And so it all came down to this. An undefeated season where we had seen off all challenges and clung to top spot, but yet, despite all our success, there lay ahead one final test to pass before we could finally grab hold of the premier’s pennant. The premiership favourites always carry around the heavy burden of expectation, a load which is never made any lighter by the many experts offering such pearls of wisdom as ‘funny things happen in finals’.
Our Grand Final preparations were disrupted somewhat when we learnt that our opponent was to be the Mariners. All season the Pirates had been closely at our heels and it was assumed that they would play off against us in the Grand Final. But in a shock result they went down 8-2 in their semi. So, instead of meeting the team we had played 3 times during the season without defeat we now had to think about an outfit we had met only once. We were aware from our only meeting of their big sluggers at the top of the order and that the stats showed that they were a good attacking side. During the week someone was overheard saying that they also had an ace starting pitcher who had shut the Pirates down. Just what we needed, a mystery pitcher, and don’t they say funny things happen in finals!
A still, cool morning perfect for baseball and stirring grand final butterflies greeted us as we took up our positions. Ben was pitching to Shelley behind the dish, Finnian was our sub in the dugout and the supporters of both sides were settling into their fold out chairs. We had a full side other than Darcy who was overseas and Asher absent due to a hand injury. The Mariners top 3 batters immediately found their timing with some strong hitting and got a run on the board. Nick was a ball magnet at right field. In attempting an out at one we airmailed over Vikram our first baseman leading to a double and a groan from the Fitroy fans. Then came the moment of controversy as Port Melbourne batted a 2nd runner in only to have the run disallowed by the umpire for not sliding at home, apparently a rule that is activated only in finals. As rule books and ipads were consulted we were left hoping that we didn’t win by 1 as there would sure to be a protest. Ben steadied the nerves by striking out the last 2 batters and after an eventful 1st inning we seemed relieved to have only given up 1 legal run.
Bottom of the 1st and who was this mysterious ginger haired lefty warming up on the mound throwing accurate bullets to the catcher, no framing required? Certainly not someone who pitched to us last time. Our reliable leadoff man Stevie was our first out on a no swing strike and suddenly the answer to how the Mariners beat Preston was staring us right in the face from the pitcher’s mound. Heck, this kid was good. Adam was caught for our 2nd out and then Ben (who during the week was voted our MVP) hit into right field with a very handy left to right shape that bounced and span away from the fielder and into tea tree scrub foul territory making for a long chase. The throw was relayed to 2nd on the bounce and Ben had time to run home to the roar of the home crowd and a rare infield home run. Our last batter was then struck out and at the end of 1 the scores were tied.
Innings 2 was a thrilling but tense defensive battle with the 2 respective pitchers keeping the batters very quiet. It was hard to see how either team could score, meaning that any run, no matter how it was earned, could be the game winner.
Top of the 3rd and Port Melbourne was back to the start of its order, danger time for us. Ben struck out 2 but then their big men got some hits and a runner home for their 2nd run before we could close out with a good play at 1st. We were behind but had got through the top of their order once more without too much scoreboard damage and it would be a few innings before they got up to the plate again. Bottom of the 3rd saw Tony get to 1st after a trademark hit through CF to the delight of his fan club. He then was advanced to 2nd by the umpire after a balk call. Steve shaped to bunt and the pitcher hesitated in his delivery. Tony then showed his great leg speed by stealing 3rd in a close call, but the tying run was left there after our final out. After 3 we trailed 2 – 1.
Top of the 4th and and we got an out at 1 followed soon after by a great pick off at 2 by Shelley again demonstrating her nice glove to hand work, strong arm and good old fashioned baseball smarts. Ben closed off the inning with a strike out. In reply we were back to the top of our order and Adam got us a toehold when he was walked to 1st. Ben repeated his effort from earlier in the game when he hit to RF and Adam was able to slide in at home to the delight of the home crowd and level the scores 2-2. Kieran and Angus swung aggressively trying to take it to the Mariners starter but were struck out.
The game was headed to the 5th inning and the really pointy end, both pitchers on top, runs hard to come by and time becoming an issue. Spectators were shifting uneasily in their seats, some heading to the clubhouse for something or other or anything to relieve the considerable tension. This was a compelling contest almost too dramatic to watch. Something had to give. Ben turned in a ripper performance in the 5th as he struck out all 3. Scores still level and Ben seemingly getting better and stronger.
Bottom of the 5th and Pete stepped up to the plate, bat held behind the head in his familiar relaxed stance. The Mariners starter, hitherto indestructible and seemingly impervious to pressure threw 4 balls in succession to give Pete a free pass to 1st. Sensing the critical moment approaching the coach decided to immediately bring in the relieving pitcher and here the game changed completely. The next 2 batters Shelley and Nick were walked, the reliever was having a bad day so was replaced by the 3rd pitcher but the rot had set in. The strikes had suddenly dried up replaced by walks and wild pitches sending the catcher scrambling back to the fence. Pete, Shelley, Nick, Vikram, Adam, Tony all came home without hitting the ball. Understandably, we weren’t swinging too much enjoying the release of pressure and making things as difficult as possible for the struggling pitcher. The consistent Kieran contributed a hit and got home via some more walks. By the end of 5 we now led 9 – 2 and had a stranglehold. Ben had come out on top in the epic pitchers battle. Not only were we a long way ahead but the 5th had gone so long with so many walks and replacing pitchers that time had almost run out. With now just a few minutes to go Port Melbourne’s only chance was to score 7 runs in lightening time and then hope to dismiss us again without further score.
