Turvey Park won a tense semi-final on Saturday, beating South Wagga Warriors, 4-3, and is the first team into the grand final on April 1.
It will be Turvey’s fourth consecutive grand final, and their opponent will be the winner of next Saturday’s preliminary final between the Warriors and the Saints.
Saturday’s semi-final was a close game, as predicted.
Batting first, Turvey Park hit the scoreboard early when hits to Sarah Carter, Jane Wadley and Kate Looney saw Carter and Wadley cross the plate before the innings closed.
The Warriors quickly drew level with hits to Jess Swaysland, Shae McMahon, Jane Kearnes and Jayla Nix enabling Swaysland and McMahon to score.
What followed was a fine exhibition, from both teams, of top defensive softball.
For the next five innings the pitchers of both teams, with wonderful support from their fielders, prevented the opposing teams from scoring.
Turvey Park player, Georgina Carter, who picked a walk, was the only batter of either team to make it to first base in the second innings.
In the top of the third, Turvey Park’s Jamila Piercy made it to first on an error and was batted around to third by Jane Wadley who hit safely again.
But both were left stranded on base after the next three batters were all dismissed with regulation outs.
In response it was an even more emphatic ‘three up-three down’ shut out of the Warriors.
Turvey again managed to have two batters make base in the top of the fourth, Belinda Dennis and Kalee Gibbons, but still they couldn’t progress to score before the Warriors had shut them out.
After Jess Grant was well caught by Jamila Piercy at left field (one of six outfield catches taken by her), Jayla Nix put herself in a scoring position with a three-bagger, but again she was stranded when the next twp batters’ dismissals finished the innings.
For the third consecutive batting innings, Turvey Park managed to have two runners on base, but still they couldn’t score as the Warriors proceeded to shut out Turvey for a fourth consecutive time.
The Warriors were again shut out in the bottom of the fifth, despite Jess Swaysland making base.
In the top of the sixth innings, Sarah Carter followed two dismissed teammates with a hit to left-field, but was left at second when Piercy was, herself, caught by Warriors’ left-field, Jayla Nix.
Turvey was put under pressure in the Warriors’ sixth innings when, with two down, Nix and Sam Vidler, made it to base, but a calmly taken foul fly of Kate Looney saw the innings close.
The trend of the match definitely suggested the possibility of the match being decided by a tie-breaker.
However, Turvey had other ideas and set about giving the Warriors runs to chase in their final innings.
Wadley started the ball rolling with her fourth hit for the game and, after being advanced by an Amanda Gooden sacrifice bunt, she was sent across the plate by a Looney two-bagger to left-field. Looney was then batted in by an Olsen hit to centrefield before Montana Kearnes finished the Turvey innings with a strikeout being the final dismissal.
The Warriors entered their turn at bat two runs behind and set out to score at least two runs to put the game into a “tie-breaker”, or more than two to win the game.
After some anxious moments in which the Warriors pegged back one of the runs, Turvey held the Warriors to just one run, and a 4-3 victory.
Innings by innings
Turvey Park: 2 0 0 0 0 0 2=4
Warriors: 2 0 0 0 0 0 1=3
Turvey Park safe hits: Jane Wadley (4), Sarah Carter (2), Kate Looney (2), Amanda Gooden, Jade Olsen, Belinda Dennis, Kalee Gibbons
Warriors safe hits: Jess Swaysland (2), Shae McMahon (2), Jane Kearnes (2), Jayla Nix (2), Nicole Marlow
Turvey Park pitcher: Jade Olsen seven innings, nine hits, three K-2s, one walk
Warriors pitcher: Montana Kearnes seven innings, 12 hits, nine K-2s, one walk