Ram­blers dou­ble act wins fi­nals

Central Leader - - Sport -

There were twice as many rea­sons for the Mt Al­bert Ram­blers Soft­ball Club to cel­e­brate on Satur­day.

The club’s men and women’s sides won their re­spec­tive fi­nals in the Auck­land fast­pitch champs at Rosedale Park.

The men’s side didn’t have it all their own way in their ti­tle de­fence against lo­cal ri­vals Auck­land United, tak­ing out a 6-5 victory in a match that went down to the wire.

Go­ing into the match United had re­cent form on their side, notch­ing up two wins over Ram­blers this sea­son, though the gap be­tween the teams was al­ways close.

But Ram­blers know how to win fi­nals matches, with the victory their fifth con­sec­u­tive Auck­land ti­tle.

Two pre­vi­ously out-of-form play­ers Bernard Hale and Bob­bie King stood up when it counted for Ram­blers, with both belt­ing home runs.

And Matthew Hicks added an­other late in the game to give the reign­ing champs the edge they needed.

New in­ter­na­tion­als Ben and Thomas Enoka were the stand-out play­ers for United with Ben smack­ing four hits from his four turns at bat and Thomas three, as well as pitch­ing a strong game.

Both hit home runs but the rest of the side could only man­age two hits.

The next chal­lenge for Ram­blers is a de­fence of their na­tional club ti­tle in a fort­night. If they’re suc­cess­ful it’ll make them the top club in the coun­try for the third year run­ning.

For Ram­blers women their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive fi­nals win was an up­set over hot favourite Waitakere Bears. The Bears had won 19 games in a row, be­fore the 8-2 loss to Ram­blers.

For­mer in­ter­na­tional Tuhi Cooper was in out­stand­ing form along with pitcher Ca­rina Hale.

Dur­ing the semi­fi­nal ear­lier in the day, Ram­blers edged out Marist 3-2.

It’s been an im­pres­sive cou­ple of years for Ram­blers who were pro­moted into the top grade last sea­son.

Ram­blers take part in the women’s na­tion­als start­ing tonight.

Photo: SHANE WENZLICK

Hit­ting out: Mt Al­bert Ram­blers’ Matthew Hicks sends the ball into the out­field dur­ing their 6-5 victory over Auck­land United in the Auck­land fast­pitch soft­ball fi­nal at Rosedale Park on Satur­day.

Photo: AMELIA JA­COB­SEN

Strike a pose: Cheer­lead­ers Casey Scott, left, and Josie Yock­ney show off their skills be­fore they travel to the Cheer­lead­ing Worlds at Dis­ney World in April.

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