By HENRY MORABANG and ELIZABETH VUVU
REIGNING champions Port Moresby men and women teams successfully retained the championship tag for the third consecutive year at the 35th National Gaming Control Board-sponsored national softball championships held over Easter weekend in Kokopo, East New Britain.
The Easter weekend championships attracted a record 29 teams from Madang, Lae, Port Moresby, Kokopo, Rabaul, Gazelle, Kara, Lihir and Kavieng excluding teams from the highlands region.
In the men’s, the defending champion’s good pitching by Daniel Tovia and tight in-fielding enabled them to beat Madang Kingz 5-0 in the men’s grand final yesterday.
In the women’s game, the POM ladies were running two points ahead of host Kokopo but the Radaaz girls managed to get another run to narrow the margin, but had to settle for second best.
The capital city ladies scrapped home with 4-3 win over Kokopo Green.
Hurler Tovia sent batters who struggled to come to terms with his speed as he continued to register K2s in each of the innings.
Both teams managed to nail each other down before the defending champs broke through with two runs in the bottom of the third inning and another in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Runs registered by Port Moresby men’s team came from Paul Tabete, David Miki, Tony Karani and Demas Tovia’s two runs.
Port Moresby men’s coach Ezekiel Tovia said the team played according to plan with the pitcher concentrating on all batters and restricting them.
“We capitalised on our batting even though Madang which has been in the competition for a long time has always been competitve against us.
“Winning three times in a row is is a great feeling,” he said.
A disappointed Madang Fox coach, Warren Kakat said losing was a hard pill for the Madang team to swallow.
“Our guys just did not click, our batting was a major let down,” Kakat said. PNG Softball Federation president Chris Bais thanked all the participating teams for taking part in the 2010 championships and he acknowledged the support from National Gaming Control Board (NGCB) for the last three years.
NGCB chief executive officer Simon Sanagke summed up stating that he was very impressed with the organisation of the softball championships.
“What more can you ask for when the East New Britain people have provided the best hospitality for the visiting teams during the long Easter weekend. I enjoyed the five-day tournament and hope other visitors also enjoyed their stay in Kokopo,” Sanagke said.
He said the tournament was attracting more teams each year and a real mark of improvement of softball in the country.