United hold tight to lead
Auckland United shook off the challenge of top-four side Northcote on Saturday to maintain their unbeaten run in the Auckland fastpitch club softball championship with a 4-3 win.
Sparked by first batter Tony Niu’s home run off the game’s third pitch, United built a four-run lead but had to work to keep it as Northcote fought back.
United came within one run of wrestling the Auckland title from national champs Mt Albert Ramblers last season and coach Joe Forsyth will be aiming for something better from his squad this time.
Despite a drab batting performance against struggling Howick, Ramblers managed a 2-0 victory.
But they will need to boost their game to head off challengers Northcote and Hibiscus Coast at Rosedale Park on Saturday, while United will play the struggling Glenora at Henderson.
Meanwhile Eden-Roskill claimed a 3-2 win over Marist ahead of their match against the Roosters at May Rd on Saturday.
Ramblers’ women maintained an unbeaten start in their campaign for a third successive Auckland title with a strong batting performance in an 8-1 win over Howick.
Pitcher Victoria Reyland dominated the game with 13 strikeouts, allowing only two hits from 31 batters but getting three solid hits herself.
Tuhi Cooper and Michelle Kingi, both former internationals, had two strong hits each in a 12-hit team effort.
But Metro weren’t so fortunate, going down 12-1 to Marist.