharleen Ruffles, Sandra Robertson, Kristie Scott, Nicola Leonard (2).
Jordan Maher and Yvonne Keen (2) were the strongest for the Angels.
Wade McSoriley and Craig Smith hit home runs for the Wildcats. Ron Fetolofai, Smith (3) McSoriley, James Bell and Grant Smith (2). Carl Stewart scored the run for Wallacetown.
Results on the Premier 3 diamond were ILT Dodgers Misfits 24-11 over Panthers Collegiate, Fernhill Lime Wallacetown 15, Odd Sox 8, St Peters Blue 9, ILT Dodgers PK 5.
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