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Southland competed in the 1969 New Zealand Softball Championships and finished in fourth place, the highest ranking ever.
RA. CThis was a great feat considering there was 18 teams in the tournament and also the fact that they would be in the top section when the tournament was in Invercargill in 1970.
Southland came through the first round with five wins and three losses and were third equal with Auckland.
Southland beat Hawkes Bay 8-3 and then played their best game of the tournament with a win over the eventual winners, Wellington 2-0.
But unfortunately it then went on to lose to Wanganui 1-0, which was an upset
and losses to Hawkes Bay and Auckland.
It was the inexperience of Southland's batters that saw it lose these games. When they had batters that they needed to get home, no-one stepped up to the mark.
Captain and catcher, John Purdue and outfielder Garry Pankhurst batted consistently and were flawless in the field.
Purdue was rewarded for his good work by being selected in 'The Rest" team against a New Zealand Team. Purdue took a hit off top pitcher Kevin Herlihy.
Seven of the team took part in trials and it was Ian Ellis that was selected on first base for New Zealand B and Bill Somerville was selected at second base for the 'The Rest' B team.
Garth Tattersfield was a member of the New Zealand world series squad which played 'The Rest'.
One of the new players, Terry Butson would have been pleased with his first tournament. Selected as a catcher, he played every game in the outfield and made only one error. He hit a home run in his first game for Southland and had a batting average of .279, being third on the table behind John Purdue (1) and Garry Pankhurst (2).
Southland's three pitchers; Tattersfield and rookies Barry Patton and David Horn. They all came through the tournament unscathed and Patton would have been pleased with game against Wellington in limiting their powerful batters to four hits and one run.
Other members of the team were; A. Craig, R. Roff, Frank Goodall, J. Forde,
Reference: Best Effort Ever In Softball. The Southland Times. January 1969.
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