The 10th anniversary of Selebi-Phikwe Softball Extravaganza, which takes place during the President's Day holidays, has dished up a lot of surprises.
The biggest upset sees BDF IX men’s team, which has the record number of titles, missing out.
BDF IX has won the tournament four times followed by Scramblers who have two titles. Gatalamotho, Rail Giants and Wells International have won it once. BDF IX was fighting for a single slot against Gatalamotho during the men’s qualifiers for the southern region held at the National Diamond over the weekend.
BDF has fallen from grace as their reliable pitcher, Kagiso Mogale has gone back to Canada, which affected their play. Mogale plays for Toronto Batmen and is a talented pitcher who always fought for BDF IX.
Bears are the record holders in the women’s competition with four wins but they were knocked out this year. Women’s Rail Giants also failed to qualify. Giants have never missed the competition since its inception.
Women’s UB Giants and Sua Raiders will make their debut in the Extravaganza, which is the biggest softball tournament in the country. The prize money for both men and women stands at P60, 000.
Tournament organiser, Oeme Morupisi told Mmegi Sport that teams are going to play 44 games instead of the usual 32 games.
“The games are going to be played at Makhubu Area Two, SPTC ground, SPSS ground and Area One. Normally games are moved to the main ground, Makhubu on the second day but this time they would shift on the third day,” he
“We invited VUT because they specialise in softball and players who do well stand a chance of receiving scholarships from there,” he said.
Police XI are the women’s defending champions after winning the title for the second time in a row last year. The side did not play in the eliminations by virtue of being champions.
UB Giants (women) coach, Disang Selemogwe said it was a wonderful feeling to qualify for the tournament. Giants surprised many people when they walloped a Panthers side that had seven national team players.
The side went on to beat Titans who also has a national team pitcher and ended their assignment by brushing aside BDF IX.
“I am proud of my players. They are youngsters and have never won, let alone score a run against those sides. I had told them to go there and score a run for me. In Phikwe, I do not want to put them under pressure. I just want them to go out and have fun,” Selemogwe said.
Teams that have qualified for the Extravaganza are: North teams (Women) Comets, Scramblers, Carats and Raiders. (Men): Comets, Rail Giants, Rebels and Carats.
South teams: (Women): Wells, Vikings, Police and UB. (Men): Police, Bears, Wells and Gatalamotho.