Lara sinks Deakin: Saints smash Royals

Kingsley Collins

11 August 2019

Continuing its strong late-season form, Lara recovered from a deficit to overpower Deakin 11-3 – and in so doing it scuppered any Blues hopes of a post-season berth - while Saints made light of the conditions with a thumping 17-0 home result over Ballarat Royals, who would need to win their last two and have other results fall their way to make the playoffs in their first season.

 

A polar blast afflicting south-east Australia caused widespread disruption across several winter leagues, with Geelong Baseball Association being no exception at a pivotal time – when so many clubs are striving for a berth in post-season action.

 

While A Grade fixtures were completed when Bellarine downed Guild 15-14 in a bizarre, weather-affected clash on Sunday, there were several senior washouts and all junior games were forced to be abandoned.

For those who might observe that weather is simply a reality of winter baseball, its effect during 2019 has been quite remarkable and may even reignite discussion about the timing and the length of the season – especially as regional winter playing numbers continue a gradual decline that has become evident over the past two decades.

 

To place the effect of weather disruption in perspective. In 2018 there were just four GBA senior games abandoned because of weather or ground conditions. There were four junior games not played. Already in 2019 we have lost three complete rounds in Under 14 and Under 12 competitions (that is, twelve games) – an obvious disappointment to kids, coaches and parents.

 

In senior competition, four games lost in 2018 has blown out to a total, thus far, of twenty-three in 2019, or over eight per cent of all senior games scheduled to date – a fair slice out of the season, especially for people paying to play team sport.

 

While it has been an unusual season, weather-wise, it is a real credit to clubs and to individuals that disruption has been managed with understanding and generally good humour. The league spans a large slice of Victoria, from Bellarine Peninsula through Geelong, to Colac, Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh and Newport, with weather and ground conditions potentially in wide variance from place to place – rendering it not appropriate for the league to cancel any entire round in advance.

 

With the benefit of social media and of course by other communication means, clubs have been able to provide timely updates on conditions and where necessary to notify of abandoned games. Well done to the clubs and league officials who this weekend did a great job in providing updates under difficult circumstances and who helped minimise inconvenience and unnecessary travel!

 

And especially well done to the clubs and individuals across the league who go above and beyond the call of duty in working their butts off in an effort to have grounds in playable condition! While the GBA is blessed with some of the very best playing surfaces in the state, grounds have been under considerable strain for much of this winter.

 

Club and personal commitment to helping out does not go unnoticed within a baseball community that just wants to get out there and play ball, whatever the weather throws at us!

 

Senior Ladders are available under the Competition tab. The ladders are updated and published as soon as all results are available for a particular grade. There is obviously an increased level of interest in ladders – at least for some clubs – with just two regular season rounds to play. While ladders have recently been audited and appear to be correct, there is always a chance of human error. If you spot something that you believe is not correct, please contact Don or Tony ASAP. Then they can whack me......

SAINTS 17 defeated ROYALS 0

Saints have placed themselves within striking distance of top spot in the A Grade standings – quite a remarkable achievement for a club that lost its first three games and was without classy all-rounder Josh Lee for several weeks mid-season.

 

With rain delays appearing inevitable in this contest, Saints wasted no time in establishing early authority by launching a full-on assault against Royals starter Brendan Robinson – who was tagged for ten in the bottom of the first – the result of a walk, a HPB, an error and a staggering ten hits, including a triple by Keenan Spence and doubles to Lee, Cody Anderson and Will Brennan among the carnage.

 

After sending sixteen hitters to the plate in that initial outburst, the haloes were somewhat more modest in the second – plating another four as the visitors called upon Scott Jones before Mitch Collins was pressed into action against a Saints offence that continued to deliver, compliments in large part of a second Spence triple and a two-run Tyler Huisman bomb over right field.

 

Unfortunately it was one-way traffic for the shell-shocked visitors, who drew five passes from Saints southpaw Cody Anderson but were unable to make even a semblance of scoring inroads against a side that played flawless defence behind a pitcher who faced just thirteen hitters, went hitless and whiffed five before the elements mercifully brought the game to an early conclusion.

