Mace Price junior is a confident young man who loves nothing more than ruffling the feathers of the old fellas to play harder.
Mace gives oldies a spray
It takes a brave person to play the position of catcher in softball.
The ideal player needs to be able to reach for that air ball, psych out the opposing batsman or to know what finger to pull out for that crucial team play-out in the bases.
But, more importantly, is that the catcher cannot be terrified of getting their nose broken by a speeding ball flying straight for them.
Mace Price is not scared. As catcher for Hastings softball club, the Saints B grade men’s team, Price is no ordinary catcher either because at just 13 years old, he gets to boss around every player on his team – including his captain Ken, otherwise known as Dad.
Price, a Year 9 pupil at Hastings Boys’ High School, has played the family game for as long he can remember. Despite being the shortest, smallest, youngest and most inexperienced in the Saints lineup, Price junior is a confident young man who loves nothing more than ruffling the feathers of the old fellas to play harder during a game.
Being stuck at the base of the diamond has no drawbacks for Price, who says that if anything he enjoys getting involved directly in the pressure spot of the game.
“It’s easy,’ Price said with a cheeky grin. “I control everything _ the plays, the first base and home base. There’s a lot you need to know like tactics and stuff like that but I really love it. It’s cool.’
Price also plays for his junior school softball team during the week. For the past two years he has represented Hawke’s Bay in the under-13 and under-15 grades, including time as captain during the North Island softball under-13 championships, which Hawke’s Bay won in 2007.
Maraenui Pumas premier pitcher Honemark Sinnott has recently taken Price under his wing and has been taking training sessions with him.
Playing against Flaxmere in the second round of the new season at the weekend, the team camaraderie is plain to see. It is a little strange to hear a young kid give the older guys lip where sport hierarchy is an important component.
What is also plain to see is the strong bond Price has with his Dad. After taking his kids along to softball for so many years, Price senior says he is proud to play alongside his son.
“It’s good for everyone if you play with your boy,’ Ken Price said.
After fielding first and taking Flaxmere’s three batsmen out without scoring, Dad got one up on his son and sent him out to bat up first.
“Tuck that shirt in mate you look sloppy and I’m not letting you out there looking sloppy,’ Dad quipped to son.
Price junior managed to get on base after securing a walk. On the sidelines, Captain Price cheered his son home when the next two plays took place.
“Go slick, go slick, go home,’ he said.
But it was not to be the Saints day. Price managed to score as well as get on base in three out of his four attempts – the best of the entire team. Unfortunately they lost 10-2.