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Pitcher Penese Iosefo hurls Canterbury to 21st South Island softball title

December 6, 2015

Canterbury, NZ - Iosefo, who was part of the Black Sox squad that won the 2013 world championship gold medal, won the pitching duel with Marlborough's Black Sox incumbent Kurt Schollum in Sunday's final at Christchurch's Mainland Foundation Ballpark.



Former Black Sox pitcher Penese Iosefo took 15 strikeouts as he hurled Canterbury to the South Island title on Sunday.

ORIGINAL STORY by Tony Smith

Former Black Sox hurler Penese Iosefo shrugged off a food poisoning bug to pitch Canterbury to their 21st consecutive Jefferies Cup South Island men's softball title.

Iosefo, who was part of the Black Sox squad that won the 2013 world championship gold medal, won the pitching duel with Marlborough's Black Sox incumbent Kurt Schollum in Sunday's final at Christchurch's Mainland Foundation Ballpark.

Canterbury won 4-1 with a big inning in the fifth frame after hits by clean-up men Gareth Cook and Josh Harbrow and a two-run home run over the centrefield fence from Josh Thomson.

"Those guys have been there and done that, they all know what finals softball is about," Canterbury coach Greg Newton said.

Newton, a former New Zealand pitcher himself, reserved special praise for Iosefo, who racked up 15 strikeouts to Schollum's five.

"Penese played well. He was a little bit ill in that last game, and we were just monitoring him to make sure he didn't get too crook, but he stuck with it."

Iosefo seemed to be throwing the harder of the two hurlers and conceded just two safe hits and two walks.

Marlborough's hits came back to back in the fourth inning when Kyle Marfell hit a triple to score Paul Stead, who had led off with a single up the middle.

That tied the game up at 1-1, negating Canterbury's first inning run when Curtis Dove plated on Black Sox infielder Harbrow's single.
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Marlborough, bidding to win the title for the first time since 1988, squandered a chance to go ahead when Marfell took off from third base to home on a hit to Dove at shortstop. There was no need to run, with no outs and Dove picked Marfell off at the plate. Marlborough left two more runners on base as Iosefo bore down with two clutch strikeouts.

Harbrow, Cook and Dove all had two hits for Canterbury in the final with Callum Muir, Nopera Stockford and pinch hitter Nathan Watt all supplying hits further down the batting order.

Newton was pleased with the contribution of his new players as the under-strength Red Sox went through the weekend unbeaten.

"They all contributed and played most of the games. Some of the guys not used to this level, like Jaydin Law, and Curtis Dove, who went well, will have learned a lot."

Dove made the tournament team along with Iosefo, Harbrow, Thomson and Antony Stuart.

Stuart had a fine series, catching well to Iosefo in the final, and won the tournament's top batter award with a .471 average. Stuart was unlucky not to get an extra-bases hit in the final, but his stinging drive was superbly caught by Stead, the Marlborough shortstop.

Canterbury beat Marlborough 1-0 in round-robin play on Saturday in the other feature match of the tournament.

Newton expects to name his 17-man squad for the National Fastpitch Championships before Christmas. He has catcher Ihaka Davis (thumb) and slugger Frank Pointon (knee) battling injuries.

South Island tournament team: Pitchers: Penese Iosefo (Canterbury), Kurt Schollum (Marlborough). Catchers: Ryan Merriman (Otago), Antony Stuart (Canterbury). Infielders-outfielders: Josh Harbrow, Curtis Dove, Josh Thomson (Canterbury), Tim Campbell (Southland), Matt Watts (Otago), Matt Holmes, Kyle Marfell (Marlborough).

- Stuff

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