The Under 16 State Championships got off to a hot start at Dandenong on Sunday.
In warm, humid conditions, four new U16 boys’ and girls’ zone teams took to the diamond in an opening day that provided plenty of intriguing results.
Competition could hardly be split in the Boys Cup, as ladder leaders Western Force gained a slight advantage over the rest of the competition. The Force’s Jye Robinson impressed, hitting multiple home runs throughout the day to set up the team’s two wins.
All four sides rounded out the day on two wins, and two losses, leaving the race for a spot in next week’s grand final up for the taking.
Highlighting the evenness of the tournament, Eastside Spectres defeated the Force 6 – 1 and rounded out the day in second place.
Hot on their heels is Northern Stars in third position, followed by South East Stingers in fourth.
The Force and the Stingers featured two fascinating results in their two encounters. In their round 1 clash, the Force shot out of the blocks on their way to victory, 21 – 3.
But the Stingers bounced back in the pairs afternoon meeting. Stinger Zane Davies pitched the entire match exceptionally well, and was supported by the team’s defence, as the Stingers emerged victorious 10 – 9 against the ladder leaders.
Over in the Girls Cup, South East Stingers got off to a strong start with four victories to start their campaign.
In one of the games of the day, the Stingers took the points over second placed Eastside Spectres 4 – 3 in a tight tussle. Brilliant pitching from Stingers Holly Reynolds and Kiara Rhind-Luke inspired the team to an important win.
Sitting in third place, Northern Stars notched up a victory over Western Force 7 – 5, in a match which saw both teams battle hard for the points.
Each team will return to Dandenong next Sunday March 1, to continue with their remaining two fixture games. The top two teams in the respective boys’ and girls’ divisions will face off in the grand finals next Sunday afternoon.
To keep up-to-date with results from the U16 State Championships, follow the links below:
Image credit (Change of Focus Photography)