United take out slug fest fi­nal

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - TONY SMITH

Ris­ing Black Sox star Camp­bell Enoka smashed two au­to­matic home­runs to spark Auck­land United to their third na­tional open in­ter­club men’s soft­ball ti­tle.

United – ti­tle win­ners in 1978 and 2012 – over­pow­ered Hutt Val­ley Dodgers 5-2 in a slug­gers fi­nal fea­tur­ing six out-of-the-park home runs.

Enoka – pro­moted to lead­off bat­ter with older brother Ben on the ca­su­alty list – blasted the ball over the fence in the top of the first in­ning and re­peated the feat in the sixth frame at Christchurch’s Mizuno Ball­park on Sun­day.

United head coach Duncan Enoka ad­mit­ted the back-to-back dingers in the first in­ning gave the new cham­pi­ons a dream start af­ter Dodgers had failed to score de­spite a dou­ble by Danny Brown and a sin­gle to Black Sox catcher Cory Timu.

‘‘For any pitcher to get two home runs hit off you [by the first two bat­ters] is quite dev­as­tat­ing. I felt sorry for Nik Hayes there, but he came back strong.’’ Enoka Sr said.

‘‘Once we got ahead, we set that bench­mark, it gave us that buf­fer.

‘‘To be fair, Dodgers came truck­ing back but the boys main­tained their com­po­sure and held out till the end.’’

The United coach paid tribute to ‘‘fired up’’ pitcher Bay­ley Hoani, who held Dodgers to five hits – in­clud­ing two au­to­matic home runs, to Brown and Timu.

Hoani, who also pitched United to vic­tory in the 2012 fi­nal, had ‘‘been a work­horse all week’’, shar­ing the pitch­ing load with Thomas Enoka.

The Auck­lan­ders en­tered the tour­na­ment on a high af­ter win­ning their fifth con­sec­u­tive Auck­land club cham­pi­onship last week­end.

Coach Enoka said it had been their goal to ‘‘win the AFC first and come down and win club nats’’.

When cap­tain Ben Enoka was un­able to play the AFC fi­nal or take the di­a­mond in Christchurch, ‘‘guys on the bench stepped up to fill the hole and cer­tainly did their jobs’’.

Seven of the United squad were back­ing up from the 2012 ti­tle tri­umph and their could be more suc­cess on the hori­zon with United have the coach Enoka noth­ing none of his lineup had yet reached 30 – prime age for a soft­baller.

He has had the nu­cleus to­gether for seven years and said they were ‘‘born and bred United play­ers’’ and there were plenty more play­ers in re­serve.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.