Adam finally relieved the outstanding Ben and began to close out the game striking out one, Vikram completing an out at first base after a neat gather from Ben at short stop and then for the final out of the season Stevie diving left and low at second to pouch a screaming CF drive. Another catch of the season candidate from Stevie as the Port Melbourne batter stood hands on hips in disbelief.
Game and Grand Final was called and our beaming lads and lasses appeared to enjoy the win immensely. Great spirit was shown by the gallant Port Melbourne as their boys lined up to say ‘well played’. Time for photos and smiles and ‘good to be alive’ moments and ‘savour this moment forever’ moments. But as John King handed the premiership medals to each of the young Lions players, as the U12 kids and supporters joined us after their win, as Gaele had time to turn and give heartfelt thanks, as she was handed multiple bunches of flowers and received many hugs, as we said goodbye to another summer it felt very much a ‘glad to be part of Fitzroy Baseball Club moment.’
Match report by Sean Farrell
Congratulations to Henry Formosa-Doyle and his Under 14s winning the Junior League Northern Diamondbacks Premiership.
Congratulations to the Under 12s on winning their Grand Final.
The Geelong Baycats travelled to Merri Park for the second time this season having earned 4th spot on the ladder and a sudden death final against us, the ladder leaders. We had beaten Geelong comfortably in both encounters except now we were meeting in a final and previous results would count for little. Geelong weren’t expected to win so had nothing to lose. On the other hand could we cope with the extra pressure of favouritism?
Top of the first and the Geelong bench and supporters were doing their best to encourage their batters with some vibrant and enthusiastic barracking. An excellent finals atmosphere was created as the away team swung with sound technique to collect some solid hits. Ben was pitching to Shelley and we put in a solid defensive inning as Geelong managed to load the bases but were shut down as Shelley picked off at 3rd, Kieran in sunglasses moved well to catch at left field and Vikram completed a nice out at 1. Luckily for us the away team also seemed hesitant to capitalise on a couple of occasions when the ball got behind Shelley and chose not to steal home.
In our first turn at bat the reliable Stevie was given a free pass to 1st and was then batted home by Adam to open our scoring. Ben capitalised on a fielding error to gain a double followed by a Kieran double and RBI. The Geelong starter was struggling for control and our next 3 runs all came from walks before he was relieved. Our dug out was creating some noise and making some impression on the roar meter with Angus and the always encouraging Kieran leading the way. Meanwhile, the Fitzroy fans were enjoying the efforts of the home team. Pete, Tony and Finnian all contributed hits and RBIs and after our last out we had 9 runs on the board. Being a final there was no limit to how many runs a team could earn per inning and we were off to the perfect start.
The 2nd innings saw Ben starting to loosen up and throw some consistent strikes but Geelong managed to gain a run through a couple of hits. Kieran again took a great running catch with suspicion of sun in the eyes. The Geelong innings was ended by a regulation ground out to 1st and a no swing strike out from Ben. In reply we were kept more in control by the relief pitcher, with only Adam and Ben gaining hits and Vikram an RBI. After 2 we were ahead 11 -1.
The 3rd innings was a much closer battle, Geelong stealing home a run as Ben struck out 2 and the last out was gained at 1st. In reply we were kept scoreless as the visitors defended very well.
The 4th dig was highlighted by Stevie taking a running jump at a floating ball just short of 2nd and completing a fine chest mark reminiscent of Nick Riewoldt on a long lead. Ben then struck out the next 2 to keep Geelong scoreless, once again demonstrating his impressive endurance and ability to throw quality pitches even deep into the game. Bottom of the 4th and we were lead off by Finnian showing his tendency to be a first pitch hitter as he put the first pitch of the inning into play in a vacant right field and advance to 2nd on a fielding error. Darcy with a typical low strong hit and RBI to left field and Tony with a double and 2 RBIs put us in complete control of the semi final. The Baycats brought on their 3rd pitcher and closed out what would be our last at bat.
Adam relieved Ben for the last innings of the match and quickly earned 2 strike outs. Ben caught a sizzling hot drive at short stop to end the game with us in front 17 – 2. Geelong looked to be a talented batting side with most of their batters gaining hits, the consistent pitching of Ben backed up by tight defence however never allowed them to get a foothold into the match. With us winning the semi final the scene was set for us to enjoy the experience of Grand Final week not least our ‘Brownlow’ night the Junior Presentations on Wednesday.
