Round Four 2014

ROUND FOUR:   Saturday 17 May
*** Scroll down for images from Lara this afternoon   ***

It was winter baseball at its balmy best across the region today, with conditions conducive to some quality individual performances and some further reinforcement of the closeness of the A Grade competition.

While triple reigning premier and undefeated league leader Guild dealt a heavy defeat to winless Corio, the ladder tightened up somewhat with the Bellarine loss to Deakin and a rare Lara loss at home to the Brewers, who have struggled with that particular road trip in recent times.

DEAKIN 10 defeated BELLARINE 5

Having scored just five runs in four games leading into this contest, the Blues posted double figures and dealt what was surely an upset second loss to the Bears, who shape as a legitimate prospect of finals action this season.

Although the final margin was clear-cut, the game was certainly not one-way traffic.

The break was brought about largely by some errant Bellarine defence – especially in a bizarre sixth innings that saw Deakin put up a six-spot after the Bears had loaded the bases, with none out, on a fielding blunder and two throwing errors. That was enough to allow the Blues to scoot away, with Chris Webb capping the big innings with a two-run homer that followed up a round-tripper by Kelii Zablan earlier in the game.

With Zablan (five innings) and Webb scattering a miserly six hits between them, the Blues took full toll of the Bellarine defensive lapses and produced some punishing offence headed by Cameron Gibbons (three hits), Wade Balzer (two), Webb and Zablan – who between them knocked in seven of the ten Deakin runs, of which only three were earned.

At four and two, Bellarine remains among the leaders, while Deakin will have derived great confidence from this contest as they prepare for a vital home game against Bacchus Marsh next Saturday.

DEAKIN 0 0 2 0 1 6 1  (10)  2 errors
BELLARINE 0 0 2 1 0 0 2   (5)   6 errors
Deakin: C.Gibbons 3, W.Balzer 2, C.Webb 2 (inc home run), K.Zablan (home run), A.Ham, G.Morris
Bellarine: B.McKentish, C.Bramwell, L.Hockey, D.Harvey, J.Crotty, C.Dunn
Deakin: W.Balzer 2, C.Webb 2, K.Zablan 2, C.Gibbons
Bellarine: B.McKentish, W.Visser, C.Bramwell, L.Hockey
Deakin: K.Zablan 5 inn, 4 H, 8 Ks, 1 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
  C.Webb 2 inn, 2 H, 1 K, 3 BB, 2 ER
Bellarine: J.Crotty 5 inn, 7 H, 6 Ks, 3 BB, 2 ER
  J.Lowe 2 inn, 3 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
BALLARAT 6 defeated LARA 3

Fierce rivals for a long time now, these clubs again turned it on for supporters with two of the best in Cameron Forbes (Lara) and Rory Meddick (Ballarat) heading to the hill to start the contest.

Snatching an early break – with a couple in the first – the Brew Crew shook off a second-innings ejection of second-sacker and slated reliever Ross Hipke to drive in two more in the third for a sizeable lead against an opponent that drew back to within a run and had a dead-set chance of forging to the lead but was thwarted by some wonderful Ballarat defence in the later innings.

Headed by Manager Leigh Ashmore (with two), the Brewers could manage just four hits but took

full advantage of scoring opportunities created in large part by some control issues that saw Forbes tattoo a couple of hitters and issue four passes before handing the ball to Joel Ricketts to close out the last.

Scattering six hits over five innings for the Brewers, Rory Meddick was on song against a powerful offence in whiffing nine before offering the save to Cameron Smith with a couple of innings of quality work.

It was a gutsy, albeit scrappy win by the Brewers, who are clear in second placing while Lara has dropped to third and may enjoy the chance to regroup with an A Grade bye next week.

