Magpies swoop in for grand final glory over Bluebirds
SOFTBALL: Diehard softball fans braced the cold on Saturday night to show their support for their teams in the grand final in Rockhampton's women's softball league.
With two of the best teams in the women's stepping up to the pitch, tensions and spirits were high.
Taking advantage of full numbered sides, A-grade Magpies Maniacs and Bluebirds Bombers delivered a neck-and-neck performance.
Despite the toing and froing on the scoreboard, the Magpies eventually came out with the win; a close 7-10 victory.
Magpies base coach Greg Reichler said with opposition on their heels all season, this game was truly a matter of going hard or going home.
"We had to work hard for it,” he said.
"We knew we had to bring our A-game and we bought close enough to it.
"All our batters stood up and everyone chipped in.
"They all hit hard and kept the pitchers quiet on the other side.”
Nerves were tested when Bluebirds' pitcher Anastasia Duncan "hit a back of the pitch” and took Magpies' pitcher out.
However, amongst the "change in momentum”, pitcher Tia Waters, who has been with the club for three years, stood up and delivered an impressive throwing game.
"Our focus was just on using strong bats, keeping it tight in defence and it all paid off,” Reichler said.
He also noted that this grand final win will solidify another successful season next year.
Star pitcher Waters, 20, credited the opposition for delivering impressive "batting and fielding” after a strong season.
"Bec (Watson) did pitch one hell of a game... but unfortunately she got hit in the thumb and was injured,” Waters said.
Going into tonight's match, Waters said she was focusing on "quality bats, scoring the runners and backing them up on the field pitching”.
"We're just a big family, and we come together and gel... and have fun,” she said.
"We had a couple of downers in the game but we hugged it out and said 'have some fun, we got this'.
"When it gets tough, you've got to back each other up and make sure everyone is on their toes at all times.”
Waters represented Australia last year in the Worlds and will be heading to the State Championships in the Open's Women's Redcliffe in September.
Bluebirds' batter Katii Batty said her team's performance was one of the best they've had against Magpies.
"It was hard fought on both ends,” she said.
"We banded together, and for a team with quite a few players that live out of town and find it hard to get to training, it was such a good display of softball.
"Batting was one of the things we were working on at an individual level to come together as a team, and it was good to see what we've been putting in our training come into the game.”
Batty said the whole game was "touch and go” with the Bluebirds leading on the scoreboard at times.
"They got a couple of runs in the first innings which put a bit of pressure on us but we fought back, then they fought back, then we fought back,” she laughed.
"It was really good, up and down.
"Magpies got some really good hits into the gaps in the field and hit the spots where they needed to hit and got the runners around.”
Batty will also be heading to the State Championships, along with Bluebirds' first base Kellie Sharp, catcher Mikayla Olive, second base Makayla Bell, Tiarna Wright and a number of younger players.