|ROUND SIX: Saturday 31 May|
|*** Scroll down for images from Werribee this afternoon ***|
Played out in very pleasant weather conditions across the league, Round Six results added further spice to what is already an intriguing season – especially at A Grade level.
While Werribee (eighth) and Corio (ninth) would prefer to be in a far stronger position going to the Queen’s Birthday break, both still have ample opportunity to make an impact on ladder standings, which currently show very little separating another six clubs.
Undefeated after seven, Guild holds top placing and is on track for a shot at its fourth consecutive pennant – a record that would threaten to replicate a club golden era of over thirty years ago.
Ballarat retains second, just one win ahead of the ever-dangerous Bellarine, with Lara edging into fourth on head-to-head over Bacchus Marsh. Locked at three wins and four losses, Saints and Deakin have not yet played each other, with the opportunity finally arriving in the week after the Senior Carnival.
For a sense idea of the even nature of the A Grade competition, consider this.
Ballarat thrashed Deakin in the Opening Round. The Blues later went on to smack Bellarine, who in turn handed out a shellacking to the Brewers in Round Six. Who would have thunk it?
There are no guarantees of anything in this league at present. We should have it no other way.
|BELLARINE 11 defeated BALLARAT 3|
Always a danger at home (and surely not about to hibernate), the Bears turned it on in spades for their vital clash against second-placed Ballarat Brewers – who were admittedly without key players but still appeared to have the wherewithal to make a fist of the contest.
Not so, however, as Bears starter Simon Murry tossed five innings of scoreless work and enjoyed the luxury of departing the hill with his club leading ten zip – eight of those coming in an early assault on Cameron Smith, cast in the role of starter with Meddick and Hipke not available.
Versatile Jon Lowe initiated the carnage with a three-run bomb in the first and the Bears were away – swatting another five in the second and reaching double figures when Chris Barker left the yard with his solo shot in the fourth.
Playing his first game for the winter season, evergreen Hamish Burrows opened scoring for the Brew Crew with a two-run homer in the fifth, although his side’s tally of eight hits to Bellarine’s sixteen told the tale of a surprising mismatch.
Although he conceded three earned runs in middle relief, Lowe drove in an impressive five of his club’s runs, with great support being provided by Brad McKentish (three hits), Murry, Barker, Lyndon Hockey, Josh Crotty and Zac Burhmann.
|BALLARAT||0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 (3) 1 error|
|BELLARINE||3 5 1 1 0 0 1 x (11) 0 errors|
|Ballarat:||C.Smith 2, A.Irons 2, H.Burrows (inc home run), H.Pfeiffer, R.Evans, E.Etheridge|
|Bellarine:||B.McKentish 3, S.Murry 2, J.Lowe 2 (inc home run), C.Barker 2 (inc home run), L.Hockey 2, J.Crotty 2, Z.Buhrmann 2, W.Visser|
|Ballarat:||H.Burrows 2, A.Irons|
|Bellarine:||J.Lowe 5, S.Murry 2, C.Barker 2, L.Hockey, W.Visser|
|Ballarat:||C.Smith 2 inn, 10 H, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 8 ER|
|A.Irons 3 inn, 3 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 1 ER|
|L.Ashmore 2 inn, 3 H, 0 Ks, 2 BB, 1 ER|
|Bellarine:||S.Murry 5 inn, 4 H, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 0 ER|
|J.Lowe 2 inn, 3 H, 2 Ks, 4 BB, 1 HPB, 3 ER|
|J.Crotty 1 inn, 1 H 1 K, 2 BB, 0 ER|
|DEAKIN 15 defeated WERRIBEE 2|
Coming off a disappointing loss to Bacchus Marsh last week, Deakin responded in the best possible manner with a thumping all-the-way result over a Werribee outfit that struggled to land runners on base in the early innings.
In contrast with some control issues against the Marsh, Chris Webb was on song for the Blues and made a serious contribution (four hits) with the stick as his side plated a couple in the first, two more in the third – compliments of a very long Kelii Zablan single – and blasted eleven in the last couple to put the game beyond doubt.
Although assisted by some Werribee errors, the Deakin offence was both selective and damaging, guided by superstar Zablan, who was pivotal in magnificent defensive work up the middle and who lasered a telling three-run bomb in the sixth to make it five ribbies for the day.
With two hits and three RBIs apiece, Glenn Morris and Colin Millard both had solid games as their side amassed thirteen hits to four.
