Māori players stand out at Junior Secondary School Softball nationals

By Wikitōria Day

Today marks the second day of the Junior Secondary Schools Softball nationals where players went head-to-head to fight for a spot in top four positions.

Te Kāea spoke with one of the event organisers about the skill level displayed by students, including our Māori players.

One of the most outstanding games this week was that between Hamilton Boys High School and Hastings Boys High School.

The team who travelled from Waikato took the win.

Hamilton Boys' Zac Pene says, "The boys really stood up today played well against Hawke's Bay."

The impressive pitching skills of Xavier Kingi were a standout, and he says it's a family trait.  "I learnt from my dad and then I moved to Hastings and learnt off my cousin," he says.

Pene holds the position of captain for his team and has seen players flourish throughout the year.

"Most of us are Year 10s so I expect a lot of leadership from them, still got a few Year 9s in our team so they are up and coming development for them," Pene says.

Although there is only a small number of people who participate in this sport at this age level, one advocate from Softball New Zealand believes that some acquire skills beyond their years.

"There's some pretty good talent in there and that’s the thing with softball, particularly in NZ, both in the girls game and the boys," says Nick Cowan.

Cowan also sees that the quality of play from high school players has reached another level.

According to Cowan, "Even though it's a tough game, in terms of keeping the numbers increasing, we are still getting very special talent coming through."

With two more days left of the tournament, there's an eagerness from players to fight for that top spot.