Epic battles thrill softball fans
FOUR single-run grand-final triumphs resulted in a 10-hour Tweed District Softball Association marathon at Piggabeen on Saturday.
Fans present for the morning finals were treated to two epic encounters, and come the afternoon session, they were on the edge of their seats.
“There were some outstanding matches,” TDSA’s Dave Chapman said.
“Really close, excellent games to close out the local season.
“Not a single game was won by more than one run, which is very rare and speaks volumes about the competitive competition we have.
“It was great to see the best crowd I can remember witnessing some of the best softball on show for a few years.”
Following the uncontested T-Ball final, it was the turn of the under-14 Hammerhead Sharks and Buccaneers to take to the mound.
In a first, a 5-all drawn game was decided by a double tie-breaker, with the underdog Hammerhead Sharks eventually emerging from the two-hour stand-off 7-6 victors.
The preceding under-19 final between the Basking and Reef Sharks was just as close but not as lengthy.
All five runs were scored in the first innings as great defensive play dominated the remainder of the contest.
Basking won 3-2 in another upset.
“Both games were even throughout,” Chapman said.
“Everyone really stepped up to the occasion and in the end both favourites were bitten on the bum.”
The ladies’ final was perhaps the highlight of the day, with some of the nation’s best players showcasing their skills.
For the third year straight it was the experienced Great White Sharks against the young-gun Mako Sharks.
Again the reigning champions failed to defend their title.
The Makos, pre-match favourites for many, were eventually outwitted by the Great Whites, going down 9-8 in the day’s second double tie-break decider.
The men’s final featuring Sharks and Koalas was a different ball game, but again finished neck and neck.
With Koalas cruising 6-0 up at the bottom of the seventh, the hungry Sharks finally sunk their teeth in and launched a late attack for the crown, getting five guys home in a hard-fought 6-5 loss.
“The ladies’ final was an exceptional contest and the wealth of representative talent in the game really stood up,” Chapman said.
“For us Sharks in the men’s though, that’s the third year in a row we’ve been the beaten grand finalists. It’s like we’re the St George of softball.”
At the close of play, Pottsville’s Royce Riches (under-14) and Laura Coulter (under-19), Sharks’ Rebecca Chapman (ladies) and Sharks’ Chris Lewis and Pottsville’s Graeme Snape (men’s shared) were all awarded the Most Valuable Player awards for the season.