Family commitments restrict Fast Pitch premier men's softballer Josh Tipoki's game time.
So when the father of four children aged three to seven turns out for his side he makes the most of the occasion. Saturday's match against Maraenui Pumas at Akina Park, Hastings, was the designated player's first outing since the pre-Christmas final eight weeks ago and Tipoki celebrated the appearance with an automatic home run over the centre outfield fence on diamond two, a three-bagger and a single during the 9-1 win.
"Mumsie looked after the kids when I worked and now she works it's my turn. The boys know I can't always make it but when I do I like to contribute," Tipoki said.
"Look, the kids are keen to get involved too ... it looks like I've got one leftie and three right handers," Tipoki said, pointing to his youngsters working on their swings as they waited for their Dad to complete his post-game media interview.
"That win was crucial for us to stay on target to make the March 16 final. I won't make the national interclubs with the boys but after losing to Saints in the pre-Christmas final I want to help the boys win the post-Christmas one," Tipoki added, referring to the March 20-24 interclubs in Christchurch.
Fast Pitch were fortunate Pumas Black Sox training squad pitcher Regan Manley was unable to take the mound because his new cleats had yet to arrive in the country.
Manley played first base and 15-year-old Tridan Russell-McClutchie pitched all six innings.
Russell-McClutchie took four strikeouts while conceding nine hits.
The Pumas batters took four hits off Fast Pitch pitcher Jordan Waterhouse, who collected seven strikeouts. Defensive errors, several of them caused by the sun and a tricky wind, proved costly for the Pumas.
GSB Building Saints player-coach Brian Dellow smashed an automatic home run over the centre outfield fence on diamond one as his side beat Napier Vikings 7-0 in the other premier game at Akina Park. Dellow said all of his batters contributed to the victory and Argentinian pitcher Pablo Masmu conceded two hits.
"Pablo turns 20 next month and our goal is to send him home with the post-Christmas title as well as the pre-Christmas one.
"That would complete a memorable summer for Pablo, who was a member of Argentina's Junior World Series-winning side back in November.
"He has been an awesome import who has done a lot of work with our youth and we'll do everything we can to help him win the title."