The National, Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Kings are the new national softball champions after defeating Lae Red 4-2 in the men’s grand final at the 36th NGCB national championships at the National Sports Institute Oval, Goroka, yesterday.
In the women’s grand final, defending champions Pacific MMI Port Moresby saved their best for the last coming from behind to clinch a 2-1 victory 2-1 over newcomers Kavieng.
Playing in their maiden final, Kavieng got there by upsetting top teams Lae Gold and Lae Red for the right toface the defending champions.
Kavieng registered their first point through right outfielder Flavia Panga who scored a three-base hit after two down.
Then second-base Elma Kalven sent a ball into the outfield to bring her home for Kavieng’s first and only point of the afternoon.
The next six innings remained scoreless until the final inning when Port Moresby pitcher and female player of the tournament Natalie Bart levelled the score 1-1.
Bart made a three-base hit to safely secure the third base before Josepha Raphael hit the ball to centre outfield to bring her home, and she advanced to firs and second base.
Next on the batting box was veteran Selina Karai, who made a similar hit to centre outfield to bring Raphael home to seal the match.
The men’s encounter went down to the wire the lead changing hands in the first two innings before Madang stamped their mark in the bottom of the fourth inning with three runs.
Madang got the score sheet rolling at the bottom of second when Kelly Upaupa got home for the first point of the final.
However, at the top of the third inning Steven Bunbun scored after he made a three-base hit.
Pitcher Simon Mark made a sacrifice fly to bring him home while he was caught out to level the score at 1-1.
At top of the fourth inning, Peter Simon made a two base hit before a Mark Ilam hit put Lae in front 2-1.
Lae introduced Paul Keleu at the bottom of the fourth which saw Madang register three runs through Meli Tarangau, Mathew Pokanau and Joe Petau to push out to a 4-2 lead. Lae sensing the game was slipping away made a re-entry call to bring back opening pitcher Anslem Bunbun but Madang kept a tight lid on the remaining three innings to win the match.
In the third place playoff, Lae Red came from behind to beat their sister team, Lae Gold 6-5 in the women’s game while, Lae Gold (men) won on forfeiture against the defending champions, Port Moresby after their players inexplicably did not turn up on the NSI field for their scheduled third place playoff match.
Tournament director and senior vice-president of PNG Softball Federation Ralph Tarasomo thanked all 28 teams that participated in three-day tournament in Goroka.
He also thanked the Goroka Softball Association for hosting the trouble-free Easter weekend championships.
The next softball championship is slated for Port Moresby next year.
However, he reminded the top four clubs from each association to start preparing for the club championships in Port Moresby during the coming Independence weekend.