Hits: Adam 2, Ben 2, Kieran 1, Pete 1, Tony 2, Finnian 2, Vikram 1, Darcy 1
RBIs: Adam 1, Kieran 1, Pete 1, Tony 3, Finnian 1, Vikram 1
Match report by Sean Farrell
For our final game of the regular season, we returned to Sunshine to the scene of Round 1 way back in October, when we got our year off to a winning start and Stevie sustained a nasty finger injury. The Roc Kirby scoreboard was overlooking the immaculate astro turf as some welcome cloud cover kept the forecast 36 degree forecast at bay. The Eagles were down a few players so Tony kindly volunteered to play as a substitute to make up their numbers. Asher was absent from our bench.
The top of our batting order has been looking settled for a while now and we were again quickly into stride. Our reliable table setter Stevie grounded to left field and made it safely to first. Adam followed with a hit and our first RBI and then Ben got on base with a single. Our number 4 Kieran batted in Ben and Adam with a grounded ball to left and immediately Taylor the Sunshine pitcher was under pressure. Further hits and RBIs were recorded by Nick and Finnian and as our innings ended we had 6 runs on the board.
With an eye to the upcoming finals Ben and Adam were rested from pitching duties and Stevie was given the task of starting. Shelley was relieved from catching as Adam went to work behind the plate earning our first out with a long quick throw to 2nd to beat the slide of the runner stealing from first. Vikram at first base and Darcy at short stop both completed neat catches to end the Eagles first dig trailing 6-1.
For the start of the 2nd we were back to the top of our order and Stevie led off again with a single. Adam brought him home with a ribbie followed by safe hits and RBIs to Ben and Kieran. We had 9 runs on the board as Sunshine began their reply. It was at this point that the umpire cautioned Stevie at length about the rules of balking and what a pitcher can and can’t do. Advice to the umpire was freely given by coaches and supporters from both sides as boiling points were nearly reached in the warm conditions. But after a cordial exchange of views play resumed.
The Eagles were getting the occasional hit and putting some runners on base. Angus at 3rd pulled off one of our plays of the day by smoothly moving into a ground ball, collecting and throwing powerfully to Vikram at first base to complete the first out. Stevie then did very well to get out of a jam by striking out the next 2 batters with a runner on 3rd. At the end of 2 we were up 9 to 2.
For the 3rd the Eagles brought in their reliever, a stylish lefty that kept us in check. Vikram hit nicely into the outfield in his vintage U14 style of last season and our single run of the innings came from a steal. Bottom of the 3rd and Angus relieved on the mound and Shelley became our general behind the dish. Nick took a well judged catch deep in left field just as it seemed there might be a collision with Kieran. The next out was Kieran’s as he safely pouched an outfield fly ball with Nick lurking close by and Finnian completed a good innings for our out fielders by moving well to nonchalantly catch at right field. Meanwhile the affable Tony was being welcomed very hospitably in the Sunshine dugout. At the end of 3 we were still up 10 – 3.
Our last completed innings saw Stevie and Ben add 2 more hits to their stats and with a couple more steals we finished the 4th on 12 runs. With no hope of making the finals Sunshine were eager to finish their 14/15 season on a positive note and were swinging aggressively and getting on bases. Angus though was finding his range and earning 2 strike outs with some quality pitches, showing what good depth we possess in our hurling ranks. Adam completed a good tag at home to finish the regular season. Final score 12-8.
We finished the season on top of the ladder with no losses with our closest challengers the impressive fielders of Preston followed by the heavy hitters of Port Melbourne.
Hits: Stevie 3, Adam 2, Ben 3, Kieran 2, Nick 1, Finnian 1, Vikram 1
RBIs: Adam 2, Kieran 3, Ben 1, Nick 1, Finnian 1.
Match Report Sean Farrell
Against an undermanned opposition on Sunday we continued our outstanding post Christmas form to register our 4th win from our past 5 outings. A mighty effort.
Just check out the hits and RBIs below to get an idea of our performance. Every one of our players forced the scorers to scribe in the green ball point!
Luke did a fine job on the hill Regester(ing) 6 Ks while giving up only 2 hits, 3BB and 1 earned run. Our defence backed him to the hilt.
Next week sees us line up against the all powerful Cheltenham in the last game of what's been an excellent season. Bring it on we say!
Hits - Tom 3 (2 dbls), Connor 3 (dbl), Brad 3, Luke 3, Riley H 2 (2 dbls), Alec 2 (dbl), Ethan 2, Riley C 2, Cailen 2, Warwick 1.
RBIs - Connor 4, Cailen 3, Brad 3, Luke 3, Warwick 2, Tom 1, Riley H 1, Ethan 1, Alec 1, Riley C 1
Thanks to Chris for scoring.
This game was our opportunity to determine exactly where we are at and how far we've come this season. This was our third outing against a star studded and well drilled Bombers outfit. The previous two results were not pretty with our opponents registering 10/2 wins on both occasions. We were never really in either game.
While the final score may not indicate a great deal of value added, don't let the numbers fool you. In this particular game the scores were locked at two all with around 20 minutes remaining and the game was very much in the balance.
