City’s successful formula
Sam Marley hates being too far from the action.
The Porirua City United premier softball pitcher shares duties with Johnson Rauhiri on the mound, and the pair are part of a team that sits atop of the intercity standings. It might sound cliche, but 17-year-old Marley said the mixture of youth and experience had been the key to their success this season.
‘‘Guys like Gene [Lutton] and Les [coach Les Bishop] keep us young guys calm in the tense moments,’’ Marley said. ‘‘They call time out, gather us in, and tell us what has to be done. And our enthusiasm and energy picks them up when things might get a bit flat. It’s a good environment and it’s working. I’m learning a lot.’’
The 3-2 win over PonekeKilbirnie on November 28 was an example of the team’s steel. Big calls and brilliant plays at crucial moments earned Porirua victory.
Marley was especially pleased with his own contribution, coming in late and producing big strikeouts in the final inning.
Marley has come through Tawa and ParemataPlimmerton age grades, but said turning out for Porirua City United this year gave him the best opportunities at the top level.
He is in the wider Junior Black Sox squad and although enrolled at Victoria University next year now he has finished at Tawa College, may put studies on hold if his softball commitments take over.
He wasn’t always a pitcher, spending much of his early years behind the plate.
‘‘I loved being a catcher because you’re always in the action. But sometimes I’d pitch because there was no-one else, and last year I needed to specialise. I love being near the ball – can’t stand just watching.’’
Bishop said the team had surpassed his expectations this season. Rauhiri and Marley controlled the game well, the offence was scoring and they were showing an ability to defend against more fancied sides.
‘‘We’re winning the tough games and that’s through leadership and skill,’’ he said. ‘‘We have a tough second half of the season, but we’ve set ourselves up well.
‘‘A big thing at PCU is we’re showing a pathway for these young guys.’’
Sam Marley is one of the cogs in the impressive Porirua City United softball machine.