GBHS step up to the plate at NZ champs

UNDEFEATED: The Gisborne Boys’ High composite softball team who went through the New Zealand junior championships unbeaten are, back row (from left): Ben Hutchings. Cayleb Kingi, coach Ray Noble, Adam Nepe, Corey Boocock, Rory Krogseter, Rikki Noble and coach Roy Timoti. Front: Chleo Reihana-Davis, Treyson Hikitapu-Wilson. Brandie Reihana, Adam Simpson, Brooklyn Owen and Ben McCosh. Picture supplied

GISBORNE Boys’ High School junior team are the first Gisborne team to go undefeated at a national softball tournament.

GBHS won all of their games at the New Zealand junior secondary school championships in Hastings, but were ineligible for the title.

“We had a number of injuries on the eve of the tournament so enlisted Treyson Hikitapu-Wilson from Lytton High School and Chleo Reihana-Davis from Nga Uri A Maui to have enough players to go,” said coach Ray Noble.

“We were classed as a composite team and couldn’t win the tournament. We could only finish as high as fifth, which we did.”

Gisborne sounded a warning in their opening game.

Led by strong batting from Ben Hutchings and Ben McCosh, they thumped Paraparaumu 18-0.

Next up were one of the favourites, Hastings Boys’ High School

At the end of regulation time, the teams were locked 6-all.

“We batted first in the tiebreaker and ended up winning 12-7,” said Noble.

“Rory Krogseter, Treyson Hikitapu-Wilson, Brandie Reihana, Adam Nepe and Corey Boocock took the game away from Hastings.

Game three against Te Aute also went to a tiebreaker before Gisborne won 7-6.

“Our batters struggled early on against pitcher Kahu Beamsley-Allan, who plays for the New Zealand under-16 team,” said Noble.

“Brandie Reihana, the smallest member of the team but with the biggest heart, then stepped up.

“He forced Te Aute to make errors through his ability to bunt and steal bases, and on top of that, he pitched a magnificent game.

“Corey Boocock got the key hit to bring Treyson home.”

Gisborne then faced another potentially tough game — traditional rivals Napier Boys’ High.

“We controlled this game from the outset to win 10-0 in a comprehensive defensive effort led by co-captain Brooklyn Owen,” said Noble.

“The last game on day 2, against Karamu High School, had the potential to be a banana skin game but by then the boys were playing with real confidence.

“Chleo (Reihana-Davis) called a great game as catcher and capped it off with two huge hits.

“Cayleb Kingi also pitched a great shut-out game.”

On day 3, Gisborne took on unbeaten and eventual tournament runners-up St Patrick’s Silverstream of Wellington.

They turned on one of the best performances to win 12-3.

“Treyson Hikitapu-Wilson pitched a master-class and everyone in the batting line-up did their job,” said Noble. “They were unable to stop the momentum we established early on and it ended up being a comfortable win.”

Gisborne were to play eventual tournament winners Mt Albert Grammar next up but the game was abandoned due to weather.

“We were all looking forward to that game,” said Noble. “But the boys were determined to finish the job and remain unbeaten, especially as we had re-matches with Te Aute and Hastings.

“This time we handled Beamsley-Allan with ease. The usual suspects were at it again with the bat. Adam Nepe, Brandie Reihana, Brooklyn Owen and Rory Krogseter all showed courage in the line of fire and we won 7-1.”

Their last game was another tight affair.

“We made some uncharacteristic errors in the field against Hastings to be locked at 6-6 after regulation.

What Noble rated the play of the tournament came in the tiebreaker.

“Hastings had a runner on three with only one out. Their batter hit a line drive down the third base line, which was caught inches above the turf by Adam Simpson, who had the presence of mind to sprint to third base to complete the double play.

“On our next turn at bat, we scored runs through Adam (Nepe) and Brooklyn (Owen) .”

Nepe and Hikitapu-Wilson were named to the tournament team although Noble said a number of others in the team were just as deserving”.

“Treyson can dominate a game through pitching and hitting. Adam was our best batter but it was his fielding that really impressed me.

“Having Brandie and Brooklyn in your side is a coach’s luxury. Both are so good at every phase of the game.

“Corey Boocock’s leadership was first-class. The number of times he produced when the game was on the line was phenomenal.