Unfortunately for us our opponents (to their credit) came up with a clutch two out double followed by a clutch triple to take a one run lead in the bottom of the sixth. Sadly we were unable to reply in our half, but our hopes were raised when the game went into the seventh with only seconds remaining. It got ugly from here with the Bombers plating 4 on hits and BBs.
Some highlights of the game were Luke taking up the challenge and throwing two innings of good control, giving up only two runs. He had some unfinished business from our previous encounter and delivered in spades. Riley threw with his usual control and guile hurling a mighty 104 pitches for his team. Tom controlled the game from behind the dish in style. Offensively Brad spanked an RBI double to left field and Tom registered four quality plate appearances with a single and three free passes. Luke and Ben both posted singles at important times. Special mention to Alec who played injured and displayed a great deal of commitment and courage to help out his FBC mates.
Hits - Brad 1 (dbl), Tom 1, Luke 1, Ben 1
RBIs - Brad 1
Thanks to Wendy for scoring and to Dave Ayres for doing an outstanding job umpiring. Also, a big thank you to Jeff Freeth for once again providing us with such a magnificent field to play on.
We journeyed to the picturesque diamond in Williamstown Rd on a surprisingly cool February morning still sitting atop the ladder. The previous weeks game against Essendon, the first of the new year had been abandoned due to rain and so the team refreshed after school holidays seemed extra eager to play ball. For the boys from last years defeated u14s semi finalists it presented additional incentive to turn the tables on our nemesis.
Asher, Tony and Ben were absent from our lineup as Stevie led us off with a well timed single to right field. Adam followed with a solid triple that earned him 2 RBIs. We were alert to some Port Melbourne errors and we stole home twice to finish our innings with 4 runs. Finnian was unlucky as his hit to centre field was caught spectacularly. In reply Port Melbourne faced Adam on the mound pitching to Shelley behind the dish. Adam was quickly into his rhythm and despite the umpire’s zone seeming not to include the corners of the plate no hits were conceded. Shelley again showed great technique in getting the ball from glove to hand and quickly throwing to Stevie at 2nd to complete a tag on the runner from 1st base. At the end of the first we were ahead 4-0.
Top of the second the Mariners starter was striving for control and despite throwing some nice dipping pitches was conceding hits and walks. Our whole lineup had batted in the first so Stevie was up again and last years u14 batting award recipient again showed his great consistency by singling to right field. A confident Kieran followed with a strong single to left field and Adam with another hit and RBI. Port Melbourne’s reliever came in and the lefty proved immediately more difficult to hit while also providing problems for his catcher with some wild pitches. The Mariners were again kept scoreless as Adam kept hurling, with one strike out, a catch by Adam and a neat play at first from Darcy to Vikram. At the end of 2 we were leading 8 – 0.
The 3rd saw us back to the top of our order and again Stevie and Adam earned hits and as the Mariners lefty struggled for control we stole some more bases and got another 4 runs. Our boys were having a lot of fun as everyone was getting multiple chances at bat. Meanwhile the call for band aids rang as Nick limped back to the dug out, his slide at 2nd resulting in a big graze on his knee. The Mariners in reply were kept scoreless again the highlights being Shelley picking off a runner at 3 in a great play with Angus and also catching a faint foul ball on a 3rd strike.
We headed into the 4th leading 12 – 0 and again our line up was busy getting on deck with Adam, Shelley, Vikram and Peter recording hits and earning RBIs against the 3rd Mariners pitcher and with further stolen bases our innings was closed upon reaching 7 runs and we led 19 – 0. Bottom of the 4th and Adam continued his magnificent run on the mound notching a couple more strike outs. The talented Mariners hitters finally found the sweet spot and drove in 3 runs.
Time was called with us leading 19 – 3. With the season stats showing that Port Melbourne have a very strong batting lineup, Adam’s performance to keep them so quiet should not be underestimated. Round 14 would see us renew our rivalry with Preston in a top of the table battle.
Hits: Stevie 3, Adam 3, Kieran 1, Angus 1, Shelley 1, Vikram 1, Pete 1
RBIs: Adam 3, Shelley 1, Vikram 1, Pete 2
Match report by Sean Farrell
We registered our third consecutive win with a solid victory over Doncaster in very trying conditions due to a constant sleet.
We jumped away to a good lead plating 5 runs in the top of the first and never looked troubled from there. We went on to score 6 in the third and a further two in the fourth.
Riley continued his excellent form on the hill giving up only three hits and a couple of walks. Alec was once again solid behind the dish and Ethan patrolled Right Field with aplomb taking a couple of flies at important times.
Congratulations to Cailen on building on his excellent ABs and On Base efforts of late by registering his first hit for the season.
Essendon next week in what should give us an insight into how far we've come this season.
Hits - Brad 2 (dbl), Riley 1, Warwick 1, Cailen 1
RBIs - Tom 2, Brad 2, Alec 1, Riley H 4, Luke 1
Thanks to Chris for scoring and to Eamon for braving the elements in the 1st base coach's box.
