Saints open account: Lara storms home

Kingsley Collins

27 April 2019

Although it was a crisp old autumn day across the league, the GBA season resumed in earnest – with lower grades and junior competition starting up and with patterns beginning to emerge in the six-team A Grade component.


Gaining a break in the third, East Belmont hung on for a narrow win over Ballarat Royals – to join the new club at one win from four – while Bellarine delighted its home supporters with a thumping win over Guild and Lara blasted four in the last to set up a one-run result over Deakin, which is favoured by the pundits to be a serious championship contender.


Bellarine and Lara (three and one) share league leadership ahead of Guild and Deakin (two wins apiece), while Saints and Royals have shown plenty in what is shaping as an especially even competition. 


Before launching into our analysis of the round, a few observations of interest to the GBA community.......


First, a reminder that the Australian Secondary Schools Championship will be held at Geelong Baseball Centre from Monday 29 April through to Saturday 4 May. The tournament will again involve a core of locals working their butts off to help deliver what is bound to be another outstanding event. If you have the time or the opportunity to help out – or if you will be available to simply cheer on the Victorian side (or any other side, for that matter) – then your involvement will surely be much appreciated.


All GBA players need to be have completed their 2019 registration by the time of their second game. Please ensure that is attended to.


While the GBA full draw is posted for all grades, there is a chance of error occurring with the transposing of details from association documents to the website and social media. If there is any confusion, please let us know. The Official Senior Draw is the Excel version provided to clubs.


Scroll down for a selection of shots from Prince of Wales Reserve this afternoon. If you have images that you would like to share from this round, please feel free to email for inclusion or post directly to GBA Facebook.



Going with starter Emerson Rickard, the visitors conceded two unearned in the bottom of the second before a third-innings outburst that gleaned five off former Saints hurler Jordan Isbister – who was equally not helped out by his Ballarat defence in key situations.


Tacking on another in the fifth, the haloes were on decent terms with themselves when calling Josh Lee into relief action – although the well-performed veteran struggled a little for control as the Royals hit back with a two-spot and loomed as a rough chance until the visitors iced the game with a quality two-out play at the plate in a tight last frame.


Carding the win for his club, Rickard – who stroked a crucial hit and RBI - was accorded solid offensive support from Trevor Elliott (two hits and an RBI), Keenan Spence (two and one) and Dion Kirchner, while Tyler Channell (hit and three ribbies) was again a standout for the Royals along with Mitch Collins (two and one) and crafty reliever Brendan Robinson with a timely late knock.


Saints will take a degree of confidence into their home clash with Guild next Saturday, while Royals make the trek to Lara to confront a seasoned opponent that is always tough at the snakepit.


SAINTS    0 0 5 0 1 0 0 0   (6)  2 errors

ROYALS   0 2 0 0 0 0 2 0   (4)  2 errors


Saints:  T.Elliott 2, K.Spence 2, D.Kirchner, C.Hughes, E.Rickard

Royals:  M.Collins 2, H.Pfeiffer, L.Ashmore, M.Jones, J.Isbister, M.Robinson, T.Channell


Saints:  T.Elliott, K.Spence, D.Kirchner, C.Hughes, E.Rickard

Royals:  T.Channell 3, M.Collins


Saints:  E.Rickard 5 inn, 5 H, 2 Ks, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER

J.Lee 2 inn, 3 H, 1 K, 4 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER

Royals:  J.Isbister 5 inn, 6 H, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER

B.Robinson 3 inn, 1 H, 2 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER


LARA 7 defeated DEAKIN 6


Showing that it will once again be a force to be reckoned with, Lara consolidated joint league leadership with a one-run result effectively decided by a four-spot in the top of the last of a game that began with a flurry and meandered through the middle innings.


Playing errorless defence throughout, the Wildcats plated two in the first, prompting a savage four-run response as Cameron McNish was chased from the hill in the equaliser – giving way to greybeard Gregg Anderson, who constructed another superb outing to keep his club in the contest.


The clubs matched blows with a run apiece in the sixth before the Wildcats’ offence came alive in the last, with four of its top order hitting safely – including a two-run Jarrod Fraim single – to set the base for a game-changing assault.


Earning the win for Lara, Anderson (hit and two RBIs) was influential with the bat along with Fraim (two and two) and Dan Anson (three and one), while Stephen Pengelly (two and two), Troy Malthouse (two and one) and Cam Lyons (two hits) were productive for the Blues in what was – for them - a disappointing result given their early dominance.


