Enoka revels in under-19s win
Auckland under-19 softball pitcher Thomas Enoka is in the form of his life.
The 17-year-old was named pitcher of the tournament when his side won the national champs in Nelson last month.
Enoka didn’t give away any home runs during the fourday competition in which Auckland were unbeaten.
He credits his three seasons playing at premier level for the Mt Albert-based Auckland United club in the tough Auckland competition as one reason for his success in Nelson.
“You’re playing at a higher level than when you go down to the 19s,” he says.
“You’re a step above half the other guys down there.”
Enoka says he’s happy the team came away with the title, after beating Wellington 9-0 in the final.
“There were some good teams there but they didn’t perform to their best.”
The side was also intent on taking out the title for their coach John Love after they were knocked out of the competition in the round-robin stages last year.
“We were playing to get him a title because he was a bit gutted last year.”
Enoka says he wants to follow in the footsteps of his cousins Kurt and Travis Allan and play for the Blacksox. However he knows there’s plenty of competition to make the national team.
“Some pitchers these days play until they’re 45.”
Love says he isn’t surprised at his star pitcher’s performance. He discovered him at an early age.
“I first selected Thomas at under-13 level and unbeknownst to me he was only 10 years old then.
“He’s solid and dominates on the mound.”
And while Enoka’s pitching was one of the keys to the tournament win, Love says batting depth was another important factor.
“Most teams rely on three or four batters, but we had hitting depth right through the line-up.
“Strong batters from one to nine was a real factor for us.”
In full swing: Auckland pitcher Thomas Enoka shows off the skills that made him pitcher of the tournament at the under-19 nationals in Nelson.