We returned from the Christmas break refreshed and eager to take on our top of the table rivals. Fair to say that both teams were undermanned due to the school holidays and what eventuated was an 8 on 8 contest.
We continued on from where we left off pre Christmas and recorded our 4th win for the season. Riley was excellent on the hill and Alec caught a great game. Well done to all on a great team effort.
Hits - Tom 2 (dbl), Brad 1, Alec 1, Riley 1, Luke 1
RBIs - Tom 2, Brad 2, Alec 2, Warwick 1
Thanks to Chris for scoring and to John King for doing an outstanding job umpiring. Also, a big thank you to Jeff Freeth for providing us with such a magnificent field to play on.
The final game before the Christmas break saw the U/18s register our third win for the season. In a solid all round performance it was clear from the start that the boys were up and about and were keen to play hard as a team towards a common goal. Our bats lit up for 12 hits and our defence was very solid.
It was pleasing to get reward for effort and to see all our hard work, both on the track and each Sunday morning, starting to pay off.
After the Christmas break we have five games to continue our great form and register some more Ws.
Hits - Warwick 3, Riley C 2, Ethan 2, Tom 2, Luke 1 (dbl), Riley H 1 (dbl), Brad 1
RBIs - Riley H 2, Tom 1, Warwick 1, Connor 1, Luke 1
Thanks to Chris for scoring, Eamon for coaching and our spectators for making the journey.
Best wishes for a great Christmas and a safe holiday break.
For round 10 we faced the Wolves resplendent in their traditional blue and gold on a cloudy but warm day at Fitzroy. With Ben back on the mound as our starter it promised to be a tough task for the visitors. Angus and Nick were absent from our dug out.
Top of the first saw Ben pitching to Adam behind the dish and it was a great start for us as the Wolves went 3 up and 3 down.
Our reply got off to an interesting start. Firstly Stevie got to first base courtesy of a walk. The Wolves starter was mixing up lots of balls with some occasional strikes. Adam then swung at his first pitch and popped up an infield fly for the pitcher to take easily who then looked up to see Stevie almost at 2nd. A simple double play was completed and we were 2 out with no one on base. Ben replied mightily however with a double to left field, narrowly missing a home run and with some following stolen bases we were able to notch our first run.
Williamstown fought hard in their 2nd getting a foothold via a walk to 1st. A strong arm from Adam was not enough to prevent the Wolves advancing a runner to 3rd with only 1 out. Ben then got out of a jam by striking out the next 2 leaving the Wolves still to register a run. In our 2nd the Williamstown pitcher slowed down in a bid for more control but as a consequence became easier to hit. Kieron, Vikram, Pete and Stevie all singled mixed up with a good sprinkle of pass balls and stolen bases and at the end of it all we had run home 7 times although with no RBIs.
In the 3rd Ben continued to keep the Wolves struggling not giving up any hits as they again failed to score. With a relief pitcher brought into the fray we replied immediately with Darcy doubling through centre field and then Shelley singling to first and in the process recording our first RBI of the game. This opened the floodgates as Pete, Tony, Finnian, Stevie and Ben all singled and earned RBIs. It was a good innings to watch as we were swinging confidently and getting the ball into play. At the end of 3 innings we were up 15 – 0.
The 4th innings saw some sharp fielding from Darcy to Kieron doing a solid job at first to complete an out that a major league team would’ve been proud of. With Ben striking out another 2 the Wolves were again unable to score. We kept hitting in our 4th but this time the visitors fielded very well with our 3 outs all coming at 1st.
Stevie came on as our closer for the 5th and showed great technique with the leather to stop a drive and then throw to first to easily beat the runner. A spilt catch when Darcy and Kieron collided near first base led indirectly to the Wolves finally scoring their first run before Stevie closed out the inning.
With only a few minutes left it was decided to call time with the final score 15 – 1. A fun game to watch with us playing a good defensive game and backed up with some consistent hitting. The Wolves proved a gracious team and some of their inexperienced players showed that they should improve before season’s end.
At the end of Round 10 we were clear on top of the ladder from Preston, whose loss to us was their only one of the year so far.
Match report by Sean Farrel
A much better defensive start to the game was our goal this week, and this is what we delivered. We went into the bottom of the 2nd 0/0 and felt we were right in the game. While we were tight in the field throughout, credit must be given to our opponents for manufacturing a single run in five of the next six innings.
Unfortunately we left our bats at home this week, managing only 4 hits across seven innings against some very good pitching.
It's important that we put the ball into play to pressure our opponents, as 13 strike outs in a total of 21 outs for the game won't get us far.
Special mention to Warwick for smashing a big double and then taking this form into the afternoon game where he stuck one into Northcote High School for his first senior HR for FBC.
The sense of team and camaraderie left a bit to be desired this week and our game will improve markedly when our players start working as one and treating the 9am game like the High School Formal rather than the Primary School Disco!
Hits - Warwick 1 (dbl), Riley H 1, Connor 1, Ben 1,
RBIs - 0
Thanks to Chris for scoring and our spectators who braved the heat.
Next week we play Waverley away.
