Lions maul Bears: Saints in a canter
6 July 2019
Already shaping as a spirited contest in the run to post-season play, A Grade competition tightened up even further this afternoon, with the Lions awakening from their slumber and Saints continuing a seemingly irresistible push towards the top of the table.
Paced by a Jarrod Durston gem on the hill – a five-hitter - Guild belted five in the first on its way to a crushing 15-0 win over league-leading Bellarine, while Saints were never seriously threatened in their 10-2 away victory against Ballarat Royals.
Posting a strong 9-1 result against Lara to retain fourth placing on head to head behind the Royals, Deakin holds a narrow break on Guild – which might yet turn around a shaky first half of its season.
While a couple of drawn games render it less likely that two or more sides might be equal on winning percentage after the final regular season game, it remains a possibility - in A Grade and at other levels - meaning that club management might already be looking at where they would be situated in that event.
Bellarine has beaten Royals twice, Lara twice and Guild twice – so it would have the head to head advantage over those clubs. Saints have beaten the Royals twice and Guild twice. Royals have two wins over Deakin and two against Lara, while Deakin has beaten Lara twice, Guild has beaten Deakin twice and Lara has scalped Saints twice.
If equal winning percentage came into play, we would also to have to factor in a couple of washouts thus far – in theory requiring that further criteria would need to be applied.
We’ll let GBA Head Office concern themselves with such scenarios for the time being!
GUILD 15 defeated BELLARINE 0
Having a tough time of it in recent weeks, the Lions roared back into form with a massive win over Bellarine, which was highballing along quite nicely at the top of the table before this timely reminder that there is still plenty more work to be done in its 2019 campaign.
A lead-off single by Pat Brackley was rather quickly negated as Guild starter Jarrod Durston proceeded to dominate the Bellarine hitters, while his own side launched a full-on assault against Josh Crotty – taking him for a five-run first, including three hits, two walks and a HPB.
It was an outburst that clearly rattled the visitors, who coughed up three unearned in the second and four more of five scored in a ragged fourth innings that placed the game well beyond reach of a side that could muster just five hits - and committed four damaging errors - as Durston went the distance, whiffed four, did not concede a walk and did not allow a runner past second base.
To complete an extraordinary individual game, Durston picked up a lazy four hits and three RBIs to be among offensive contributors including Ben Jensz (three hits and an RBI), Angus McNee (two and three) and Chris Durston (two and one).
Surely buoyed by the massive turnaround in their fortunes, the Lions will take serious confidence into their away clash with Saints next Saturday, while Bellarine will be at home to Deakin for a game that is of great import for both clubs.
BELLARINE 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0) 4 errors
GUILD 5 3 0 5 1 1 (15) 0 errors
Bellarine: P.Brackley, D.Stott, B.Hockey, A.Hockey, K.Kiefel
Guild: J.Durston 4, B.Jensz 3, C.Durston 2, A.McNee 2, T.Snarey, L.Harty, J.Renouf, Jarryd Wood
Guild: J.Durston 3, A.McNee 3, L.Harty, C.Durston, R.Stewart, T.Snarey, B.Jensz
Bellarine: J.Crotty 2 inn, 7 H, 1 K, 3 BB, 1 HPB, 5 ER
P.Brackley 2 inn, 6 H, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER
B.Wells 1.2 inn, 2 H, 1 K, 3 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
Guild: J.Durston 6 inn, 5 H, 4 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
SAINTS 10 defeated ROYALS 2
The visitors were out of the blocks early, with a three-spot in the first off former hurler Jordan Isbister, who spun a solid second frame before Saints tacked on another three against a Royals outfit that found it tough going and appeared strangely out of sorts for a club challenging for second on a tightly-compacted ladder.
With Scott Kerr playing a starring role at centrefield and with the bat, the Royals finally plated a run in the fifth and still appeared a chance until Cody Anderson stroked a triple in the top of six and scored on a hit that drew Brendan Robinson from the sun-drenched Ballarat pen in relief.
A wild pitch and a sacrifice flyball gleaned two more for Saints, who called on Tyler Huisman to close out the game and preserve a well-earned win for starter Emerson Rickard, who scattered six hits and conceded a solitary earned run.
With two timely hits and three RBIs, Anderson was a serious factor in offence for Saints, along with Mark Freijah (two hits and two ribbies), Steven Fox (one and two), Keenan Spence (two hits) and Dion Kirchner (two hits), while Kerr (three knocks) and Jedd Miller (two) were best for a Royals side that has dropped all three of its games against the Saints this season.
Clearly ensconced in second, Saints will be at home to Guild for what should be a ripper game next Saturday, while the Royals will be primed for a stronger showing in their away clash with Lara.
