Leaders falter in even competition
4 May 2019
While none of this week’s A Grade results would be accurately described as an upset, losses to the three leading teams were again a reflection of how little separates each of the six teams.
Sixth coming into this round, Ballarat Royals led throughout against second-placed Lara Wildcats, while Deakin – which scored vital late runs - edged into third with its win over Bellarine and Saints packed too many guns against an undermanned Guild, which slipped to fourth.
Five games in at the highest level and it is shaping as a very even competition – a situation reflected in other grades, where there have already been some fascinating developments as clubs settle into their seasons.
ROYALS 6 defeated LARA 3
Ballarat Royals were never headed in posting their second win of the season over a Lara outfit that was well contained in offence by recruit Brendan Robinson – who spun a complete seven-innings game (one earned run) for the visitors.
Throwing a scoreless first two for Lara, Cameron McNish came under fire in the third, when walks and some timely hitting handed the Royals a two-run break that was built upon in the fifth as the Wildcats called upon Gregg Anderson, who in turn conceded three in the sixth before his club mounted a recovery of sorts.
Amassing ten knocks to six, the Royals had standout hitters in Hayden Pfeiffer (three hits and two RBIs) and Scott Jones (two and two), while the Wildcats’ limited production was delivered by six different players – with Jordan Baumann and Ross Wilson posting an RBI apiece.
Settling more comfortably into their new identity, the Royals will be at home to Deakin next Saturday, while Lara will be away to Guild – confident, one expects, of a strong showing against the reigning premier.
FOOTNOTE: Players wore black armbands and both clubs observed a minute’s silence prior to this game (see below), in respect for former Ballarat City Life Member Peter Ditchfield – a long-time, dedicated servant of Ballarat baseball who sadly passed away during the week.
ROYALS 0 0 2 0 1 3 0 (6) 2 errors
LARA 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 (3) 0 errors
Royals: H.Pfeiffer 3, S.Jones 2, S.Kerr, M.Collins, L.Ashmore, J.Bannan, T.Chanell
Lara: S.Forbes, D.Anson, J.Fraim, J.Baumann, P.Pruis, L.Arandt
Royals: S.Jones 2, H.Pfeiffer 2, M.Jones, J.Bannan
Lara: R.Wilson, J.Baumann
Royals: B.Robinson 7 inn, 6 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER
Lara: C.McNish 4 inn, 5 H, 4 Ks, 7 BB, 0 HPB, 3 ER
G.Anderson 3 inn, 5 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 3 ER
DEAKIN 7 defeated BELLARINE 5
Starting brightly against an opponent that is always tough to nail at home, Deakin plated three in the first (one of those unearned) on three hits before the Bears came to life and edged to a lead with a three-spot in the third – two of those gifted by defensive miscues.
While Bellarine stretched its break with one in the sixth, Deakin collared Bears starter Josh Crotty in the seventh, drawing level as both clubs called upon their relief pitching. With the game up for grabs, the Blues lower order delivered the goods with a two-run frame – thanks to a walk and a timely double by Cameron Lyons before Chris Webb closed out a tight contest that went the full nine innings.
Racking up thirteen hits to ten in an entertaining offensive game, Deakin was well-served by Andy Medew (whose three hits and three ribbies were decisive), Lyons (two hits and two RBIs), Mark Rigby (two hits), Troy Malthouse (two hits) and Ethan Hosking (two hits). Pat Brackley, Simon Murry, Daniel Stott and Matt Sage all hit safely twice for the Bears.
Progressively building its season as a likely finalist, Deakin will trek up the highway to meet Ballarat Royals next Saturday and Bellarine – looking to atone - will be away to Saints.
Images from this game (compliments of Philip Sage) have been posted on GBA FACEBOOK.
DEAKIN 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 (7) 2 errors
BELLARINE 0 1 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 (5) 2 errors
Deakin: A.Medew 3, M.Rigby 2, T.Malthouse 2, C.Lyons 2, E.Hosking 2, C.Webb, S.Pengelly
Bellarine: P.Brackley 2, S.Murry 2, D.Stott 2, M.Sage 2, G.Rome, A.Hockey
Deakin: A.Medew 3, C.Lyons 2, C.Webb
Bellarine: P.Brackley, D.Stott, M.Sage
Deakin: P.Moulton 6 inn, 8 H, 5 Ks, 3 ER
C.Webb 3 inn, 2 H, 1 K, 0 ER
Bellarine: J.Crotty 6.1 inn, 7 H, 3 Ks, 4 ER
S.Murry 2.2 inn, 6 H, 1 K, 2 ER
SAINTS 7 defeated GUILD 2
Extricating himself from a jam in the first, Emerson Rickard spun a solid start for Saints - along with Lion Jarrod Durston, who emulated his counterpart in putting up zeroes through the first four innings.
A walk and three successive hits by its middle order handed Guild a break in the top of five, although the haloes squared the contest in the equaliser and embarked on a five-run spree in the next – including three unearned as the Lions defence faltered in uncharacteristic fashion.
With Rickard (eight strikeouts) holding sway before handing the ball to 15-year old younger brother Cooper Rickard to close out the game, Saints outplayed their opponent for a well-deserved win that admittedly owed a fair deal to six errors committed by Guild.
Steven Fox (two hits and an RBI), Tyler Huisman (one and two), Keenan Spence and George Polley were productive in offence for Saints, while Chris Durston (two hits), Jarrod Durston (two hits), Troy Snarey and Tyler Luther-Wilson were best with the bat for the Lions.
Slipping to two and three, Guild will be looking for improvement at home to Lara next Saturday, while Saints will play host to Bellarine coming off a loss.
GUILD 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 (2) 6 errors
SAINTS 0 0 0 0 2 5 0 x (7) 2 errors
Guild: C.Durston 2, J.Durston 2, R.Stewart, T.Snarey, T.Luther-Wilson, S.Barnes, J.Renouf
Saints: S.Fox 2, T.Huisman, K.Spence, G.Polley, E.Rickard, D.Kirchner
Guild: T.Snarey, T.Luther-Wilson
Saints: T.Huisman 2, T.Elliott, S.Fox, K.Spence, G.Polley
Guild: J.Durston 5 inn, 4 H, 4 Ks, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER
H.Peoples 1 inn, 3 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER
T.Duxson 1 inn, 0 H, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
Saints: E.Rickard 7 inn, 9 H, 8 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER
C.Rickard 1 inn, 0 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
Check back later tonight for highlights of other senior grades.