Men at work
THE newly-formed men's softball competition returned with some big hits and spectacular catches and Souths Magpies, Blue Jays and Cardinals players said the concept is a winner.
The positive feedback received suggests that the competition will grow moving forward.
Souths Magpies player and coach Merv Downing said there is every reason to suggest the men's format will thrive following previous attempts to get it off the ground.
"We're trying to introduce new players and each of the three teams has two to three beginner players,” Downing said.
"All the new players they said they will bring their mates to play.
"I think it will take off.”
Downing's men enjoyed a tight 10-8 win against Blue Jays in game one before going down 13-7 to Cardinals in the first round of matches on Wednesday night.
"There were plenty of big hits with batters trying to hit balls flat and hard,” Downing added.
That was because he explained that batters are dismissed if they hit balls for home runs.
Cardinals' captain and Queensland representative Brock Finlay said that a highlight for him was seeing the youngsters.
"It was good to get back into the flow after the last men's comp back in 2013,” Finlay said.
"It was good to see all the young blokes play against the older and more experienced blokes.”
Josh Ferguson played for the Blue Jays and enjoyed in what were perfect conditions.
"It was good fun even though I didn't bat all that well,” Ferguson said.
With the installation of brand new lights, Ferguson also sees no reason why the men's competition should not thrive.
"I'm definitely keen for it to kick off for the season and the lights are great to play in,” he said.
Men's competition co-ordinator Joe Ludkin said the Wednesday night program frees up players to do whatever they want on Saturday.
Not to be confused with the slow pitch format, Ludkin emphasised that pitchers adjust accordingly.
"The pitchers will pitch to the standard of the batters,” he explained.
"Pitchers will see if a batter is not that competent and so they will pitch slower, but if a batter is good, then the pitch will send them down quicker.
"Really, that's where it's not slow pitch.”
Ludkin added the players' age ranged from 14 to 58 years.
"There is a mix of ages and in the teams are under-17 and under-19 Gladstone representative players, beginners and over-50s who are playing in the masters tournaments,” he said.
Meanwhile Blue Jays play in a double header next Wednesday against Souths from 6pm and Cardinals at 7.30pm.
The senior women's competition takes a two-week break due to several players who will compete in the Pan Pacific Masters on the Gold Coast.
MEN'S SOFTBALL PROGRAM
Nov 9: Blue Jays v Souths 6pm; Blue Jays v Cardinals 7.30pm. Nov 16: Cardinals v Souths 6pm; Cardinals v Blue Jays 7.30pm. Nov 23: Souths v Cardinals 6pm; Souths v Blue Jays 7.30pm. Nov 30: Blue Jays v Cardinals 6pm; Blue Jays v Souths 7.30pm. Dec 7: Cardinals v Blue Jays 6pm; Cardinals v Souths 7.30pm. Jan 11: Souths v Blue Jays 6pm; Souths v Cardinals 7.30pm. Jan 18: Blue Jays v Souths 6pm; Blue Jays v Cardinals 7.30pm. Jan 25: Cardinals v Souths 6pm; Cardinals v Blue Jays 7.30pm. Feb 1: Souths v Cardinals 6pm; Souths v Blue Jays 7.30pm. Feb 8: Blue Jays v Cardinals 6pm; Blue Jays v Souths 7.30pm. Feb 15: Cardinals v Blue Jays 6pm; Cardinals v Souths 7.30pm. Feb 22: Souths v Blue Jays 6pm; Souths v Cardinals 7.30pm. Mar 1: Blue Jays v Souths 6pm; Blue Jays v Cardinals 7.30pm. Mar 8: Cardinals v Souths 6pm; Cardinals v Blue Jays 7.30pm