Wildcats clinch finals berth: Lions maul Saints
17 August 2019
Played under warming sunshine that was in stark contrast with some horrid weather of late, the penultimate round of GBA regular season provided further clarity around which teams will be experiencing finals action that starts in a fortnight.
Lara recovered from a nine-run deficit to force a 10-10 draw with the Royals – a result that secures a semi-final appearance for the Wildcats and dumps the Ballarat club from contention – while Guild made a powerful and ominous statement by belting second-placed Saints 11-3 in an error-ridden contest.
With Manager Lewis Weldon leaving the yard with two booming shots in his side’s 12-3 romp over Deakin, Bellarine has secured the A Grade minor premiership and appears to be building beautifully for another finals campaign.
While there were still some potential scenarios leading into this week’s round of senior games, results have effectively settled the final four for A Grade, although other senior competitions may be subject to change pending the last round of games.
An early heads-up to senior teams qualifying for the post-season that Semi-Finals are likely to be scheduled over Saturday and Sunday. More later.
We extend our congratulations to our junior club teams – in Under 12 and Under 14 – who will be playing their Grand Final next Saturday (24 August). While there have been a few interruptions through weather this season, it is great to see our youngsters enjoying and learning the game over the winter months. We encourage everyone who is able to come along and enjoy our junior grand finals on Saturday!
ROYALS 10 drew with LARA 10
With their finals prospects hanging by a thread – and with Leigh Ashmore and Jordan Isbister unavailable – the Royals handed the ball to Xavier Woolley for his first A Grade start.
It was an assignment that Woolley took on board in spades, as he applied the early clamps to a Lara offence with the capacity to create carnage against any club in this competition but that was placed on the back foot when the Royals followed up a one-run first with a blistering second innings that gleaned a five-spot – including a two-run Jedd Miller triple.
Calling on Cameron Forbes to relieve Chris Lewis, the Wildcats continued to struggle for offensive production and the Royals tacked on three more in the bottom of four, including a Matt Jones triple and a Scott Jones double off the centrefield wall.
Three in the top of five offered some hope for the Wildcats, who continued to press against a tiring Woolley in the top of six as the visiting offence pounced to tie it up against reliever Brendan Robinson, who was still looking good for the save when his club drove a run across in the equaliser.
Outplayed for the bulk of this contest, Lara nevertheless had enough in reserve to respond with a run in the top of the last before entrusting closing duties to Jared Berman.
Needing a win to keep their finals hopes alive, the Royals will certainly feel that this game was one that got away – especially given the terrific start by Woolley and the offensive contributions provided by Matt Jones (three hits and three RBIs), Scott Jones (three and two) and Miller (one and two) – although the timely hitting of Stuart Forbes (two and two), Travis Arandt (two and two), Dan Anson (one and two), Cameron Forbes (two hits) and Jordan Baumann (vital hit and RBI) proved enough to secure Lara’s third split result of the season.
Looking to finish their A Grade season on a high, the Royals will be at home to Deakin next Saturday, while Lara meets Guild at the stadium for what will be a First Semi-Final rehearsal.
LARA 0 0 0 0 3 6 1 (10) 3 errors
ROYALS 1 5 0 3 0 1 0 (10) 2 errors
Lara: S.Forbes 2, C.Forbes 2, T.Arandt 2, D.Anson, R.Wilson, J.Berman, J.Baumann
Royals: M.Jones 3, S.Jones 3, S.Kerr, M.Collins, J.Miller, J.Sherman, H.Pfeiffer, X.Woolley
Lara: S.Forbes 2, D.Anson 2, T.Arandt 2, J.Fraim, J.Berman, L.Arandt, J.Baumann
Royals: M.Jones 3, J.Miller 2, S.Jones 2, S.Kerr, M.Collins, H.Pfeiffer
Lara: C.Lewis 2 inn, 6 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
C.Forbes 3 inn, 3 H, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPBV, ER
D.Anson 1 inn, 2 H, 0 K, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER
J.Berman 1 inn, 1 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
Royals: X.Woolley 5.1 inn, 6 H, 0 K, 5 BB, 1 HPB, 6 ER
B.Robinson 1.2 inn, 4 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 4 ER
BELLARINE 12 defeated DEAKIN 3
Bellarine was out of the blocks early in this clash, with a three-run first built around four hits, including a two-run Lewis Weldon bomb off Deakin starter Chris Webb – who was placed under further pressure with a five-run second, this time headed by a three-run Weldon shot over the centrefield wall.
With Bears starter Lachlan Hockey getting out of a jam in the first, the Blues managed an unearned run in the third and a second run off reliever Simon Murry in the next – although Bellarine retained a comfortable lead and broke further away later in the game compliments largely of free passes as the game petered out to a disappointing end.
