Junior Black Sox get the job done in Australia
The New Zealand under-17 softball team, coached by Timaru's Greg Newton, won the International Friendship Series in Australia.
The Junior Black Sox development team lost their opening game but then went on an eight-match unbeaten run to defeat the strong Australia Gold team 12-2 in the final.
Kiwi pitcher Kalin Lee Felise was named the most valuable player for the decider.
Newton said the team got better with each of the 11 games.
"I felt the Australian teams had pockets of players who were very good, but I thought they lacked the depth we had in all the positions."
Newton, a former Black Sox pitcher, said Felise had good command in the final.
"He hit his spots and was delivering good pitches on the inside and outside corners.
"When you do that it means the batter gets less power in to the ball and it takes the pressure off our infield to make a tough play."
Newton said his team bounced back well after the first-up loss to the more experienced International Softball Academy side in the round-robin to beat them 5-4 in the semifinal.
"It showed how much progression we had made throughout the week.
"They were older and more powerful so we had to play smart."
All the players would now go back and work on areas that Newton and his coaching staff had spotted as needing work over winter before the new season gets under way in September.
Newton's next focus would be trying to coach the Canterbury men's team to another national title in 2014.
- The Timaru Herald