Lions roar to thrilling title win

Kingsley Collins (9 September 2017)

Guild is the Geelong Baseball Association A Grade premier – for the sixth time in seven seasons, and seven of the past nine – after downing a gutsy Bellarine 6-5 in the bottom of a twelfth of an enthralling marathon at Geelong Baseball Centre this afternoon.

In a terrific day of finals baseball, there was a certain symmetry about the senior results – with Guild nailing both the A and A Reserve pennants, while Colac had dual success in B Grade and B Reserve and Lara posted massive wins in C Grade and C Reserve. Scroll down for our coverage of a massive day at Geelong Baseball Centre.

Well done to all participating clubs. Special contributions to the winners. May they party hard and long!

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GUILD 6 defeated BELLARINE 5

While the disappointment will be palpable down Wallington way – after the Bears constructed a magnificent season and held a lead at three different stages of this game – this was truly one for the ages, as both clubs were fully stretched and showed great heart under enormous pressure.

As anticipated, starters Brad Egan (Guild) and Josh Crotty (Bellarine) were dominant early on, although the Bears had their opportunities while the Lions could muster just one hit into the bottom of four, when it threatened to unravel for Bellarine.

After a walk, a HPB and a wild pitch, a James Renouf bleeder scored a first run for Guild – although the damage could have been far greater were it not for a timely double play with bags loaded.

After plating two unearned to gain the lead in the top of six, the Bears were again under pressure when Guild landed two runners on base and teenager reliever Lachlan Hockey struggled momentarily – conceding the equaliser on a sacrifice fly and loading the bases on a walk that drew Simon Murry into the fray to mop up.

While the Bears again edged ahead in the top of seven, Guild responded with two in the bottom of the eighth, on a run-scoring walk to Jordan Lekkas and a two-out RBI single by Jarryd Wood.

However, as they had done all game, the Bears hit back to draw level in the top of nine – subsequently forcing the game into extra innings.

After scoreless tenth and eleventh frames, Bellarine converted a lead-off Murry single to again edge ahead in the twelfth and give themselves a real chance to break their premiership drought. However, the Lions clearly had other ideas, with Lekkas and Jarryd Wood hitting safely before some effective small ball generated a first run, followed by a Ryan Stewart sacrifice for the go-ahead.

“It was just a fantastic game of baseball,” said Guild Manager Jason Peoples. “We have had some great battles with Bellarine this season and this one was really a toss of a coin.”

“Both sides deserved to win, although obviously only one can,” he said. “Bellarine just kept coming at us and there were never any breaks for either side. It was an incredible game.”

“We played the short game pretty well when we had to today, but both sides had their chances and fortunately for us we were ahead when it mattered.”

Paying credit to pitchers on both sides for their outstanding work, Peoples made special mention of 39 year-old Brad Egan, who has started in seven A Grade winning Grand Finals in Geelong Baseball Association – six with Guild and one with East Belmont Saints.

“Brad has been just amazing for us,” Peoples said, “and he has to be regarded as one of the best ever in this league. We are just rapt that he is a part of the Guild family – for that is what we pride ourselves on being. Everyone gets along so well, whether they have been here for a year or twenty years – like a few of us have.”

“We just stick together – like family – and that is what makes days like this so important to us.”

The tightness of the contest to which Jason Peoples alluded is reflected in statistics coming out of the game, which saw each club amass twelve hits – among the more prominent being Guild players Jarryd Wood (Grand Final MVP, with three hits and an RBI), Troy Snarey (two hits) and Chris Durston (two hits), while Wayne Visser, Lewis Weldon, Matt Sage and Jack Auld all hit safely twice for the Bears.

Whiffing six over six innings for no earned runs, Egan had outstanding back-up in Andy Radevski – whose six innings were delivered in a pressure-cooker situation – while Bellarine gave itself a real chance through the heroics of Josh Crotty and Simon Murry, who came off a complete-game outing in the Preliminary Final to show typical strength and character to keep his club in the contest.

BELLARINE     0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 1   (5)  4 errors
GUILD     0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 2   (6)  2 errors
Hits.  
Bellarine: W.Visser 2, L.Weldon 2, M.Sage 2, J.Auld 2, C.Brown, S.Murry, L.Stott, L.Medew
Guild: Jarryd Wood 3, T.Snarey 2, C.Durston 2, T.Kilfoyle, M.Miller, J.Renouf, J.Lekkas, L.Harty
RBIs.  
Bellarine: W.Visser, L.Stott, M.Sage, J.Auld
Guild: Jarryd Wood, R.Stewart, J.Renouf, James Wood, L.Harty
Pitching.  
Bellarine: J.Crotty 5 inn, 5 H, 0 K, 3 BB, 2 HPB, 2 ER
  L.Hockey 0.1 inn, 0 H, 0 K, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
  S.Murry 6 inn, 7 H, 3 Ks, 4 BB, 1 HPB, 4 ER
Guild: B.Egan 6 inn, 7 H, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
  A.Radevski 6 inn, 5 H, 4 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 3 ER

 

AND IN OTHER GAMES.......

Blasting ten in the first off accomplished Lara hurler Greg Anderson, Guild held off a determined Lara Wildcats – who chipped away at the massive early lead – and ran out a 15-5 winner in the A RESERVE Grand Final. Making a late surge in its season, Bacchus Marsh performed wonderfully well to qualify for the B GRADE Grand Final, but was brought back to earth rather abruptly by Colac, which rode a Kurt Wilson no-hitter and smacked the baseball hard and often en route to a 15-0 mercy-rule result. While Guild took on the B RESERVE deciding game with real gusto, in the end it was no match for Colac – which took the title 12-3. A pace-setter all season across the grades, Lara managed to take two senior titles home – by crushing Guild 26-3 in C GRADE and dealing a similarly outlandish outcome in C RESERVE, where it toppled a disappointing Deakin Blues 26-4.

Congratulations, again, to all winners. Very well done to all clubs and all finalists for continuing to fly the flag for Geelong Baseball Association winter clubs. Best wishes to all players, administrators, families and supporters involved in Summer League – now or into the future.

Scroll down for a selection of images from Grand Final Day 2017.

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