7 teams from all over south India participated in the Senior South Zone National Softball Championship 2015 held In Anantapur. Teams from Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala as well as Goa, alongside host team Andhra Pradesh, participated in a very fiercely contested three-day tournament. The tournament hosted both women’s and men’s competitions at the Rural Development Trust’s (RDT) Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) campus.
The Opening ceremony was presided by the Secretary General of the Softball Association of India, Dr. Pravin Anaokar, along with RDT’s Program Director and President of the Softball Association of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Moncho Ferrer. Dr. Anaokar said addressing the athletes.
“Softball has great potential to grow with its inclusion in the Olympics; it has a bright future, owing to Japan being the next Olympic host nation after Rio and a country that is extremely enthusiastic about softball. As such great professional and international opportunities beckon the athletes, a strong grassroots structure for the sport is the dire need of the hour.”
The tournament followed a league cum knockout format, with the league stages being played with two groups for both the men’s and women’s competitions. Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu formed Group A while Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Telangana were drawn in group B of the men’s competition. On the other hand, the women’s competition drew Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana in Group A and Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Telangana and Pondicherry in Group B.
The competition began with the host side Andhra Pradesh taking on Pondicherry in the opening games of both men’s and women’s competitions, with the scorelines ending in favour of the hosts, with the men and women winning 8-0 and a 7-2 respectively. Hosts Andhra Pradesh seemed to have the momentum going with the home advantage, but Karnataka had other plans throughout.
The semis saw an IPL style two phase semifinals, where the winner of the first semifinal would move to the finals in a simpler first phase, while the loser of this semifinal played the winner of an eliminator to decide the second finalist and the third place.
In the men’s competition, Karnataka played Telangana with the Karnataka men advancing to the final, while Telangana moved to the 2nd semifinal to be played against the winner of the Andhra Pradesh Vs Kerala eliminator that was won by Andhra Pradesh. The second semifinal was played between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with Andhra Pradesh advancing to the final to take on Karnataka.
The women’s competition saw a similar trend, with Karnataka advancing to the final after playing Andhra Pradesh women. The eliminator was played between Pondicherry and Telangana with the latter making it to the 2nd Semifinal. Here it was a rival affair between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, with Telangana eventually qualifying for the final.
The finals, after a dominating performance throughout the tournament by Karnataka, were played out by the dominant state in both women’s and men’s competitions against Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, respectively. The women’s finals saw a closely fought game against Telangana with a narrow scoreline of 3-1 in favour of Karnataka. The men’s finals however had Karnataka outclassing the hosts Andhra Pradesh, with a whopping 15-4 scoreline.