Lara will be at home to Ballarat Royals next Saturday and Deakin will mosey down to Wallington Reserve for what should be a ripper game against an in-form Bellarine.

LARA        2 0 0 0 0 1 4   (7)  0 errors

DEAKIN   4 0 1 0 0 1 0   (6)  3 errors


Lara:  D.Anson 3, J.Fraim 2, S.Forbes, M.Miller, R.Wilson, B.Hammer, G.Anderson

Deakin:  T.Malthouse 2, C.Lyons 2, S.Pengelly 2, C.Webb, K.Greenhalgh, M.Rigby, A.Medew, E.Hosking


Lara:  J.Fraim 2, G.Anderson 2, B.Hammer, D.Anson, T.Arandt

Deakin:  S.Pengelly 2, K.Green, M.Rigby, T.Malthouse, L.Simpson


Lara:  C.McNish 0.1 inn, 2 H, 0 K, 4 ER

G.Anderson 6.1 inn, 9 H, 3 Ks, 2 ER

Deakin:  C.Webb 6.1 inn, 10 H, 2 Ks, 5 ER

A.Brady 0.2 inn, 0 H, 0 K, 0 ER


BELLARINE 9 defeated GUILD 2


Rightly placing their faith in emerging players – given the departure of Brad Egan and other turnover in personnel – the Lions started brightly enough but were rocked by a seven-run second as the Bears showed no mercy for starter Travis Duxson, who deserved better than the five unearned against his line.


While reliever Hayden Peoples was able to effectively stem the flow in tossing the remainder of the game, Guild struggled for offensive production against the Bellarine combination of starter Lachlan Hockey (one innings), Pat Brackley (five) and Brock Wells, who delivered the last rites.


Despite having standout hitters in Ryan Stewart (three hits, including two triples), Tyler Luther-Wilson (two hits and two RBIs) and Troy Snarey (two hits), the Lions were well beaten in this contest, thanks largely to the offensive contributions of Bears Manager Lewis Weldon (two hits and three ribbies), Lachlan Hockey (two and one) and Brackley – who has already enjoying a terrific season with the club.


Coming off a strong win over the reigning premier, Bellarine will be primed for another bold showing at home to Deakin, while Guild heads over the creek to take on the haloes – who are coming off their first win.

GUILD             1 0 0 0 1 0 0   (2)  1 error

BELLARINE    1 7 0 1 0 0 x   (9)  0 errors


Guild:  R.Stewart 3 (inc two triples), T.Luther-Wilson 2, T.Snarey 2, J.Renouf

Bellarine:  L.Weldon 2, Lachlan Hockey 2, P.Brackley, B.Wells, W.Visser, D.Stott, K.Kiefel


Guild:  T.Luther-Wilson 2

Bellarine:  L.Weldon 3, P.Brackley, W.Visser, L.Hockey, D.Stott, K.Kiefel


Guild:  T.Duxson 1.2 inn, 7 H, 1 K, 3 ER

H.Peoples 4.1 inn, 2 H, 4 Ks, 1 ER

Bellarine:  L.Hockey 1 inn, 3 H, 2 Ks, 1 ER

P.Brackley 5 inn, 4 H, 4 Ks, 1 ER

B.Wells 1 inn, 1 H, 0 K, 0 ER

Images from this game (supplied by Philip Sage):




































































































While it is obviously far too early to make any sensible assessment about what might or might not happen in the lower grades, there were a few items of real interest that emerged from this week.


Ballarat Royals are already exhibiting a degree of club depth, with their seconds having a narrow win over Saints and their C Grade team scoring heavily against Bellarine Red. While a five-run loss to Corio in B Reserve was somewhat less royally satisfying, the Tigers were a pretty impressive unit that equally reflected considerable club depth given its powerful B Grade win over Bacchus Marsh.


As expected, B Grade is shaping as a tough league, boasting a legion of quality players who have distinguished themselves at higher levels. Aside from the Corio result, Colac withstood a late challenge from Alfredton and will surely benefit from the return of Brad Egan, while Newport pipped Saints in a beauty and reigning premier Sunshine showed that it is again a force to be reckoned with.


The two Saints sides in B Reserve slugged out a ripper, low-scoring contest, while new club North West Titans burst onto the scene in a huge way – by thumping Colac C Grade in its first GBA road trip.