 

Amassing fifteen knocks over the three-innings contest – six of them for extra bases – Saints enjoyed terrific contributions from Lee (two hits and three RBIs), Luke Sherwell (three and two), Anderson (two and two), Trevor Elliott (two and two), Spence (two and two) and Huisman (two and two).  

 

Intensely interested in the outcome of the Sunday game between Bellarine and Guild, Saints will be away to the Lions next Saturday for a clash that may help decide the double chance, while Royals – still with a slim mathematical prospect of September action despite a six-game losing streak - are at home to fourth-placed Lara Wildcats.

ROYALS    0 0 0   (0)   1 error

SAINTS    10 4 3   (17)  0 errors

Hits.

Royals:   nil

Saints:   L.Sherwell 3, J.Lee 2, C.Anderson 2, T.Elliott 2, K.Spence 2, T.Huisman 2 (inc home run), D.Kirchner, W.Brennan

RBIs.

Royals:   nil

Saints:   J.Lee 3, L.Sherwell 2, C.Anderson 2, T.Elliott 2, K.Spence 2, T.Huisman 2

Pitching.

Royals:   B.Robinson 0.2 inn, 9 H,  K, 1 BB, 1 HPB, 10 ER

S.Jones 1.1 inn, 3 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 2 ER

M.Collins 0.1 inn, 3 H, 0 K, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 3 ER

Saints:   C.Anderson 3 inn, 0 H, 5 Ks, 5 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER

LARA 11 defeated DEAKIN 3

The bleak, unforgiving conditions were a poignant reflection of a season that promised so much yet has delivered so little of substance for a Blues combination that a few months back was favoured by many to threaten for another A Grade premiership.

 

Positive early portents were delivered for the visitors by way of a run in the first and two-spot in the second off Lara starter Chris Lewis, while Deakin workhorse Chris Webb put up three initial zeroes against a Wildcats club that could have been even better placed for a dash at the finals had split results and tight finishes gone its way.

 

Despatching Cameron Forbes to the hill in the top of three may have been the catalyst and the confidence-builder for Lara, which drew level with a three-run third and chased Webb from the hill with a barnstorming five-run breakout in the fifth that drew Pat Moulton into the fray in tough conditions.

 

With Forbes going scoreless through three, Lara called on Mitch Miller to hold the Deakin offence in check over two, while building a game-breaking three-spot in the sixth to effectively seal a clear-cut win for the home side.

 

Standouts for Deakin, Rudy Jaramillo (three hits and an RBI) and Zac Seipolt (two and one) were afforded minimal offensive support by a club that could muster just seven hits, while Lara would be delighted with the contributions of Cam Forbes (two hits and three ribbies), Jared Berman (two and two), Mitch Miller (two and two), Jarrod Fraim (two and one), Ross Wilson (two and one) and Dan Anson (two hits).

 

Building its season beautifully while not quite assured of a playoff berth, Lara makes the trek to Prince of Wales next Saturday to take on the Royals – whose season appears to be done - while Deakin, which will be looking to finish its season on a high, plays host to Bellarine.

DEAKIN   1 2 0 0 0 0 0   (3)  2 errors

LARA        0 0 0 3 5 3 x   (11)  0 errors

Hits.

Deakin:   R.Jaramillo 3, Z.Seipolt 2, L.Simpson, S.Pengelly

Lara:   D.Anson 2, J.Fraim 2, R.Wilson 2, C.Forbes 2, J.Berman 2, M.Miller 2, T.Arandt

RBIs.

Deakin:   Z.Seipolt, R.Jaramillo, E.Hosking

Lara:   C.Forbes 3, J.Berman 2, M.Miller 2, J.Fraim, R.Wilson

Pitching.

Deakin:   C.Webb 4.1 inn, 7 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 7 ER

P.Moulton 1.2 inn, 6 H, 2 Ks, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 4 ER

Lara:   C.Lewis 2 inn,  H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 3 ER

C.Forbes 3 inn, 1 H, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER

M.Miller 2 inn, 2 H, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER

BELLARINE 15 defeated GUILD 14 (Sunday)

While relocation to Geelong Baseball Centre from a sodden Wallington Reserve enabled this game to played, weather conditions remained deplorable and both sides – genuine pennant contenders - struggled to produce anything like their defensive best.

