Mareikura create history courtesy of ‘massive team effort’

Otago Māreikura beat the Canterbury Red Hawks 4-2 to win the Jubilee Cup for the first time....
Otago Māreikura beat the Canterbury Red Hawks 4-2 to win the Jubilee Cup for the first time. PHOTO: MARK AHFIELD
It has been a long 36 years but the Jubilee Cup has finally found its way to Otago.

The Otago Māreikura created history, beating the Canterbury Red Hawks 4-2 to clinch the region’s first women’s South Island softball title yesterday.

There were fist pumps and many a hug after the final innings and captain Katie Smith was thrilled to secure the cup.

"This is what we’ve wanted," Smith said.

"This is the epitome of South Island softball.

"I can’t even explain how good it feels."

Having lost to the Red Hawks twice during the round robin in Christchurch, Māreikura, who were resurrected in 2016 after a seven-year absence, needed to lower their error rate and connect bat to ball to give themselves a chance in the final.

They did just that, sticking with a 15-player mentality and making only one error — "which is pretty massive for seven innings — throughout the final.

"Everyone played their part from outfield to infield, to pitcher, catcher, to the bench.

"It was just a massive team effort."

Canadian pitcher Kate Dolinski had an "amazing game", setting Māreikura on their way by hitting a two-run RBI, when they were two out in the first inning to put them up 2-1.

Brooke Pennicott, a addition from Southland, then made a good outfield hit, which went through left field, to add another two runs.

"We had to get people on base, we had to be in scoring position, we have to give ourselves opportunities and that’s what we did."

Dolinski, who was awarded pitcher of the tournament, also had a strong combination with catcher Tessa Brown

Coach Corey Senelale praised his players’ teamwork and effort across the whole weekend, especially in the final.

"Just really proud of the girls, to be honest," Senelale said.

"You know they really built [through yesterday’s] games and we worked on a lot of stuff ... and basically just strung it all together.

"Couldn’t be prouder of them."

Otago Whatukura (men) were strong through the round robin, beating Nelson, Southland and South Canterbury.

But they fell in the final, losing 7-0 to the Canterbury Red Sox.