by Karen Sinclair

North Island Division 2 Secondary School Softball Championships

Recently the PNBHS Softball team attended the North Island Secondary School Softball Championships held in Palmerston North. Read their match report below.

Day one of the North Island Division 2 Secondary School Softball Championships saw the Palmy Boys’ team scheduled for three games, the first against St Bernard’s College. This was the team’s first game as a collective with boys coming together from a range of teams for the tournament. This showed in our first game as the team lacked cohesiveness and the fielding performance was below the level required to be successful. Dropped catches allowed runners in and heading into the last inning, PNBHS found themselves down 8-2. A strong last bat saw the boys close the gap, but an 8-6 loss was the end result.

The boys knew they had to be better in their second match against Manukura. Again, errors and misunderstood calls cost the boys and this resulted in a 5-4 loss and 0 from 2 for the tournament. Better performances were required and playing under lights against the highly rated Rongotai College was their chance. The performance was an improvement, however, the result was the same with a 12-3 loss, unfortunately ending day one down without a win on the board. 

On day two the team only had two games to play, the first against Hato Paora. Having not swung a lot on day one, this was their chance to get bat on ball and score some runs. And that they did. Some clever running and clean hitting saw the team out to a 19-5 lead in the third innings, one run off a mercy win. The boys let the foot off the throat a little and Hato Paora scored six runs in their last at bat, finishing the game 19-11. This was a much needed win and confidence booster for the boys. 

Game five was against Paraparaumu College. The boys were slow to start and found themselves down 3-2 after three innings. A strong fourth innings saw them take the lead 7-3 and in the fifth, the batters found gaps, or cleared the field to put the game out of doubt at 19-3. This included a ‘grand slam’ to captain Joe Simpson-Smith. This win continued to build the team’s confidence. 

Day three was a crucial day if the team were to have any chance of making the semi-finals. First up was a strong Napier Boys’ High School team. A slow start again saw Napier out to 5-2 after the first innings. The boys fought hard and after three innings, found themselves down 7-5. With only the fourth inning to play, runs were needed. Pitcher, Jaden Hita, was up first and was struck on the arm so was walked to first base. Although able to get home and score, the injury sustained ruled Jaden out of playing any further part in the tournament, a massive loss. Three runs were scored and a lead of 8-7 meant a new pitcher was to take the mound and no runs could be let in. Joe once again stepped up, as did the field, and we were able to hold Napier scoreless and record a much-needed win. 

Next game was against tournament favourites, St Pat’s Silverstream. Having knowledge of other results meant PNBHS needed one win from their last two games to secure a possible a semi berth. This allowed the opportunity to try a new pitcher/catcher combination. The team tried hard but were outclassed 19-1. 

The final game of round robin play was a must win; the prize being a semi-final spot. Feilding High School stood in the way and the team started strongly, twice seeing the ball hit over the fence. A strong performance throughout saw a 13-2 mercy win in the fourth inning and a semi-final against St Pat’s Silverstream the following morning. 

Fielding first, the Palmy Boys’ team started well, however a few small errors saw the Silverstream team get ahead. The team fought hard and hung in there, and after the third inning found themselves down 7-3. Silverstream showed their class and finished strong to win the game 16-3. With no playoff for third and fourth, a respectable third equal resulted. St Pat’s Silverstream went on to win the final. 

The boys should be proud of their efforts throughout the week and they represented the school and the brotherhood well. A massive thanks has to go out to old boys Sam Selby-Law and Tre Wihongi who gave up their time to coach the boys throughout the week. Their experience and expertise was greatly appreciated by all. Thanks also the families, staff and students who were behind the boys as well.