 

Three walks, a pair of errors and six hits – including a three-run James Renouf homer – helped deliver a nine run first for the Lions, seven of those unearned off Bellarine starter Pat Brackley in an avalanche that would have usually decided most contests at this level.

 

Three more in the second – all unearned after two telling defensive slip-ups – drew Simon Murry to the hill for Bellarine, which launched a spirited recovery against Hayden Peoples, taking him for six on four walks and five hits as the game developed into a battle of attrition.

 

With Murry spinning a modest two-run top of three – and errors again playing a lead role - the Bears sprang to life in the equaliser as Guild tried three on the hill to no avail.

 

A lead-off infield hit by Ben Shay, four successive passes and a wild pitch set the table for Wayne Visser – who cleared the bases with a timely double to spark a nine-run blast and a winning break for Bellarine, which in all was gifted eleven walks despite being out-slugged ten to eight by Guild, which itself was recipient of a staggering dozen unearned runs.

 

Although Troy Snarey (three hits and three RBIs), Peoples (two and three) and Renouf (one and three) did offensive damage for the Lions, it was a tough and forgettable day out for pitchers – the best of whom were Brackley and Murry as their side exploited walks, errors and conversion supplied by Visser (three hits and five RBIs), Brackley (two and three), Murry and Manager Lewis Weldon.   

 

With an apparent stranglehold on the double chance, Bellarine will be away to Deakin next Saturday, while Guild has a vital home clash with second-placed Saints.

IMAGES from Bellarine versus Guild A Grade and A Reserve (supplied by Mark Lazarus).

GUILD             9 3 2 0   (14)  5 errors

BELLARINE   0 6 9 x   (15)  6 errors

Hits.

Guild:   T.Snarey 3, H.Peoples 2, A.McNee 2, B.Jensz, T.Luther-Wilson, J.Renouf (home run)

Bellarine:   W.Visser 3, P.Brackley 2, S.Murry, K.Kiefel, B.Shay

RBIs.

Guild:   T.Snarey 3, H.Peoples 3, J.Renouf 3, B.Jensz 2, J.Durston

Bellarine:   W.Visser 5, P.Brackley 3, L.Weldon 2, C.Brown, S.Murry

Pitching.

Guild:   H.Peoples 2 inn, 5 H, 4 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HPB, 5 ER

J.Wood 0 inn, 2 H, 0 K, 4 BB, 0 HPB, 6 ER

J.Durston 0.2 inn, 1 H, 0 K, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER

T.Duxson 0.1 inn, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER

Bellarine:   P.Brackley 1 inn, 7 H, 0 K, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER

S.Murry 3 inn, 3 H, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER

OTHER GRADES.

 

It is still a five-way go for a finals appearance in A RESERVE, where the Royals blasted seven in the last to consolidate second with a 9-4 result over Saints – who remain a chance in view of sixth-placed Lara downing Deakin 4-3 in something of an upset. Guild strengthened its hold on top placing with a 13-3 Sunday result over Bellarine, which retains third by a narrow margin.

 

Corio strengthened its hold on top spot in B GRADE with a 10-2 result over Bacchus Marsh in a weekend disrupted by weather. While the top four cannot miss out on playoff action, the final two rounds will determine top-two placings – with crucial matches to come, including Corio playing both Alfredton and Sunshine over the next fortnight.

 

With two games rained out in B RESERVE, Saints Black edged into fourth without taking the field ahead of Deakin, which slipped a spot after being rolled by Titans 10-5. Guild thrashed Royals 13-4 in a game of little consequence in terms of finals qualification – which remains a possibility for six clubs. Among the contenders, Saints Black and Saints Red both have to face Bellarine – which itself meets the Titans next week – while Deakin is a realistic chance with games to come against Guild and Royals.

 

There was no change to the C GRADE standings after Saturday games, which were all washed out – although the Sunday clash between Lara and Saints could cause some movement in the leading group – but only if the lowly haloes outfit can engineer an upset.

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