SAINTS 3 0 2 1 0 3 1 (10) 2 errors
ROYALS 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 (2) 1 error
Saints: K.Spence 2, C.Anderson 2, M.Freijah 2, D.Kirchner 2, T.Elliott, S.Fox, L.Sherwell, G.Polley
Royals: S.Kerr 3, J.Miller 2, L.Ashmore, M.Jones
Saints: C.Anderson 3, S.Fox 2, M.Freijah 2, T.Huisman, L.Sherwell
Royals: M.Jones, S.Jones
Saints: E.Rickard 6 inn, 6 H, 5 Ks, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER
T.Huisman 1 inn, 1 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
Royals: J.Isbister 5 inn, 10 H, 4 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 7 ER
B.Robinson 2 inn, 2 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
DEAKIN 9 defeated LARA 1
Leading throughout and never really being challenged in this contest, Deakin posted an important win that draws the Blues fractionally closer to third-placed Ballarat Royals.
The Wildcats squandered a scoring opportunity in the first and were soon behind the eight ball when the home club plated a run in the equaliser and tacked on three more in the third – including a two-RBI single by Andy Medew.
While Deakin starter Pat Moulton was on song in putting up zeroes, Chris Lewis was relieved early in the fourth by Dan Anson, who struggled to contain a Blues offence that forged further ahead and put the result beyond doubt with a three-spot in the sixth – compliments of five hits on the trot from one out.
Of a team total of seven hits, Stuart Forbes (two) and Travis Arandt (two) were best for the Wildcats, who were comprehensively outgunned by a Deakin outfit that amassed fourteen knocks – with the standouts being Kobe Greenhalgh (three hits and three RBIs), nine hitter Russ Millard (three and one), winning pitcher Moulton (two and one), Medew (one and two) and Zac Seipolt (two hits).
Keen to atone for earlier losses to the Ballarat club, Lara will be at home to the Royals next Saturday, while Deakin will trek to Wallington to take on a Bears outfit smarting from a mauling by Guild.
LARA 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 (1) 0 errors
DEAKIN 1 0 3 1 1 3 x (9) 1 error
Lara: S.Forbes 2, T.Arandt 2, R.Wilson, J.Fraim, M.Miller
Deakin: K.Greenhalgh 3, R.Millard 3, Z.Seipolt 2, P.Moulton 2, M.Rigby, A.Medew, A.Brady, C.Webb
Deakin: K.Greenhalgh 3, A.Medew 2, M.Rigby, P.Moulton, R.Millard
Lara: C.Lewis 3.1 inn, 7 H, 2 Ks, 5 ER
D.Anson 2.2 inn, 7 H, 1 K, 4 ER
Deakin: P.Moulton 6 inn, 5 H, 6 Ks, 1 ER
C.Webb 1 inn, 2 H, 0 K, 0 ER
As in A Grade competition, A RESERVE is wide open, with five of the six clubs well in contention for a post-season berth, headed by league-leading Guild, which edged home 4-3 over the Bears, who have been engaged in low-scoring games throughout the season and can certainly improve on their current fifth placing as they strive for back-to-back pennants at this level. The comeback of the round – and probably of the year – was at Prince of Wales Reserve, where Saints belted ten in the last to record a stunning 14-9 result over the Royals, who slip to third on head to head above Deakin, which battled its way to a 9-6 win against lowly Lara Wildcats.
Of three clubs setting a cracking pace in B GRADE, first-placed Colac did it tougher than anticipated in nailing a 4-1 win over Guild, while Sunshine – right on the Braves’ clacker – found it equally demanding going in its 11-6 result against sixth-placed Saints. A free-scoring Corio outfit cruised to an 11-0 win over Newport, while fourth-placed Alfredton gained some separation from the pack by outgunning Bacchus Marsh 6-1 at Masons Lane.
The nine-team B RESERVE grade remains wide open, with six clubs around the money and the other three by no means out of contention. League-leading Saints Black downed Saints Red 6-2, to send their haloes counterpart tumbling to fifth behind Bellarine – which smashed Guild 22-6 - and Corio, who overpowered the Royals 14-3. Titans edged into fourth – compliments of the bye – and Deakin joined Saints Red with a thumping 15-3 win over Colac, a contest effectively decided in the first, when the Blues put up a ten-spot.
Even with a couple of results to come, C GRADE competition holds plenty of interest for all concerned – especially as clubs chase runaway undefeated leader Corio and second-placed Lara, which is always a tough proposition at this level. Deakin consolidated in third with its 14-3 result over Saints, while Colac posted its fourth win of the season – a 19-9 result over Bellarine Blue in what observers tell us was a fun game played in really good spirits.
Image: Mark Lazarus
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