Black Sox captain Cole Evans slammed his Central Auckland Bolts into the national final of Fastball 45 with a three run homer in the third inning against the East Auckland Heat at ELE Stadium in Albany.
It followed two homers for seven runs on Saturday night in the northern regional qualifiers with Evans showing his class and clean hitting.
His heroics came in an action-packed eight run inning that saw the Heat come from 0-2 down to be up 4-2 and then trail 4-6.
They went ahead, 7-6 in the fourth inning but with the game played over four innings or 45 minutes (whichever comes first), the clock ran out on the Heat.
Wily coach Nathan Nukunuku used all his smarts in that final inning as he controlled the pace of the game at its climax, the Bolts using the clock and countback rules to their advantage to win 6-4 - the score at the end of the completed third inning.
In the women’s division Gretchen Aucoin threw five strikeouts and drove in two runners to help her West Waves move through to the national final next month.
Logan Moreland chimed in with a home run too in her first bat, just as she did in the opening game on Friday as the Waves swept past the Central Rays.
They and the Bolts will play the winners from the southern regionals in Christchurch next week and the central qualifier in Wellington a week later, in Auckland on December 11, 12 and 13.