Hawke's Bay's Ryan Martin and his Great Britain softball side's teammates deserved better at this month's North Harbour-hosted World Series.
Great Britain recorded three wins in pool play but missed out on a quarter-final berth with a 4-1 loss to the United States. Second baseman Martin, 21, was Great Britain's lead off batter and top batter at the tournament.
He had the honour of taking a hit off Aussie Adam Folkard who was the world's best pitcher until the final three days of the World Series. On Saturday Martin received the perfect consolation for missing out on World Series quarter-final play by helping his Fast Pitch club team win Hawke's Bay's premier men's post-Christmas competition.
The former Hawke's Bay United soccer representative smashed a crucial three bagger which scored two runners as Fast Pitch beat pre-Christmas champions GSB Building Saints 6-4 in the sudden death semifinal and got on base with both of his turns at bat as Fast Pitch walloped Maraenui Pumas 10-0 in the final to deny Pumas a four-peat of this title.
"Hopefully we can play like that next week at interclubs. We're capable, all the boys have been there before ... it's just a matter of stringing hits together at the right time," Martin said referring to the national men's interclub tournament which starts in Christchurch on Wednesday.
After the tournament Martin will fly to Melbourne and later in the year return to Europe so he can have regular game time with the Great Britain side before starting the qualifying process for the 2015 World Series in Canada.
Six runs in the second inning which gave Fast Pitch a 7-0 lead were the key to Fast Pitch's six inning victory. Numerous errors and too much panic and wrong decisions on defence proved costly for a side which again missed the services of pitcher Regan Manley who was with his Canterbury club side preparing for the interclubs.
The Pumas batters collected just three hits in the game. Catcher Karaitiana Aranui, who returned from his university commitments in Auckland for the final, took two off Jordan Waterhouse while centre outfielder Lachie Hook took one off Waterhouse's deputy Isaiah Tangaroa.
The Fast Pitch batters collected eight hits off Pumas pitcher Mark Kelleher who managed just one strikeout in the game, two less than Waterhouse.
Hawke's Bay representatives Dodgers finished sixth at the national women's interclub tournament which ended in Lower Hutt yesterday.
Dodgers lost 6-0 to Western Magpies of Auckland in the playoff for fifth and coach Kevin Gettins said inconsistency with the bat hurt his troops. The Magpies had White Sox training squad pitcher Jennifer Ferret on the mound.
As a result of their top six finish Dodgers qualify for an automatic invite to the prestigious Bev Chote tournament in Auckland next February. On Saturday Dodgers became the first team to beat Otahuhu at the tournament with an 8-5 victory. However Dodgers missed out on the top four on a countback.