Auckland United's Isaac Fletcher smashed a big home run at the national interclub softball tournament.
ORIGINAL STORY by Tony Smith
Some prominent Black Sox players - playing in front of head coach Mark Sorenson and his selectors - led the way in the batter's box at Christchurch's Mizuno Ballpark on Friday.
Auckland United - winners of the last five Auckland premiership titles - edged out Eddie Kohlhase's Auckland Marist 2-1 before thumping Howick 12-1.
Isaac Fletcher - hailed for his pinch hitting grand slam home run for the Black Sox at the Challenge Cup international tournament in Auckland last month - belted the ball over the fence again and Thomas Enoka had two safe hits as United racked up nine hits off Marist southpaw hurler Heinie Shannon.
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Catcher Kallan Compain and Alfons Oveikinovas smashed back-to-back home runs in United's hammering of Howick while Ruben Topia continued his hot batting streak with three hits for a 1.000 average.
Enoka put the ball over the fence in the sixth inning and Compain and Oveikinovas produced consecutive triples.
Harrison Valk homered for Howick's only run,
Ramblers routed Marlborough side Saints 14-0 in five innings with home runs by Regan O'Neill, Zane van Lieshout and Cole Evans, who also hit a three-bagger.
Australian pitcher Andrew Kirkpatrick took seven strikeouts on Ramblers' mound.
Marist bounced back with a vital 5-2 win over Papanui, outbatting the Canterbury champions by nine hits to four.
Papanui hardly helped their cause with some crucial errors, but Marist stole a 3-1 march when veteran catcher Duane Jerard slammed a solo shot homer in the fifth inning.
The Papanui Tigers made a pitching change, bringing on Ethan Johnston, who had had a perfect earned run average (ERA) in section play. But a walk and an error put runners on base and Marist third baseman Gerry Long brought in two insurance runs with a vital single.
Callum Bishop, the Papanui leadoff man, and number nine batter Nathan Watt both had two hits.
Johnston had earlier hurled a 2-0 shutout win over Howick with both runs coming in the first inning after four consecutive safe hits. Bishop singled and scored on Reilly Makea's triple and Tyron Bartorillo and Thomas Makea followed with hits.
Black Sox catcher Cory Timu clouted a home run with Danny Brown on base to give Hutt Valley Dodgers a 4-3 win over Poneke Kilbirnie.
Shortstop Dante Matakatea gave PK the lead with a centrefield homer in the third inning.
Dodgers only had two hits to PK's five, but Timu's third home run of the tournament proved the telling blow.
Black Sox pitcher Nik Hayes nabbed 11 strikeouts to the eight taken by PK rival Jovaan Hanley.
AT A GLANCE
Top Eight results: Papanui (Canty) 2 Howick 0, Ramblers 14 Saints 0, Auckland United 2 Auckland Marist 1, United 12 Howick 0, Hutt Valley Dodgers 4 Poneke Kilbirnie 3, Marist 5 Papanui 2.
Lower section results: Johnsonville 4 Halswell 1, PCU Devils 5 Miramar 4, Northcote 5 Albion 0, Porirua City United 3 Demons 1, Roosters 5 Hutt City United 0, Waitakere Bears 4 Stoke Eagles 3, Albion 7 Halswell 4, Otahuhu 3 Demons 2, Roosters 6 Miramar 0, Northcote 7 Johnsonville 1, Bears 5 Porirua 3.