Making more than its share of defensive errors, Deakin had little to gain from the contest in ladder terms, although it would surely be pleased with the gutsy outing by Webb against the odds and the contribution of eight players in adding safe hits to its team tally of ten - more than comparable against the Bellarine total of eleven.
Enjoying solid stints on the hill for Bellarine, Hockey, Murry and Pat Brackley will have benefitted from their outings in preparation for finals baseball, while the offensive contributions of Weldon (two homers for five RBIs), Murry (two hits and two RBIs), Brackley (two and one), Daniel Stott (two hits) and Wayne Visser (RBI-triple) were effectively the difference in this game.
Deakin will make the trek to Ballarat next Saturday for a match-up with the Royals - with both clubs surely keen to finish on a high after seasons that have fallen away – while Bellarine will be away to Saints in a contest that offers bragging rights and not much else.
IMAGES from Bellarine versus Deakin games (supplied by Mark Lazarus)
BELLARINE 3 5 0 2 0 0 2 0 (12) 1 error
DEAKIN 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 (3) 4 errors
Bellarine: P.Brackley 2, L.Weldon 2 (both home runs), D.Stott 2, S.Murry 2, W.Visser, L.Stott, B.Hockey
Deakin: M.Rigby 2, C.Webb 2, Z.Seipolt, K.Greenhalgh, R.Jaramillo, A.Medew, L.Simpson, N.Warren
Bellarine: L.Weldon 5, S.Murry 2, P.Brackley, W.Visser, B.Hockey
Deakin: R.Jaramillo, L.Simpson, E.Hosking
Bellarine: L.Hockey 3 inn, 3 H, 2 Ks, 0 ER
S.Murry 3 inn, 6 H, 0 K, 2 ER
P.Brackley 2 inn, 1 H, 0 K, 0 ER
Deakin: C.Webb 6 inn, 10 H, 2 Ks, 7 ER
K.Greenhalgh 2 inn, 1 H, 0 K, 2 ER
GUILD 11 defeated SAINTS 3
Of fourteen runs scored in this game, just six were earned – which is rather odd considering that both clubs have already established their credentials among the better defensive sides while along the way qualifying for post season play.
Conceding a run in the first – on a Chris Durston double, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly – Saints hit back in the second with a Will Brennan RBI-double, although that was as close as the haloes came, as the Lions burst away with a six-run third set up by a lead-off throwing error, a walk and five hits off opposition starter Emerson Rickard.
Although Saints struck back with unearned scores of their own in the fourth and fifth, the Lions were not about to let this one slip – piling on four more late in the game (three of those unearned) to emerge a clear-cut winner in a contest that appeared to never reach any great defensive heights.
Spinning another quality start for Guild, Hayden Peoples gave up just three hits, whiffed seven and conceded a solitary earned run for Guild before Travis Duxson closed out the game against a Saints side that could muster just six knocks – two of those (and an RBI) by young Brennan – while the Lions enjoyed offensive production through the likes of Jarrod Durston (two hits and two RBIs), Angus McNee (two and one), Ben Jensz (one and two) and Jarryd Wood (two hits).
Poised to finish third, Guild will be at home to Lara next Saturday in what should be an interesting trial run for the First Semi-Final, while Saints play host to Bellarine in a further tantalising taste of what is to come in a fortnight.
SAINTS 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 (3) 5 errors
GUILD 1 0 6 0 0 3 1 (11) 5 errors
Saints: W.Brennan 2, L.Sherwell, T.Elliott, T.Huisman, C.Hughes
Guild: J.Durston 2, J.Wood 2, A.McNee 2, C.Durston, R.Stewart, B.Jensz, T.Luther-Wilson
Saints: L.Sherwell, W.Brennan
Guild: J.Durston 2, B.Jensz 2, T.Luther-Wilson 2, R.Stewart, T.Snarey, A.McNee
Saints: E.Rickard 3 inn, 7 H, 0 K, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 4 ER
J.Lee 4 inn, 3 H, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER
Guild: H.Peoples 5 inn, 3 H, 7 Ks, 0 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
T.Duxson 2 inn, 3 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
Already assured of a double chance, Guild nailed the A RESERVE minor premiership with a 7-4 result over Saints, who are fifth just a win behind Deakin, which was belted 15-4 by third-placed Bellarine. Marginally holding second placing, Royals never quite recovered from a ten-run fifth innings by Lara – which held on 15-14 in a slugfest.
League-leading Corio plated five in the last to down Alfredton 6-4 in a ripping B GRADE clash, while Colac edged into third with its 5-1 win over Newport, Sunshine retained second with a comfortable 12-2 result against Bacchus Marsh and Saints rolled Guild 6-1.