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Tropics lead the way in warm-up games

Australia's top players have been warming up for this week's nationals at the Canberra Skins Tournament Hawker International Softball Centre.

It was the Tropics from NSW which took home the largest chunk of the $20,000 on offer in the men's fastpitch tournament, accounting for Victoria's Easter Bucks 5-3 in the A-grade final.

And with the Tropics comprised of many NSW state representatives, they are hoping to carry their winning form into the Australian Open Men's Championship which will be played at Hawker from Tuesday to Saturday.

''We came with the hope of making our entry fee back, and the way the boys have played has been amazing. We've taken on some of the top ranked teams here and taken a lot of money out of them and won a lot of games,'' captain Ryan Tranter said. ''We're just really hoping to flow on into nationals and when all the teams come together on Tuesday … step it up another gear and go from there.

''The ACT-based team, I know they split amongst two teams for this competition, so they'll come together. Same with WA, so everything goes up a notch, gets a lot stronger next week, so this is the perfect start basically - we couldn't ask for anything more.''

The skins format awarded prizemoney per innings won to the team with the most runners reaching first base and to the team with the most home runs, with the top money winners contesting the finals.

In the B-grade competition, United (NSW) defeated the local Storm side 6-0, but the ACT had more success in the two boys' divisions.

Team Tanner in the under-13 division defeated Singaporean side Raffles, 8-3, and in the under-15s it was an all-ACT final as Team Goolagong beat the Woden Giants, 8-1.