CLAXTON SHIELD 2010 RESULTS

WEEK 10 SERIES

CLAXTON SHIELD 2010   - Table & Results

'Flintoff & Dunn' aim to bring you the best possible internet coverage of the CLAXTON SHIELD competition from the various host centres around the country. Peter Flintoff (and sometimes Adrian Dunn) will be attending as many games as possible. We will arrange for news via our faithful correspondents for ALL of the remaining games. 

There may be a short delay in posting the game reviews because it will not be possible for us to write these immediately during each series as it would be an impossible workload. We hope that our loyal subscribers will still get the usual enjoyment from our unique style of coverage... Look out for them a day or two after each series is concluded!

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 Claxton 2009 TABLE
G
W
L
D
W%
F
A
%
 VICTORIAN ACES 24 17 7 0 .708 140 115 .549
 NSW PATRIOTS 24 14 10 0 .583 142 107 .570
 SOUTH AUSTRALIA

24

14 10 0 .583 132 105 .557
 WESTERN AUST 24 12 12
0
.500 111 118 .488
 QUEENSLAND RAMS 24 3 21 0 .125 66 155 .299

The following LINE SCORES for CLAXTON SHIELD GAMES are listed in "Reverse Order" so that you can view the LATEST GAMES FIRST!
 WEEK 10 SERIES
 Game 60
 Sat 23 JAN 2010

NEW SOUTH WALES SWEEPS QLD WITH 5-1 WIN!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 NSW 1 0 1 2 1 0 0     5 8 2
 QUEENSLAND 0 0 0 0 1 0 0     1 3 2

After a brief delay due to lighting problems as Holloway Field this final game of the summer for the hosting Queensland Rams was underway and, although they have a proud record as a highly competitive baseball state, they would agree that this has not been a memorable Claxton Shield competition for them.

The unmistakable aroma of another playoff opportunity looming for the New South Wales Patriots must have wafted past the nose of veteran lefty ace Craig Anderson who is just warming into his work after a prolonged layoff. It is ominous for future post season opponents that Anderson is already looking in solid form with another breezy three inning start here. For the second time in successive series Anderson set the table for Jarrett Commane to snare another win with a tidy inning of his own.

NSW manager Glenn Williams kept the revolving door of relievers spinning with Mathew Rae, Jarryd Sullivan and Matt Williams each taking the chance for an inning of warm-up coming into the finals. Only Rae saw an unearned run scored by the Queenslanders as the game meandered on to an uneventful conclusion. Established Minnesota pro Matt Williams enjoyed his chance to strike out three in the last.

On the flip side Chicago White Sox pro James Albury finished his Claxton competition pretty well with another sound performance, even though he was saddled with the loss. He gave his team a chance to win and that is all you can ask of any starter. Red Sox pro Justin Erasmus was damaged by Michael Lysaughts’ two RBI double in the fourth and Pat Maat’s “big fly” over left field that led off the fifth. Former professional reliever Matt Timms polished off his competition with a positive flourish after three strike outs punctuated his six straight outs in the last two frames… all too late.

RBI-machine Patrick Maat scooped the offensive award for the victors with his home run as the highlight of the game and his 2-4. He shaded Michael Lysaught who had another very strong game with his 2-4 that reaped two runs batted in and Jason Pospishil who hit 2-3 to spice one of his best ever AMLB seasons. The reliable run production of Trent D’Antonio continued with another two RBIs.

Little known Andrew Campbell supplied Queensland’s sole RBI with his fifth inning single plus he walked, as did Brad Dutton who also singled and walked in the game. Andrew Utting’s first inning double was the only other knock for the Rams and their only extra base hit. Not much glee for embattled home fans in Brisbane we're afraid.

So ends a sorry Claxton Shield for the Queensland Rams who, in our view, were much more competitive than their final results would suggest, especially earlier in the summer. The New South Wales Patriots got some help from Victoria to sneak into another playoff campaign and, as they say, you have to be in it to win it!

 NSW
PITCHING: 

Craig ANDERSON 3.0ip 2h 0er 1bb 2k; Jarrett COMMANE (W) 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 0k;
Mathew RAE 1.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 0k; Jarryd SULLIVAN 1.0ip 0h 0er 2bb 2k;
Matt WILLIAMS 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 3k.

OFFENCE: Jason POSPISHIL 2-3; Michael LYSAUGHT 2-4 (2RBI); Pat MAAT 2-4 (RBI); Trent D'ANTONIO 1-3 (2RBI);
Joshua DEAN 1-3.
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:

James ALBURY (L) 3.0ip 4h 2er 1bb 0k; Justin ERASMUS 2.0ip 4h 2er 0bb 1k;
Matt TIMMS 2.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 3k

OFFENCE:  Brad DUTTON 1-2; Andrew CAMPBELL 1-3 (RBI); Andrew UTTING 1-4.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Craig BEINKE, Mal MACKAY, Mark BRAMWELL and Paul LATTA .
 

