Otago regains Bates Shield for first time since 2009

The victorious Otago men’s softball team of (back row from left) Lyall Scott (assistant coach),...
The victorious Otago men’s softball team of (back row from left) Lyall Scott (assistant coach), Ryan Silke, Corey Senelale, Calab Leddie, Kenji Suzuki, Doug Hill, Al Conway, Arana Kelly and Mark Ahlfeld (coach) and (front row from left) Aaron Parai, James Mathison, Jake Burtenshaw (captain), Logan Herbert, Ben Foster, Patrick Oxley and Nelson Yortson (lying down with the Bates Shield). PHOTO: SUPPLIED
For the first time in 11 years, the Bates Shield is in the hands of Otago.

The Otago men’s team had a 4-2 win over Southland in Invercargill on Sunday to claim the silverware.

Otago previously had the shield in 2009.

The women’s side also went close against Southland before losing 2-0.

The men’s team had a warm-up match against Southland on Sunday morning before the Bates Shield match and lost 12-3.

But the team turned it on when the official game started.

It immediately took the advantage.

In its first inning, lead-off batter Jake Burtenshaw went on base with a hit while Ben Foster went to first base on a walk.

James Mathison then found empty space in the outfield and snagged a triple which led to a 2-0 lead. He was then brought home on a sacrifice fly.

Otago maintained its advantage as Nelson Yorsten found good range and accuracy with his pitching.

Southland grabbed back a couple of runs back but Doug Hill then got on base and a designated runner came home to regain the lead at 4-2.

An excellent performance in the outfield got Otago home at the end and coach Mark Ahlfeld said he was thrilled with the side’s performance.

He said it was a new team with many new players but they had all gelled well and worked hard for each other. Yorsten grabbed four strikeouts and was backed up by a quality infield.

It was a quality Southland side which included a trio of Junior Black Sox trialists, Ahlfeld said.

The women’s teams had a close encounter, Otago conceding the two runs in the first inning.

Otago then hung around and had chances but could not quite get a run.

In its final turn at bat, Otago managed to load the bases but the third out came when a hit into the outfield was caught.

Marissa Ahlfeld performed well in the warm-up match while Mariana Ioane also put in a good effort on the pitching mound

All four teams will head to Christchurch on December 6 for the South Island tournament.


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