Black Sox hammer Argentina to take TAB Challenge Cup
A spectacular home run by Wayne Laulu with bases loaded has given the Black Sox a 9-0 win over Argentina in the international TAB Challenge Cup softball final in Auckland on Sunday.
New Zealand had a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning and already had a further two runs on the board when outfielder Laulu smacked his home run over centre field.
Pitcher Josh Pettett won the tournament MVP award after shutting out the Argentinians, with coach Mark Sorenson praising him for his development during the tournament, which also featured teams from Japan, Australia, Czech Republic and Samoa.
"Big ups to Josh. He came into this tournament as a young rookie and came out of it as an established man."
The Black Sox had suffered a blow before the final with their best batter, Ben Enoka, ruled out in a judicial hearing after being ejected for his role in an all-in brawl against Argentina on Saturday.
Sorenson said he was delighted with the way the team responded to the challenge posed by his absence. "We are 17 deep and it does not matter who is there and who is not there."
Indeed, no one stepped up to the plate more than Enoka's younger brother Campbell Enoka, who belted a ball over the Rosedale Park fence for the first of the two home runs.
While the Black Sox had had to come from way behind to beat the Argentinians 8-6 on Saturday, they set the agenda on Sunday, scoring runs in the second, third and fifth innings, before the six-run feast at the bottom of the seventh.
Some sloppy fielding cost Argentina, though they were on the wrong end of some questionable umpiring decisions.
Head coach Julio Gamarci was pleased with his side's performance during the tournament, but said they would to work more on aspects of their game.
He was generous about the Black Sox. "Kudos to the home team...(they were) perfect."