Round 8 saw us facing Sunshine at home in a rematch of our victory in the opening game of the season and seeking to redeem ourselves after being held to a draw by Preston in the game before.
With Ben absent we opened with Stevie on the mound and he started in the best possible fashion keeping Sunshine scoreless throwing a healthy number of strikes. Bottom of the first and Stevie batted in an RBI to open our scoring. The Sunshine starting pitcher was finding it hard to throw strikes and we soon had bases loaded. The pressure was telling as the pitcher tried to throw to 2nd base forgetting that he had already lifted his leg in the action of beginning his pitch, the umpire allowed all the batters to advance one base. Peter and Finnian added RBIs to the numerous stolen bases and eventually our innings was closed as we had reached the limit of 7.
The 2nd innings had Sunshine getting on the board with a couple of singles and some walks, while Asher took a safe catch and Adam completed a great double play with a neat catch and then an out at second. In reply Angus score an RBI with a great double and Shelley added another RBI. At the end of the 2nd we were up 10 to 1.
The 3rd saw the game turn around somewhat and the pessimistic supporters were beginning to shuffle uneasily on their feet as Sunshine were getting some hits and capitalising on some of errors. Adam relieved Stevie and closed out the inning but not before Sunshine hat brought the score up to 10 – 6. In reply Sunshine’s relief pitcher kept us quiet and scoreless. Was a comeback on the card like the week before against Preston?
In the 4th Adam threw some wonderful pitches and earned 3 strike outs whilst not conceding any runs. With time running out Sunshine now needed to finish our innings quickly, get back in and score at least 5 runs with enough time to close us out again. However, bottom of the 4th and Asher opened with a double, an RBI by Adam followed by another from Angus, a pass ball and suddenly we were leading 14-6 and the result decided.
The game degenerated from there as Sunshine brought in a 3rd pitcher who went through the obligatory warm up pitches most of which seemed to miss the catcher before time was called.
Final score 14-6.
Match report by Sean Farrell
Once again we let ourselves down with an unacceptable start to the game where we allowed our opponents 6 runs in the top of the first through a combination of walks, hits, physical errors and mental errors. To do this against quality opposition virtually wipes out any chance of victory, and this was indeed the case on Sunday.
Our pre-game was lacklustre, and, surprise surprise, so was our first 20 minutes.
To our credit, we showed true FBC spirit and fought out the game well, scoring two runs, while only giving up a single run in the remaining six innings.
Warwick was excellent on the hill for six innings, Alec caught a very clever game, Bradley was very solid at short stop and Riley H smashed it for 3/3 with two RBIs. It was great to see Riley C and Cailen receive reward for effort in the hitter's box.
If we can play the full 120 minutes, I've no doubt we can be an excellent team.
Over to you boys!!!
Hits - Riley H 3 (1dbl), Bradley 1, Alec 1, Riley C 1
RBIs - Riley H 2
Thank you to Wendy for scoring, Gavin for umpiring, Eamon for coaching and Geoffrey for having the field looking a picture.
Next week we play Springvale away.
With round 6 being washed out we returned to our home diamond for a rematch with Preston who we defeated comfortably in round 2. We were clear on top of the ladder with no defeats and confident of notching another win.
As the away team the Pirates opened up in innings one with a couple of singles and some walks to score 1 run. Ben was flinging for us to Shelley catching and with Merri Park drying out, the outer diamond closest to the creek was proving to be a nightmare for catchers as the ball was bouncing inconsistently.
Bottom of the first and we replied with 3 earned runs with Angus driving over 1st base and into the corner gaining 2 RBIs. The consistent Vikram adding another RBI to leave us leading 3-1
In the second Ben kept Preston scoreless with 3 strike outs. Shelley was a rock behind the dish as usual despite being struck in the helmet with a foul ball. Preston relieved their lefty for our reply but couldn’t stop things getting messy with plenty of stolen bases, pass balls and stolen runs at home. At the completion of the 2nd we were up 6-1 with a routine win seemingly on the cards.
Top of the 3rd and Preston got on the board when a regulation ground ball to left field turned into a double when we airmailed over first. Some walks and stolen bases followed. Adam relieved Ben who closed out the innings but not before the Pirates had got the score to 6-5 and really for the first time in the season we were under pressure. Our innings saw us kept under control by some smart pitching and solid defence the only lapse brought about by a pass ball which took us back to a slender 7-5 lead.
We weren’t making too many inroads and the visiting Preston supporters were coming to life as they sensed a comeback was on the cards. In the 4th Adam struck out another 3, Shelley was hit by another fly ball and we threw over the head of first base again leading to Preston adding 2 runs to their total to level the scores at 7 all. From our dominant game position we somehow found ourselves under pressure to save the game. One run was all we needed to win the game but a buoyant Preston again defended very well to keep us quiet and scoreless. The scores still tied at 7 all.
