The National – Thursday, December 9, 2010
By JOHN SUPA
FORMER Lae softball ace short-stopper Shirley ToMangana is among a handful of softball enthusiasts, who have revived the game in Goroka, Eastern Highlands, after more than eight years of hibernation.
ToMangana, who is a dentist by profession, was transferred to Goroka this year and along with fellow Goroka Base Hospital worker Eva Ongapa, they have formed, a new team called Medix.
The nucleus of the Medix players is likely to be drawn from the hospital staff as well as the Goroka-based Highlands Regional School of Nursing and the PNG Institute of Medical Research.
ToMangana, who also plays at second-base comes from a softball-playing family and is currently the national short-stopper, is sure to stamp her authority as the season progresses.
Her sister Tara ToMangana is one of PNG’s top pitchers, having led the Lae teams to winning several national titles.
Since the 2001-02 season Christmas break, the Goroka softball competition did not continue after the festive period until this year, when concerned softball fanatics decided to revive the competition.
The revival of the competition is also timely in that Goroka would be hosting the National Softball Championship next Easter.
“We have to have our competition going because we have the championships right here on our own turf,” veteran official Sebby Womola expressed.
A working team comprising of old hands in the likes of Sebby and Mary Womola, Oddie Kaminiel, Madang’s Peter Bird, Apelis and Belinda Mapua, Robert Lai, John Supa, Julius Kapinias, Gaulim Tags, Samu Sasama, Thomas Malai, Joe Kuno and Sammy Ronny have been appointed as interim officials to get the competition off the ground.
Last Sunday’s trial games proved very positive with many old and new players converging onto the National Sports Institute and with that overwhelming interest from the clubs, a tentative pre-season draw has been made for this weekend’s games.
In the men’s division, Brown Eagles with veterans Womola and Jayess at the helm, will take on Faniufa Highway Tigers on diamond one.
Following that, ToMangana’s Medix face Cathy Lai’s Laikos, while in the final match, Steven Mondia’s Lopi Brothers meet Laikos.
In diamond two, Malangan and Highway Tigers lock horns, followed by United Sisters and Karanas, while Minogere Royals and Malangan men complete the day’s round of games.
Womola said that the number of clubs might increase due to the increase of the New Guinea Islands communities in neighbouring Kundiawa, Kainantu and Yonki.
He also expressed optimism of getting sponsorships from keen individuals and business houses, since softball was considered a family sport.