“Our results were achieved because we had a flexible batting line-up that could play the short game or bat for power.

“Our pitching gave us a chance to win and our ability to defend the short game through a cohesive infield was a point of difference between us and the rest.

“I’m extremely proud of them all.”

GISBORNE Boys’ High School junior team are the first Gisborne team to go undefeated at a national softball tournament.

GBHS won all of their games at the New Zealand junior secondary school championships in Hastings, but were ineligible for the title.

“We had a number of injuries on the eve of the tournament so enlisted Treyson Hikitapu-Wilson from Lytton High School and Chleo Reihana-Davis from Nga Uri A Maui to have enough players to go,” said coach Ray Noble.

“We were classed as a composite team and couldn’t win the tournament. We could only finish as high as fifth, which we did.”

Gisborne sounded a warning in their opening game.

Led by strong batting from Ben Hutchings and Ben McCosh, they thumped Paraparaumu 18-0.

Next up were one of the favourites, Hastings Boys’ High School

At the end of regulation time, the teams were locked 6-all.

“We batted first in the tiebreaker and ended up winning 12-7,” said Noble.

“Rory Krogseter, Treyson Hikitapu-Wilson, Brandie Reihana, Adam Nepe and Corey Boocock took the game away from Hastings.

Game three against Te Aute also went to a tiebreaker before Gisborne won 7-6.

“Our batters struggled early on against pitcher Kahu Beamsley-Allan, who plays for the New Zealand under-16 team,” said Noble.

“Brandie Reihana, the smallest member of the team but with the biggest heart, then stepped up.

“He forced Te Aute to make errors through his ability to bunt and steal bases, and on top of that, he pitched a magnificent game.

“Corey Boocock got the key hit to bring Treyson home.”

Gisborne then faced another potentially tough game — traditional rivals Napier Boys’ High.

“We controlled this game from the outset to win 10-0 in a comprehensive defensive effort led by co-captain Brooklyn Owen,” said Noble.

“The last game on day 2, against Karamu High School, had the potential to be a banana skin game but by then the boys were playing with real confidence.

“Chleo (Reihana-Davis) called a great game as catcher and capped it off with two huge hits.

“Cayleb Kingi also pitched a great shut-out game.”

On day 3, Gisborne took on unbeaten and eventual tournament runners-up St Patrick’s Silverstream of Wellington.

They turned on one of the best performances to win 12-3.

“Treyson Hikitapu-Wilson pitched a master-class and everyone in the batting line-up did their job,” said Noble. “They were unable to stop the momentum we established early on and it ended up being a comfortable win.”

Gisborne were to play eventual tournament winners Mt Albert Grammar next up but the game was abandoned due to weather.

“We were all looking forward to that game,” said Noble. “But the boys were determined to finish the job and remain unbeaten, especially as we had re-matches with Te Aute and Hastings.

“This time we handled Beamsley-Allan with ease. The usual suspects were at it again with the bat. Adam Nepe, Brandie Reihana, Brooklyn Owen and Rory Krogseter all showed courage in the line of fire and we won 7-1.”

Their last game was another tight affair.

“We made some uncharacteristic errors in the field against Hastings to be locked at 6-6 after regulation.

What Noble rated the play of the tournament came in the tiebreaker.

“Hastings had a runner on three with only one out. Their batter hit a line drive down the third base line, which was caught inches above the turf by Adam Simpson, who had the presence of mind to sprint to third base to complete the double play.

“On our next turn at bat, we scored runs through Adam (Nepe) and Brooklyn (Owen) .”

Nepe and Hikitapu-Wilson were named to the tournament team although Noble said a number of others in the team were just as deserving”.

“Treyson can dominate a game through pitching and hitting. Adam was our best batter but it was his fielding that really impressed me.

“Having Brandie and Brooklyn in your side is a coach’s luxury. Both are so good at every phase of the game.

“Corey Boocock’s leadership was first-class. The number of times he produced when the game was on the line was phenomenal.

“Our results were achieved because we had a flexible batting line-up that could play the short game or bat for power.

“Our pitching gave us a chance to win and our ability to defend the short game through a cohesive infield was a point of difference between us and the rest.

“I’m extremely proud of them all.”

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