Round Eleven 2014

ROUND ELEVEN:   Saturday 12 July
*** Scroll down for images across the league today   ***

It was a tough day at the ballpark this week, with squalls of rain and hail sweeping across a region that struggled – temperature wise – to reach double figures as a remarkable run of inclement weather continued to afflict our chosen sport.

Nevertheless, most senior games went ahead, producing some intriguing results that will serve to help determine ladder standings with just a few weeks remaining to the playoffs.

Kicking back with the A Grade bye, Guild is undefeated ahead of Ballarat Brewers, which regained second after arresting a losing streak with a 4-1 result over sixth-placed Saints in an error-ridden night game.

Forcing a 1-1 draw with fifth-placed Bacchus Marsh, Bellarine has slipped into third placing ahead of Lara Wildcats, who gave supporters some real heartache before pinching their game 5-4 from Deakin, which faces a tough assignment despite a relatively favourable draw.

Level with the Blues on win percentage, Saints look an equally rough chance of making the post-season, while Corio has shown some promising recent form and finally clawed its way out of the cellar with a 10-3 win over Werribee that consigns the Giants into ninth placing for now at least.

Unbeaten in A Reserve, Guild Lions are being pressured by Mounties, who proved too strong for third-placed Guild Cubs in tough conditions this week, while Saints are favoured to make the playoffs ahead of other realistic chances in Alfredton and Lara.

Further underlining its club depth, Guild retains undefeated status in B Grade, where Werribee and Colac are looking strong ahead of Mounties and Saints, with Corio only a rough chance after a poor early season.

B Reserve has developed into a tight competition, with Lara and Colac looking odds-on for finals action along with Deakin, Bacchus Marsh and Guild – who remain well in the mix ahead of other rough prospects with a handful of games to play.

LARA 5 defeated DEAKIN 4

With Bacchus Marsh breathing down their feline necks, the Wildcats needed this win, although they may have preferred to do it somewhat easier than leaving it until the top of the seventh in conditions that threatened to close in at any time.

Deadlocked at one each after two innings, the game shifted dramatically in Deakin’s favour when the Blues plated three in the third, compliments of an infield error and clean hitting by Cameron Gibbons and Andy Ross.

While Deakin starter Chris Webb did a superb job for his club (six hits over six innings of work), it was quality reliever Kelii Zablan who came in for some late treatment when he was uncharacteristically astray in a wild seventh frame that gleaned three runs and a lead for the visitors – who took full toll of a fielding error, two walks and two HPBs.

Webb, Zablan and Ross all stroked a couple of hits, while Gibbons was decisive with three of the Deakin ribbies against quality Lara arms in Cameron Forbes and Joel Ricketts, who were terrific in not conceding a pass in difficult conditions for pitchers.

With other results falling in its favour, Lara looks strong in fourth placing - although it should not take anything for granted against Corio next Saturday given a subsequent tough draw – while Deakin will be away to Saints in what shapes as a last chance for both clubs to stay in finals contention.

LARA 0 1 0 0 1 0 3  (5)  1 error
DEAKIN 1 0 3 0 0 0 0  (4)  1 error
Lara: C.Forbes 2, L.Arandt 2, B.Hammer, R.Wilson, C.Mason
Deakin: C.Webb 2, K.Zablan 2, A.Ross 2, R.Hickey, G.Morris
Lara: B.Hammer, L.Arandt, A.Mueller
Deakin: C.Gibbons 3, A.Ross
Lara: C.Forbes 4 inn, 6 H, 5 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER
  J.Ricketts 3 inn, 2 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
Deakin: C.Webb 6 inn, 6 H, 3 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER
  K.Zablan 1 inn, 1 H, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 2 HPB, 1 ER
CORIO 10 defeated WERRIBEE 3

The Tigers of Corio have scored twenty-three runs in their last three games, in contrast with a total of eight in the first eight played – surely a sign of a more aggressive mindset that will not be underestimated by other clubs in coming weeks.

While the Giants held an early lead – with runs in the first and the third – the Tigers blew the game open with a seven-spot in the fourth before delivering some insurance with another three in the seventh against an opponent that again shared mound duties between Connor Wilson and Daniel Hartigan.

With two hits and all three of his side's RBIs, Daine Gregory did his best in seeking to spark a Werribee offence against workhorse Scott Brackley, who earned the win for Corio with a complete game seven innings outing.

