Ramblers continue good run
The Mt Albert Ramblers’ domination of the national club softball championships continued at Rosedale Park over the weekend.
Led by outstanding playercoach Donny Hale, the club secured its third successive title and the fifth in the past seven years.
Ramblers went through the series unbeaten, taking out Hutt City 4-2 in the semifinal and then the powerful Wellington club Miramar 4-0 in the final.
Both games found the normally strong Ramblers’ batters lacking confidence.
Hale brought the team to life, bursting out of an unusually long batting slump to hit a big home run against the Hutt and another to open up the scoring against Miramar.
Hale believes the club could eventually match the efforts of Wellington’s Poneke-Kilbirnie which dominated the game with 11 titles in 18 seasons between 1987 and 2004.
“We have won five in the past seven years but we could have won them all.
“We want to have a long reign,” he says.
The most valuable player at the 24-team event was Ramblers’ Nathan Nukunuku who hit the most home runs at the tourna- ment and was brilliant in the field. His batting average was over four hits for every 10 turns at bat.
And Ramblers pitcher Terence Hibbert, brought into the side under rules which allow guest players after regular pitcher Thomas Cameron sustained an injury, was named pitcher of the series.
Meanwhile Auckland United were poised to make the top four but could only struggle to a 54 win over Auckland Marist in their final round robin game.
With two other teams on the same points, United missed out on the semis after run countback.