While Webb collected a well-earned win for the Blues before Zablan mopped up, Werribee went to three of its staff in an effort to contain a Deakin lineup that is eminently capable of troubling most sides on its day.
|DEAKIN||2 0 2 0 4 7 0 (15) 1 error|
|WERRIBEE||0 0 0 1 0 1 0 (2) 4 errors|
|Deakin:||C.Webb 4, K.Zablan 2 (inc home run), C.Millard 2, G.Morris 2, W.Balzer, C.Gibbons, A.Ham|
|Werribee:||E.McPherson, K.Hartigan, M.Collins, C.Baker|
|Deakin:||K.Zablan 5, C.Millard 3, G.Morris 3, R.Hickey|
|Deakin:||C.Webb 5 inn, 3 H, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER|
|K.Zablan 2 inn, 1 H, 4 Ks, 1 BB, 1 ER|
|Werribee:||D.Hartigan 4 inn, 5 H, 0 Ks, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER|
|J.Hartigan 1.1 inn, 6 H, 0 K, 3 BB, 8 ER|
|Connor Wilson 1.2 inn, 2 H, 0 K, 0 BB, 1 ER|
|LARA 8 defeated SAINTS 1|
Plating a run in the first but unable to build on that, Saints were ultra-competitive against the Wildcats, who only really took charge later in the game, when a three-run Joel Ricketts homer sparked a flurry of heavy scoring.
Credited with five of his side’s ribbies, Ricketts had a day to remember, capped off by two innings of scoreless work in relief of Cameron Forbes – who had been quite dominant to earn the win.
With two of his side’s five hits, Gerard Carter did his best to provide offensive support to Josh Lee, who whiffed eight - counterbalanced by issuing five passes and running into trouble later in the game.
Although both clubs made errors, this was a quality game of baseball between opponents who are pretty evenly matched, with the Wildcats edging back into fourth placing by virtue of the Bacchus Marsh loss.
|SAINTS||1 0 0 0 0 0 0 (1) 3 errors|
|LARA||0 2 1 0 3 2 0 (8) 2 errors|
|Saints:||G.Carter 2, L.Sherwell, J.Lee, E.Rickard|
|Lara:||J.Ricketts 2 (inc home run), B.Hammer, C.Forbes, R.Wilson, S.Baumann, S.Forbes|
|Lara:||J.Ricketts 5, B.Hammer, C.Forbes, C.Mason|
|Saints:||J.Lee 6 inn, 6 H, 8 Ks, 5 BB, 7 ER|
|S.Talbot 0.2 inn, 1 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 ER|
|Lara:||C.Forbes 5 inn, 3 H, 5 Ks, 4 BB, 0 ER|
|J.Ricketts 2 inn, 2 H, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 0 ER|
|GUILD 5 defeated BACCHUS MARSH 4|
This shaped as the match of the round and it met up to all expectations, even though it took until the top of the ninth for the Tigers to issue a challenge.
While Bacchus starter Roland Shaw did a grand job to scatter four hits in a five-innings stint, the Lions cashed in on limited opportunities – and a couple of errors – to put up a three-spot in the fifth and another in the fifth before Tayler Rowe was summoned to the hill.
The story of the first eight innings, though, was the dominance of Guild workhorse Brad Egan, who whiffed ten and loomed as shutout material until the Tigers mounted a last-gasp assault with four in the top of the last – enough to draw Lee Harty into the fray to close out a terrific game that again highlighted the improvement at Masons Lane this season.
On a fairly lean night for hitters, James Wood (two hits), Chris Durston and Ryan Stewart were productive for Guild, while Jarrod Warwick continued to impress with a couple of knocks for the Marsh.
Edged back into fourth by Lara Wildcats, the Tigers will fancy their chances in what should be a ripper game at Ballarat in a fortnight, while Guild continues as the pacesetter at the top of the A Grade table.
|BACCHUS||0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 (4) 4 errors|
|GUILD||0 0 3 0 1 0 0 1 x (5) 2 errors|
|Bacchus:||J.Warwick 2, E.Byrne, L.Weldon, A.Wallis-Taylor|
|Guild:||J.Wood 2, J.Lekkas, C.Durston, T.Snarey, J.Durston, J.Smyth|
|Bacchus:||R.Shaw 5 inn, 4 H, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 2 ER|
|T.Rowe 3 inn, 3 H, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 1 ER|
|Guild:||B.Egan 8.1 inn, 4 H, 10 Ks, 3 BB, 4 ER|
|L.Harty 0.2 inn, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 ER|
|CORIO had the A Grade bye this week|