Canterbury work hard to win Jeffries title
Josh Harbrow's infield single in extra innings gave the Canterbury Red Sox their 18th straight South Island Jefferies Cup men's title after a 9-8 win over a gallant Marlborough.
Marlborough - seeking their first South Island title since 1988 - leapt out to an 8-0 lead before Canterbury launched a comeback culminating in Harbrow batting in Clayton Ellis for the winning run in the eighth inning tiebreaker in yesterday's final at Mainland Foundation Ballpark.
The Red Sox had only shaded Marlborough 3-2 in round-robin play on Saturday after being tied down by the northerners' promising teenage strike pitcher Kurt Schollum.
Schollum - a shock omission from the Junior Black Sox's world championship squad - showed off his all-round skills in yesterday's final, clubbing a three-run automatic home run with Darren Aldridge and Kyle Marfell on base in the top of the first inning.
Marlborough leapt out to a 7-0 lead in the second frame after Marfell and Aaron Risdon got back-to-back hits off Canterbury starter Scott Sutherland, forcing coach Greg Newton to bring on injured Black Sox hurler Penese Iosefo.
Iosefo conceded just three more hits to prove his fitness for this week's National Fastpitch Championship in Auckland.
Canterbury sparked its rally when Gareth Cook doubled, Harbrow tripled and Paul Barker smashed an automatic home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Captain Cook put another home run out of the park in the fifth frame and Schollum's day was done after singles to Harbrow and Barker.
Marlborough went into the seventh inning with a 8-6 lead but Stephen Ratu and Harbrow, who had four hits from five at-bats for an .800 average, equalised for Canterbury to force the tiebreaker.
Canterbury lost their first Jefferies Cup game for 20 years on Saturday when Otago pitcher Ben Watts smashed a home run off his Papanui (Canterbury) clubmate Sutherland for a 3-0 win.
Oriana Hesp and Cassie Siataga were the Canterbury Red Hawks' master blasters in their 12-2 five innings win in the Jubilee Cup South Island women's final over the Canterbury under-19s.
Hesp marked her comeback to representative softball after a two-season absence by slamming an in-the-park home run to also score Steph Kepa and Emma Frost. Siataga also homered with Manawa Ruki on base as the Hawks racked up seven runs in the third inning to end a 2-2 stalemate.
Hawks pitcher Amy Begg, 15, had a good buildup for her first NFC tournament, holding the 19s to three safe hits, two infield singles and a triple by Boo Quinn.
Carl Tuinenga's Red Hawks beat the under-19s 8-1 in section play on Saturday but the juniors upset their seniors 2-1 yesterday morning with young pitcher Sarah Carter combining with catcher Hayley Begg to hold down the Hawks and pinch-hitter Ariana Reihana driving in the winning run.
Jefferies Cup men: Otago 3 Canterbury 0, Marlborough 11 Nelson 2, Southland 3 Canty 19s 0, Canty 19s 5 Marlborough 2, Canterbury 19 Nelson 0, Southland 4 Otago 1, Southland 9 Nelson 0, Canterbury 3 Marlborough 2, Otago 7 Canty 19s 3, Canterbury 12 Southland 1, Nelson 4 Canty 19s 3, Canterbury 8 Canty 19s 0, Marlborough 2 Otago 0, Marlborough 4 Southland 2, Nelson 9 Otago 2. Final: Canterbury 9 Marlborough 8 (8 innings).
Jubilee Cup women: Canterbury Red Hawks 17 Nelson 2, Nelson 4 Canty 19s 3, Canterbury 8 Canty 19s 1, Canterbury 17 Nelson 2, Canty 19s 2 Canterbury 1, Canty 19s 5 Nelson 3. Final: Canterbury 12 Canty 19s 2 (5 innings)