At this point there was about 7 mins to go and Preston were asked if they wanted to continue and strive for the win or call time and settle for the draw. They decided to gamble on the win. The pressure was fully on us. If we gave up 1 run would we be able to reply? Adam stepped up and despite the pressure of the moment quickly had the Pirates 3 up and 3 down, incredibly with 3 minutes left to go which meant that we were now in a strong position to take the game, needing only 1 run. Kieron went down swinging and then Darcy got a walk to first base. Finnian came off the bench for his first outing of the game and on a full count pitch drove straight up past the pitcher for a single, although unfortunately leaving Darcy exposed to an easy out at 2nd base. With the game still tied and 2 out Finnian then stole 2nd in a tight call with dust flying and the Preston catcher demonstrating a strong arm. With the winning run at 2 Finnian tried to steal 3rd but mistimed his run and was well short when the throw came in from the catcher.
A great effort from Preston to keep us scoreless in our last 2 innings. The general feeling though was that we were the better team but had thrown the game away with some basic errors. Preston were very happy to hold us to a draw whereas for us, it felt like a loss. A loss that we had to have?
Never mind, it was Shelley’s birthday and she so kindly catered for her own party with some excellent iced-donuts for the team to ingest, as they digested the days topsy turvey events. Happy Birthday Shelley!
Match report by Sean Farrell
A tight high standard game at FBC saw the U/18s register our second win of the season. Our opponents took it to us for the full two hours, but to our credit we were able to weather it and win.
Our goal this week was to play the full 120 minutes, and except for a small blip in the 5th, we delivered in spades.
Warwick and Riley threw well, Alec and Tom caught well, Riley C and Brad fielded well, Luke, Tom, Brad, Riley H, Connor and Alec hit well and Cailen got the job done in the 9 slot.
Hits - Tom 2, Bradley 2, Alec 1, Riley 1 (dbl), Connor 1, Luke 1
RBIs - Riley 2, Alec 1, Brad 1, Tom 1
Thank you to Wendy for scoring, Marc for umpiring, Eamon for coaching and Geoffrey for having the field looking a picture.
Next week we play Cheltenham away.
Congratulations to Riley H, Tom, Brad & Warwick on their selection in the U/18 State teams. We wish them well over the next couple of months and in the National Championships in January. We're sure they'll do their families and the mighty FBC proud.
Another cool breezy day at Essendon greeted our undefeated top of the ladder U16 Lions. We had a full squad of eager players with Finnian, Vikram and Peter starting on the bench.
We welcomed back Stevie who had recovered from his finger injury picked up at Ballarat and he immediately got us on the board with a solid 2 base fly ball into left field. Adam was next out of the dug out and got Stevie home with a ground ball to earn us our first run. Ben, Angus and Kieron each got the ball into play and combined with some aggressive base running and fielding errors from Essendon meant that by the time Nick was 3 rd out we had 4 runs to our name.
Bottom of the first saw Ben as our starter hurling to Adam behind the dish. Some excellent combinations of pitches from Ben saw the first 2 sluggers for Essendon struck out. Ben was throwing some great fast balls that were finding the corners of the plate leaving the batters unsure whether or not to swing. Only 1 hit was given up with the 3rd out made at first leaving us ahead 4-0 going into the second dig.
Scores remained the same in the second innings as the Essendon starting pitcher did well to get out of some jams unscathed. Ben replied by striking out the first 3 Bombers. Adam was doing a great job as our catcher letting nothing get past him and the fielders were giving constant encouragement.
After a sedate 2nd innings the direction of the game was settled in the 3rd. Essendon brought in their reliever who was not quite on his game Ben, Asher and Shelley earnt RBIs, while Tony stole home. The highlight was a rare infield home run by Angus brought about by some aggressive running from Darcy inducing some fielding errors. The scorers were having a hard time keeping track of all the action.
In reply Essendon could not get to first base with Ben again striking out all 3 batters. At the end of the 3rd we led 10-0.
For the 4th Essendon brought in their 3rd pitcher and with the game clearly in our keeping our sluggers were instructed by coach Carl to swing at anything close. Steve, Asher, Angus, Tony and Nick all batted in some runs and we were ahead 15-0.
Ben was relieved finally by Stevie after a magnificent performance that gave up only 1 hit. Essendon continued to struggle to get any footholds with Stevie throwing some strikes but with complacency setting in we airmailed over 1st to assist them to get on the board.
We had time to have a few more swings in the 5th and the highlight being a 3 base hit from the improving Tony before time and game was called with us leading 19 – 1.
Match report by Sean Farrell
A game of U/18 baseball lasts 120 minutes. Unfortunately we were only able to put together 100 minutes of solid baseball, while the other 20 was pretty ordinary.
We started strongly with 3 hits against quality pitching in the top of the first, but unfortunately left 3 runners on base. Then came the horrible 20 minutes were we gave up 7 runs through lack of concentration and commitment. At this level of high quality baseball good oppositions will take advantage of this, and Essendon certainly did.
To our credit, we knuckled down and played the last 90 minutes with pride and commitment. It was pleasing that we matched our opponents with 9 hits after registering only 3 against them a few weeks ago.
Luke had his first outing for the year and threw some solid innings after a shaky start. Riley H was strong in relief and Tom patrolled the outfield well.
