Extra innings softball thriller
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
AN extra innings softball thriller decided the victor of the A reserve grand final that eventually saw the Royals named as this year's champion.
After a tense affair with runs at a premium, scores were locked together at five runs apiece at the game's end but it was a situation that Royals' captain Sharon van den Berg was half expecting.
"I thought it would be tight," she said after the win.
"We did really well in our batting, Woolgoolga have got a really fast pitcher and I thought if we could hit her then we'd be right because our fielding is very good."
Come the time for the first extra inning, the Royals batting line-up clicked into overdrive.
After an early strikeout by Woolgoolga pitcher Michelle Ray, the Royals outfit recovered and went on to make seven runs to put them in the box seat.
"Everyone in the team got across the plate in the end so it was a real team effort," the captain added.
The game wasn't over as Woolgoolga made a huge last-ditch bid to stay in the game making four runs but alas it wasn't enough.
Normally in a tense match with big stakes that comes down to virtually sudden death, players can be forgiven for being hit with a serious attack of nerves but according to van den Berg, her team was cool and calm under pressure.
"We were probably more nervous at the beginning of the match," the captain said.
"I think when it got close towards the end it made us more determined than anything."
At game's end, van den Berg said that the team was ready to celebrate hard after a disappointing season last summer.
"We were pretty excited," she explained.
"I guess we felt that we deserved to win the grand final because we've worked hard for it and worked really well together."
n AN extra inning was also required to decide the winner of the mixed final. Chasing their third title for the day, it was not to be for the Royals as they went down in a 7-6 cliffhanger against the Wannabes.
Earlier in the day the B division final was a case of one way traffic as the Royals comfortably eased to an 11-1 victory over the Bushrangers.