In a grand team effort backed up by solid defence this time, Corio had serious contributors in Joel Hughes (three hits and three RBIs), Pat Brackley (two and two), David Kinard (two and two) and Blake Witham (two hits) as the Tigers recorded their first A Grade win of the 2014 season.

Deservedly going in with strengthened self-belief, Corio will be at home to Lara next Saturday, while Werribee has another tough game in prospect when it plays host to league-leading Guild Lions.

CORIO 0 0 0 7 0 0 3  (10)  1 error
WERRIBEE 1 0 1 0 1 0 0   (3)   3 errors
Corio: J.Hughes 3, B.Witham 2, P.Brackley 2, D.Kinard 2, S.Brackley, M.Taylor
Werribee: D.Gregory 2, Connor Wilson 2, S.Riches, E.McPherson, D.Hartigan, K.Hartigan
Corio: J.Hughes 3, P.Brackley 2, D.Kinard 2, S.Brackley
Werribee: D.Gregory 3
Corio: S.Brackley 7 inn, 8 H, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 3 ER
Werribee: Connor Wilson 3.1 inn, 6 H, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER
  D.Hartigan 3.2 inn, 5 H, 3 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HPB, 3 ER

While the conditions at Bacchus may have been a slight improvement on elsewhere, this was still a high-standard contest dominated by the pitchers.

Bacchus Marsh scored an unearned run in the third – off the bat of Jarrod Norquay – before the visitors drew level in the top of the fourth on one of Wayne Visser’s two hits from his side’s total of four. From that point it was goose eggs only in a split result that was a fair reflection on the intensity of the contest.

Tossing the complete game for Bellarine, Simon Murry was quite superb in scattering five hits – two of those to Norquay – while Roland Shaw (five innings) gave the Marsh a terrific start before Tayler Rowe slammed the gate with four innings of overpowering work against one of the league’s most dangerous offensive lineups.

Slipping marginally to third on head to head advantage over Lara, Bellarine has the bye next week, while fifth-placed Bacchus Marsh will play host to Ballarat in what looms as a must-win for the Tigers to keep their finals aspirations alive.

BELLARINE 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0  (1)  2 errors
BACCHUS 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0  (1)  1 error
Bellarine: W.Visser 2, B.McKentish, J.Crotty
Bacchus: J.Norquay 2, D.Wilkie, J.Warwick, T.Rowe
Bellarine: W.Visser
Bacchus: J.Norquay
Bellarine: S.Murry 9 inn, 5 H, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 0 ER
Bacchus: R.Shaw 5 inn, 3 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
  T.Rowe 4 inn, 1 H, 5 Ks, 2 BB, 0 ER
BALLARAT 4 defeated SAINTS 1

Arresting a two-game losing streak, the Brewers produced something approaching their best, although both clubs struggled defensively in damp, cold and slippery conditions under lights.

Wheeling out a full-strength roster, the Brewers enjoyed terrific service from starter Rory Meddick and reliever Ross Hipke, who between them conceded a solitary hit while striking out a dozen over eight innings of dominance.

For East Belmont the pitching was not too shabby either, as class act Josh Lee whiffed eight into the fifth innings before handing the pill to Sean Talbot to keep his side in the game after the Brew Crew had put up a damaging three-spot to gain a break in the fourth.

Hipke, Meddick, Adam Irons, Leigh Ashmore, Steve Kugele and Scott Kerr shared the hits for Ballarat, which has edged back into second placing ahead of Bellarine with a handful of games to play.

The Brewers will be away to a dangerous Bacchus Marsh in what should be a cracker next Saturday, while East Belmont will be at home to Deakin with a win imperative for both clubs for to remain in contention for a finals berth.

BALLARAT 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 0  (4)  4 errors
SAINTS 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0  (1)  4 errors
Ballarat: R.Hipke, A.Irons, L.Ashmore, S.Kerr, S.Kugele, R.Meddick
Saints: J.Isbister
Ballarat: L.Ashmore, S.Kugele, R.Meddick, L.Karslake
Saints: nil
Ballarat: R.Meddick 5 inn, 0 H, 7 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
  R.Hipke 3 inn, 1 H, 5 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
Saints: J.Lee 4.1 inn, 3 H, 8 Ks, 1 BB, 1 ER
  S.Talbot 3.2 inn, 3 H, 4 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER
GUILD has the A Grade bye this week