PERFECT PLAY: Hannah Graham steps up to the plate for the Ballina Sharks in FNC Division 1 softball.
PERFECT PLAY: Hannah Graham steps up to the plate for the Ballina Sharks in FNC Division 1 softball. Contributed

Sizzling start to softball season

THE extreme heat of last week melted away on Saturday to create perfect playing conditions for a sizzling start to the 2017/18 Far North Coast Softball Season.

Division 1 saw last year's Premiers Ballina Sharks take on Rous Rangers, with Sharks' pitcher Karen Evans and Rangers' pitcher Loris Gordon both outstanding from the pitcher's mound.

Evans also dominated in the batting box, slamming a three-bag hit to score Ballina's first run. Rangers answered back to level the score at the top of the fourth innings, with Gordon's contained pitching holding Sharks at bay, till the bottom of the fifth.

Sharks added one run in the fifth and sixth innings, holding off Rangers' aggressive batting to win 3-1.

In the other Div 1 game, Lismore Workers Condors and Byron Bay Whitesox set about challenging each other with Byron's Shannon Knapp starting the scoring with a two-base hit that sent Terry Curry across home plate, and then making it home herself.

Workers pitcher Tina Austen and Byron's Curry performed strongly on the mound. A home run by Workers' Lachlan Zimmermann and a safe hit to right field by Bronwyn Gibson saw the teams locked at two runs each. After tight play on both sides, Workers eventually won 5-4.

In Division 2, Lismore Workers Wild Turkeys had to work hard for the win when they defeated Byron Bay Redsox 10-7. A home run by Byron's Shar Jones wasn't enough to counter the aggressive batting from Workers' Crystal Whitney, Kate Foster, Olivia Snow and Lauren Forrester to score four runs.

In the other Div 2 game, Rous Warriors defeated Dodger Divas 15-2 with Rous Pitcher Esther Denning pitching a stand-out game with no walks and four K2s. Denning was also valuable at bat with two doubles and a single, but it was Bet McPaul who enabled Rous' convincing win with five overall runs, including a home run.

Dodgers Devas played a great game with good catches and outs. Devas' Belinda Stratford at shortstop assisted in three ground outs to 1st and took three fly balls, but it was an outstanding run by Rous centrefielder Aurora O'Sullivan to take a catch just behind second base to close out the game that secured Rous' 15-2 win.

In Division 3, Goonellabah Gunnas had a comfortable win over Ballina Hammerheads, with great pitching from Sharon Foster to catcher Leanne Lovett.

Gunnas Zac Poulton starred with the bat hitting three home runs, with Sharon and Jodie Foster also hitting a home run each.



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