THE Paledi Mothapo Memorial Softball Tournament provided one of the most paradoxical scenarios in sport – that even though some teams like Seshego Raiders do not train, their players can still run riot.
Raiders won the inaugural competition with a magnificent display as they beat University of Limpopo (UL) 4-0 on Saturday in Polokwane.
Another irony on match day was that, despite being coached by upstart coaches – championship winning head coach Lemo Raphasha was minding his business of quenching his thirst – they still managed to win all their matches to book a grand finale birth.
If the ancestors do really watch over the living ones, the late Mothapo was probably smiling from her grave as she purportedly watched the men in grey pants, white and yellow tops running amok, in sporting terms, of course.
In their pool matches, Raiders clobbered much-improving novices of Moletlane Texas, Mahwelereng Spikes and Limpopo Masters.
All their victories were attributed to belligerent batting as their top batters rose to the occasion while their fielding was flawless throughout.
On an otherwise splendid day of outdoor sporting festivities, Raiders were a marvel to watch and their pitcher-catcher combination of Peter Manaka and Phaladi, respectively, added some livening human drama on the pitch.
It was befitting that during the prize-giving ceremony, Manaka and Phaladi were conferred the Best Pitcher-Catcher Combination honour for their unsurpassed communication of sheer softball nous.
Manaka’s perplexing deliveries left opposition batters’ with their backs against the wall as he continued to throw at blitzkrieg pace and variety.
His intelligent pitching made every match a lot easy for his fielders to defend with relative ease.
Phaladi, on the other hand, was equal to the task.
He is arguably the best catcher in the province at the moment, having played this position during the recent Softball South Africa’s National Provincial Championships in Polokwane.
Raphasha was on point during the final match against UL when he noted that: “This guy, Phomolo is great… He has an amazing work rate and superb glove work. His batting is faultless.”
To emerge triumphant in the finals, Raiders opened the floodgates via left hander Phaladi after unleashing a grass-cutting hit that passed between first and second bases.
To add more to the scoring account, two other left handed batters Morakoma Mamogwane and Solly Baholo came in to increase the tally to three, only for captain Mpho Mahapa to harmer the final nail in the UL coffin.
Even though opposition pitcher Kutullo Sebola was a bit brisk, the marauding Raiders batters were unfazed.
The game was prematurely stopped due to bad lighting as the floodlights at the cricket grounds are known for not being conducive for softball.
Meanwhile, the touring party of Botswana Diamonds won the women section after clobbering their South African counterparts.
The tournament also featured Gauteng-based veterans, Flames and Best Batters.