Drama on the diamond
A dramatic finish to the Tairawhiti senior softball women's final was followed by drama and tension in the men's final.
Scorpions snatched victory in the bottom of the seventh inning, beating the Rovers women 9-8 at Waikirikiri Park on Saturday.
In the men's final, TWK Rams held off a Spartans side who were threatening a come-from-behind win — the Rams took it 7-6.
After much of the New Zealand and international sporting calendar was postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the softball finals went ahead in front of small crowds.
Tairawhiti Softball president Walton Walker said that although risks of spreading Covid-19 could not be ruled out, the players were local and Tairawhiti had not yet had a confirmed case.
They took precautions, such as holding the finals at different times to limit crowd numbers.
Scorer Leesa Kingi said Scorpions were two runs down when Yuko Beattie stepped up to the plate in the seventh inning.
She had runners on the second and third bases and her hit got them home, as well as herself, for the winning run.
“It was so close all the way,” Kingi said.
An error by Scorpions gave Rovers the advantage and it looked like Rovers would hold on, but they couldn't quite do so.
Hinemoa Sidney went well at first base and Jana Hihi did well as pitcher, Kingi said.
Te Ratahi Campbell pitched well for Rovers, she said.
TWK Rams were up 7-1 in the men's final and looked to be cruising to victory.
But Spartans came right back into it, closing the gap to 7-6 and with time left to finish the job.
“The Rams had to hold off for two full innings,” Kingi said.
The final stages had plenty of tension.
“That game nearly gave me a heart attack,” said Kingi, who has family links with the Rams.
Xavier Kingi and Corey Boocock hit home runs and Rongo Rapaea brought runners home for the Rams.
Kingi said Shaquaid Hihi pitched well for Spartans.