The Annual Intercity Softball Tournament between the Southland and Otago senior men's teams started at Surrey Park on Saturday, with four Invercargill teams and two Dunedin teams taking part.
The first game was played between two Southland teams, Demons Red and Craftys United. Demons scored one run in the bottom of the first innings, and then unfortunately for United, the second innings was a disaster for them with Demons just about going three times through their batting order to score 16 further runs.
The innings was error ridden, with the strong wind carrying the hits in all directions, but Demons also produced some fine hits and great base running. Daniel Karsten topped the batting for Demons with three hits, a triple, a double and a single, with Jonathan Campbell also collecting a triple and a double, as did Scott Sinclair, Daniel Perry and William Campbell (2).
United only used 10 batters before the game was called at 17-0 with no hits being recorded for them.
The second game between Black Panthers and Dodgers from Otago resulted in an upset win 4-3 for Panthers. Dodgers were one of the finalists in last season's Intercity and were expected to be the same this season. With a past Junior Black Sox pitcher, Ben Watts at the helm, Dodgers were expected to be one of the hard beats. With pick-up pitcher Taine Duthie on the pitching mound for Panthers, the team was down 2-0 going into the top of the fifth innings.
Duthie and Wade McSoriley hit safely to gain base, ending up on second and third after a wild pitch. Monte McLean raced to base on a missed third strike to load the bases. Daniel Keen came up with the hit to score Duthie and McSoriley, pushing McLean to third, and then to home with an error on a throw. Daryl Greig scored a further run to give Panthers the lead.
Dodgers pulled back one run to Logan Herbert in the bottom of the innings, but three outs were taken to end the game.
Demons Blue were the unlucky team of the day, losing both games by one run. Black Panthers had another good win 7-6 against the Blue team, with pitcher Duthie strongly featuring again. Although George Karamaena and Jimmy Affleck hit home runs for the Blue team, it wasn't enough to feature in the end. McLean and Keen also were at the top again with the bat for Panthers .
Cardinals from Dunedin were too strong for United, taking out the game 13-3. Crete Whaanga hit a home run for Cardinals, with Doug Hall, Mitchell Finnie, Lyall Scott and Whaanga (2) featuring with the bat. Devon Robinson, Tim Robinson, Kris Milne, Tane Tuhakaraina and Jake Hansen (1) put bat to ball for United.
Demons Blue's second loss by one run was at the hands of Dodgers from Dunedin 6-5. Karamaena hit another home run, with Andrew Karsten (2) Chris Telfer, Taramaena, Danny Shayler, Shawn Coombe, Michael Sinclair (1).
For Dodgers, Ben Watts hit a home run and brother Matthew went three from four.
The last game of the afternoon saw defending champions Demons Red taken to the wire by Cardinals, with Demons finally winning 4-3. Demons scored three runs in the top of the third, and looked to be in control.
Cardinals came back in the bottom of the fourth with two runs, and again in the fifth with one run to tie the game up. At the front again, Daniel Karsten hit his second three-base hit in the top of the sixth and was batted in by William Campbell.
Tim Flynn also contributed with a double, and singles went to Jonathan Campbell, Sinclair, Daniel Perry and Brad Perry. Cardinals failed to add any more runs in the sixth or seventh innings. Demons deserved the win, as the batting count was in their favour, 7-2. The two hits for Cardinals came from the bat of Scott and Hayden Carey.
The two unbeaten teams of the tournament, Demons Red and Black Panthers, tried to play off on Sunday morning, but the weather was atrocious and play was abandoned. The final between these two teams will be held in March.
- The Southland Times