About team now, says axed Black Sox manager

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 29/11/2011
Doug Golightly
PHOTOSPORT
SCAPEGOAT?: Doug Golightly has paid the price for bringing softball into disrepute.

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Dumped Black Sox manager Doug Golightly has called for the focus to shift from his axing to supporting the team's tour to Canberra this week.

Golightly was sacked as manager by Softball New Zealand after a disciplinary hearing last Thursday.

He was charged with bringing the game into disrepute over comments he made over three Black Sox squad members breaking a team protocol by opting to play baseball.

Black Sox captain Rhys Casley and senior leadership group member Daniel Milne publicly criticised Softball New Zealand's decision to axe Golightly and said the team "backed him to the hilt".

Softball NZ general manager Dane Dougan was still refusing to comment yesterday on the reasons for Golightly's dismissal and chairman Rex Capil did not return calls.

Golightly, in an exclusive interview with The Press, said: "It's time to lock it off as far as I'm concerned. It isn't about me, it isn't about Capil and Dougan. It's about 17 men, some young, some not so young, and their hopes and dreams of winning the 2013 world championships."

Golightly, who is understood to have taken legal advice, said he would not comment further "for the foreseeable future".

But assistant coach Dave Workman said yesterday the team had not given up hope Golightly could be reinstated.

The squad would strive to put the "emotion" behind them but, Workman said, Golightly was "a fantastic manager" and "a terrible loss for us". There would be a sense of "going out there to do it for Doug"at the tournament in Canberra.

"I know there's a feeling within the team from our senior players that we want Doug back. But how that would happen I don't know."

The Black Sox leave for Canberra today without an official manager.

The Press understands Canterbury Softball Association chairman Jayden Moore, the team's assistant manager at the 2009 world championships in Saskatoon, will assume the duties. Moore, who is the Canterbury Red Sox manager, was to have toured anyway as a videographer.

Don Tricker, who coached the Black Sox to world titles in 2000 and 2004, said it was essential the players committed to softball.

"I take the view that the two sports [softball and baseball] can co-exist at community level.

"But at the elite level you have to commit to one sport. It's too tough to have a crack at two."

Tricker, now the New Zealand Rugby Union's high performance manager, said it would affect a batter's swing to switch between softball and baseball in the same season.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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