Wildcats split with Lions: Royals sink Deakin
22 June 2019
Facing a five-run deficit into the bottom of the last, Lara finished with a rush to force a 6-6 draw with Guild in one of just two A Grade games able to be played on the shortest – and arguably coldest – day of the Geelong 2019 winter season.
While no play was possible between Bellarine and Saints at a sodden Wallington Reserve, there was no such issue with ground conditions at Prince of Wales Reserve, where the Royals shrugged off a mid-game challenge from a seemingly depleted Deakin outfit on its way to a strong 5-3 win that strengthens the Ballarat club’s hold on third placing.
Past the halfway point of the A Grade season and there remains very little between the six clubs, with availability of key players bound to become a decisive factor in weeks to come.
Scroll down for a selection of images from the Saturday action.
BALLARAT ROYALS 5 defeated DEAKIN 3
Even without key players in Mark Rigby, Pat Moulton, Rudy Jaramillo and Troy Malthouse (who may have an extended break through injury), the Blues loaded the bases in the first but came up empty against Royals starter Brendan Robinson – who again played a pivotal role for his club.
Doubling in the bottom of the second, Scott Jones was driven home on a Scott Kerr single for the Royals, who scored another in the third – albeit at the expense of a hamstring injury to catcher Leigh Ashmore, who has been especially damaging with the bat of late.
As if on cue, Deakin came alive in the fourth, when hits to Chris Webb, Zac Seipolt (double) and Kobe Greenhalgh gleaned three runs to raise their team’s prospects momentarily before the Royals responded with a two-spot to regain the lead and edge further ahead when a walk, a sacrifice bunt and solid contact hitting produced a fifth run in the bottom of five.
With the game still up for grabs in fading light, Chris Webb singled to lead off the seventh for Deakin, who were thwarted decisively by an outstanding fly ball by Royals outfielder Hayden Pfeiffer that was converted into a stunning double play.
Spinning a complete game for no earned runs, Robinson starred for the Royals, who again played classy defence and enjoyed telling contributions from Kerr (three hits and an RBI), Scott Jones (three hits), Pfeiffer and Jarryd Bannan, while Webb complemented a gutsy game for Deakin with two hits and an RBI, Seipolt (two hits and an RBI) patrolled rightfield with aplomb and Greenhalgh was solid in defence and with the bat.
Already with two wins over Deakin this season, the Royals will be focused on a sweep when they meet the Blues at the university next Saturday, although the absence of Leigh Ashmore from the lineup will make the task somewhat tougher – especially with players likely to return for the host club.
DEAKIN 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 (3) 2 errors
ROYALS 0 1 1 2 1 0 x (5) 2 errors
Deakin: C.Webb 2, Z.Seipolt 2, K.Greenhalgh
Royals: S.Kerr 3, S.Jones 3, M.Collins, L.Ashmore, J.Miller, J.Bannan
Deakin: C.Webb, Z.Seipolt, K.Greenhalgh
Royals: S.Kerr, H.Pfeiffer, B.Robinson
Deakin: C.Webb 6 inn, 10 H, 0 K, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 3 ER
Royals: B.Robinson 7 inn, 5 H, 2 Ks, 5 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
BELLARINE versus SAINTS (abandoned)
Despite the best intentions of all concerned, the sheer volume and persistency of rainfall over recent times rendered Wallington Reserve unplayable for either the reserves or firsts. Both the A Grade and A Reserve games were deemed washouts and neither will be rescheduled.
Narrow winner over Bellarine in a cracking home game earlier in the season, Saints will be looking to repeat the dose when the Bears venture back to Pioneer Park next Saturday, bent on squaring the season ledger after an unfortunate washout this week.
LARA 6 drew with GUILD 6
A lead-off walk, a Ryan Stewart double and a sacrifice flyball delivered an early run for the Lions against Lara starter Chris Lewis, who put up zeroes through the second and third before a two-run homer by leftfielder James Renouf handed Guild a three-zip lead after four.
A fifth run – in the fifth – made it super tough for Lara, which struggled to come to terms with Lions starter Jarrod Durston, who racked up the strikeouts (eight in all) while allowing minimal runners on base until the bottom of six, when two hits and a defensive error produced a run for the home club.
Unearned runs in the seventh and the eighth restored ascendancy for the visitors, who called upon youngster Travis Duxson to close out the game – a task that proved tough going against a seasoned opponent that drew a pair of walks and a HPB in the bottom of the last, forcing a further pitching change that came unstuck compliments of a wild throw, a further walk and three hits for an unlikely five-run outburst at the death.
Again giving all for his club, Lewis conceded just three earned runs against a Guild lineup that was well-served by Chris Durston (two hits), Stewart (two hits), Ben Jensz (two hits), Renouf (two-run homer) and Jarrod Durston (two walks, two sacrifice flyballs), while Stuart Forbes, Dan Anson and Ross Wilson played key roles in offence for the Wildcats.
Still by no means out of contention for a playoff berth in a topsy-turvy A Grade season, Lara will again be host club for a return meeting with Guild, who smacked the Wildcats at the stadium in mid-May but have struggled since for consistent winning form.
GUILD 1 0 0 2 1 0 1 1 (6) 2 errors
LARA 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 (6) 2 errors
Guild: C.Durston 2, R.Stewart 2, B.Jensz 2, H.Peoples, J.Renouf (home run)
Lara: S.Forbes 2, D.Anson 2, R.Wilson 2, J.Baumann
Guild: J.Durston 2, J.Renouf 2
Lara: D.Anson 2, R.Wilson, J.Fraim, J.Baumann
Guild: J.Durston 6 inn, 3 H, 8 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER
T.Duxson 1 inn, 1 H, 2 Ks, 4 BB, 1 HPB, 3 ER
C.Durston 1 inn, 3 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER
Lara: C.Lewis 7 inn, 7 H, 2 Ks, 6 BB, 1 HPB, 3 ER
D.Anson 1 inn, 1 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
A washout at Bellarine ensured the status quo for standings in A RESERVE, where league-leading Guild posted its fifth win with a 6-4 result over Lara to stay marginally ahead of Ballarat Royals, who prevailed 10-6 over a Deakin outfit that scored late runs after appearing well out of the contest.
Some shuffling of placings occurred in B GRADE, although Colac maintained clear league leadership with its 13-3 thumping of Alfredton, which slips to fourth behind Sunshine (an 11-7 winner over Guild) and third-placed Corio, which belted seven in the first on its way to a 15-4 drubbing of Bacchus Marsh. In the other game, Saints posted its second win of the season – a 14-4 result over Newport, which shares cellar status with Guild.