Hits - Tom 2 (triple), Riley H 2, Bradley 2, Connor 1, Ethan 1, Luke 1
RBIs - Bradley 1
Thank you to Chris for scoring.
Next week we will play 120 minutes of good baseball against Preston at FBC.
On a cool breezy Sunday we welcomed the lads from Geelong to Merri Park to the very unwelcome scene of our netting lying burnt on the ground due to some vandalism the night before. What a shame!
Geelong were shown no immediate reward for their long early morning journey down the Princes Hwy initially as Adam pitched a shut out in the first inning backed up well from some sharp defensive fielding.
Bottom of the first and Darcy got us on the board quickly with a solid strike past second base and into open space beyond, that got Adam home. Ben and Angus followed with safe hits and Angus earning 2 RBIs . By the close of the first we were up 4 to nil and so forcing the Baycats to play catch-up baseball for the remainder of the game.
Bottom of the 3rd and scores were still 4-0 with Adam giving up very few hits and the Geelong starter doing well to get out of some jams, until Shelley launched a strong fly ball deep into left field allowing Ben to scamper home and earn Shelley a well deserved RBI.
Top of the 4th and Geelong finally got on the board with some walks and a low pitch that eluded Shelley’s reliable mitt. Adam was keeping the runners under constant pressure however and was able to team up with Ben to pick off two at second base. Geelong brought in their reliever while we replied with Tony’s 2 base hit into right field that got Vikram home and made the score 6-1.
Ben relieved Adam who had not conceded any earned runs and we continued to limit any Geelong attempts to close the gap. There was the constant feeling though that we weren’t getting the rewards for our dominance until the 5th inning when Ben, Angus and the always aggressive swinging Kieron batted in 5 runs. Our noisy dug out was a constant encouragement to our batters and we seemed to be enjoying ourselves as we finally were putting the game away. Meanwhile Stevie was earning some best team man points by coming along to barrack despite nursing his dislocated finger.
Ben carried on from Adam to prevent Geelong from causing any damage and then in the bottom of the 6th the visitors brought on their 3rd pitcher to gain some experience and we picked up some extra runs to finish 14-2.
Our 4th win of the year with the team consistently executing some fine baseball skills to prevent Geelong ever getting into the game.
Match report by Sean Farrell
Our first win for the season came through an all round team performance at Merri Park on Sunday. Warwick and Riley threw well, Ethan and Alec caught well and the fielders got the job done.
Riley's bat was smoking with three doubles and 3 RBIs. One of his doubles had to be seen to be believed when a long ball hit the top rail of the school fence and bounced back into play. Bradley and Connor continued their good form with two hits each with Bradley registering an in the parker. Warwick had an excellent all round game, with a double and an impressive 4 RBIs.
Once again we started slowly giving up 3 runs in the first innings. We'll need to improve on this quickly in order to register more wins in coming weeks.
Keep up the hard work on the track boys and the rewards will come.
Hits - Riley H 3 (3 dbl), Bradley 2 (HR), Connor 2, Warwick 1 (dbl), Alec 1, Tom 1
RBIs - Warwick 4, Riley H 3, Bradley 2
Thank you to Wendy for scoring and Alex for umpiring.
Check the website for our Round 4 opponents and venue. We will continue to work on our goals of playing the game in the right spirit by respecting our opponents, the umpires and ourselves.
In a much better performance today the 18s went down to Blackburn 6/7 in a game that went down to the wire. After a shaky start, Warwick threw a solid 89 pitches giving up only 3 earned runs. Connor relieved and worked hard for his outs. Unfortunately, we lost the game in the field through 4 fielding errors and a few mental ones. It was pleasing that we put together many good at bats to put pressure on our opponents.
We showed today that we are very competitive in this league and a win is not far away.
Keep up the hard work on the track boys and the rewards will come.
Hits - Bradley 2, Warwick 1 (dbl), Connor 1, Alec 1
RBIs - Riley C, Connor, Ethan, Warwick
Thank you to Wendy for scoring.
Check the website for our Round 3 opponents and venue. We will continue to work on our goals of playing the game in the right spirit by respecting our opponents, the umpires and ourselves.
Back in State League after some time in Metro and we were certainly shown the standard we will be required to achieve in order to be competitive. It was tight for two with Riley controlling things on the hill, but due to some good hitting, and hesitant fielding, Essendon posted three in the third, one in the fourth and five in the sixth to put the game away.
We only managed three hits across six innings, against some very good pitching. This needs to improve, and will through hard work at training.
Positive signs today were Connor and Riley's hitting, Alec's catching and Brads's solid performance at Short Stop. The boys also showed a lot of character to stay positive throughout and post two runs of our own late in the game.
Hits - Connor 2, Riley 1
RBIs - Riley 1, Brad 1
Thank you to Wendy for scoring, Heath for umpiring and Jeff for getting the field ready for us.
Check the website for our Round 2 opponents and venue. We will continue to work on our goals of playing the game in the right spirit by respecting our opponents, the umpires and ourselves.