BALLARAT 2 0 2 0 0 2 0  (6)  1 error
LARA 0 1 0 1 1 0 0  (3)  2 errors
Ballarat: L.Ashmore 2, C.Smith, A.Irons
Lara: C.Forbes 2, T.Arandt, B.Hammer, R.Wislon, C.Mason, J.Ricketts, L.Arandt
Ballarat: L.Ashmore, D.Hamilton, G.Ashmore, A.Irons
Lara: R.Wilson, T.Arandt
Ballarat: R.Meddick 5 inn, 6 H, 9 Ks, 1 BB, 1 ER
  C.Smith 2 inn, 2 H, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 0 ER
Lara: C.Forbes 6 inn, 4 H, 4 Ks, 4 BB, 2 HPB, 3 ER
  J.Ricketts 1 inn, 0 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 ER

The Marsh continues to build its season, with its all-the-way win over Werribee propelling the club into fourth placing after a deflating last-gasp loss to Saints a week ago.

Chasing Werribee starter Daniel Hartigan from the hill in the third, Bacchus forged to a 9-1 lead and was never really threatened despite some decent hitting by Hartigan, John Curnow and Andrew Christou – who each posted two knocks against Tigers’ starter Roland Shaw, credited with the win before Tayler Rowe slammed the gate with two scoreless innings.

Clearing the yard with a monster blast, Shannon Hornstra was a livewire for Bacchus, with terrific offensive support in the form of Earl Byrne, Daniel Wilkie, Lewis Weldon, Chris Porter and Jarrod Warwick – who collected two hits apiece in a dominant display that will give the Tigers great heart heading to all-important away clash with Deakin next Saturday.

At one and four – but just two wins from fourth placing – the Giants will be looking to atone with a strong showing against East Belmont next week.

WERRIBEE 0 0 1 2 0 0 0   (3)   2 errors
BACCHUS 2 2 5 0 2 0 x  (11)  3 errors
Werribee: D.Hartigan 2, J.Curnow 2, A.Christou 2, S.Riches, E.McPherson, K.Hartigan, Connor Wilson
Bacchus: E.Byrne 2, D.Wilkie 2, L.Weldon 2, C.Porter 2, J.Warwick 2, S.Hornstra 2 (home run), J.Norquay, T.Rowe, A.Wallis-Taylor
Werribee: D.Hartigan 2.1 inn, 10 H, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 5 ER
  Connor Wilson 2.1 inn, 4 H, 0 K, 5 BB, 3 ER
  D.Gregory 1.1 inn, 1 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 0 ER
Bacchus: R.Shaw 5 inn, 9 H, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 2 ER
  T.Rowe 2 inn, 1 H, 4 Ks, 0 BB, 0 ER
GUILD 17 defeated CORIO 0

Guild continues to motor along at the top of the table, this time with a thumping win over cellar-dweller Corio, which could manage just a solitary hit – by Scott Brackley – as Lee Harty went the distance for the Lions.

While the final scoreline blew out to massive proportions, it was a decent start for the Tigers, who held their opponent to something manageable after three innings.

Again, though, it was defensive blunders – eight of them in fact - that cost the Corio boys to the tune of eleven unearned runs, many of them through a less than memorable last few innings.

With three hits and three of his side’s ribbies, Chris Durston was the standout in a Guild offence that featured strong contributions by Jack Smyth (three hits and an RBI), James Wood (two and two), Troy Snarey (one and two) and pitching ace Brad Egan – who enjoyed some rare time swinging the stick for a couple of hits.

Guild will have an interesting home match-up against Bellarine next Saturday, while it gets no easier for the Tigers – who face a road trip to take on second-placed Brewers.

GUILD 2 2 0 3 4 3 3  (17)  1 error
CORIO 0 0 0 0 0 0 0   (0)   8 errors
Guild: C.Durston 3, J.Smyth 3, J.Lekkas 2, J.Wood 2, B.Egan 2, T.Snarey, L.Harty
Corio: S.Brackley
Guild: C.Durston 3, J.Durston 2, T.Snarey 2, J.Wood 2, L.Harty, B.Egan, J.Smyth
Corio: nil
Guild: L.Harty 7 inn, 1 H, 5 Ks, 4 BB, 1 HPB, 0 ER
Corio: J.Hughes 4 inn, 5 H, 3 Ks, 3 BB, 1 ER
  A.Fielden 1 inn, 2 H, 0 K, 1 HPB, 1 ER
  S.Brackley 2 inn, 7 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 4 ER