 WEEK 10 SERIES
 Game 59
 
Sat 23 JAN 2010

VICTORIA SWEEPS OUT WEST AUST 6-0!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 VICTORIA 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 6 13 2
 WEST AUST 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1

When Victoria’s No.1 pre-Christmas starting pitcher Casey Jones went down with injury, things looked somewhat bleak for the Aces. Thankfully for them the Aces were able to replace one ace with another ace after the return of Adam Blackley who needed some rest after playing a long season in the Dutch Baseball League, followed by his starring role for the AROOS at the World Baseball Cup. Adam Blackley has played in the shadow of his major league brother Travis but, as time goes by, he is beginning to cast a considerable shadow of his own!

We lauded the pitching of New South Wales senior pro Wayne Lundgren today and Adam Blackley virtually matched his brilliant display in the finale of this away series against Western Australia. In fact, a glance at their respective pitching lines shows that the only difference was one walk issued by Blackley compared with none by Lundgren… they were both OUTSTANDING! Blackley allowed just four hits from his seven inning winning start as the backbone of a combined shutout.

Shane Lindsay and Ross Hipke kept the clamps firmly gripped on the throat of the WA lineup with a scoreless inning each in support of Blackley as they played minor roles in the shutout. Although the result looked fairly safe for Victoria by the time they took the hill, we really liked the way that manager Phil Dale made sure that all his pitchers got the chance to make a positive contribution throughout this competition… it may pay dividends for him in the grand final series?

Heat starter Mark Kelly recorded a hard-luck loss in this last game for his team after toiling manfully through six-plus innings and, after a run scored on an error in the first, only one earned run was cashed in for him by reliever Dylan Peacock. Kelly was very good once again, but the belated appearance of Peacock was a source of controversy for local WA supporters. Former pro Peacock had been a key starter for the Heat during this campaign with four wins and it bemused many when he wasn’t seen starting earlier, or at all, in this vital series. As it turned out it was a sour aftertaste for Peacock with maybe his worst outing for the tournament as the game and their championship defence slid away for WA.

Hot Minnesota Twins’ prospect Jimmy Beresford needed extended rest after starring for the AROOS at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, followed by a full professional season, then the World Baseball Cup in Europe. After a low-key return in the last series Beresford seems ready to step forward towards the pointy end of Claxton 2010 with his impressive 4-5 as a glimpse of his talents. Beresford started the door closing on the Heat with his RBI single in the four-run seventh, followed by back-to-back RBIs from his Waverley club mates Scott Wearne and Andy Russell. Competition star Josh Davies added another with his RBI on a fielder’s choice ground out.

Multi-skilled Elliot Biddle has been a tremendous performer for Victoria this summer. Not only has he pitched some very useful innings for the Aces but his hitting and defence has also been terrific. It was great to see him earning his due attention in this game with 3-4 that finished with a bang via his cracking long ball over left field in the eighth. Matt Lawman finished the preliminary games with a .423 average after batting 2-3 plus a hit by pitch, while super-slugger ‘Rusty’ Russell racked up another two hits including his first inning double that setup the opening run.

High quality professionals Luke Hughes and Tim Kennelly finished this campaign with another hit each to join Brandon Dale and Andrew Kyle as the only WA safe hitters.

A rare home series sweep was a deflating end to West Australia’s remarkable run of success that included back-to-back Claxton Shield titles in 2008 and 2009… they have been GREAT! The Victorian Aces will take some confidence into a home grand final in a couple of weekend’s time. Their ability to overcome some adversity this summer is probably explained by team unity and chemistry.

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Adam BLACKLEY (W) 7.0ip 4h 0er 1bb 5k; Shane LINDSAY 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 0k;
Ross HIPKE 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k.

OFFENCE:  James BERESFORD 4-5 (RBI); Elliot BIDDLE 3-4 (RBI); Matt LAWMAN 2-3; Andrew RUSSELL 2-5 (RBI);
Scott WEARNE 1-5 (RBI); Brad HARMAN 1-5; Josh DAVIES 0-5 (RBI).
 WEST AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Mark KELLY (L) 6.1ip 7h 1er 1bb 2k; Dylan PEACOCK 2.2ip 6h 4er 0bb 4k

OFFENCE: Andrew KYLE 1-3; Brandon DALE 1-4; Tim KENNELLY 1-4; Luke HUGHES 1-4.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Kyle BYRNE, Jon BYRNE and Brett ROBSON.
 

 WEEK 10 SERIES
 Game 58
 Sat 23 JAN 2010

PATRIOTS PULVERISE QUEENSLAND 16-0!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 NSW 0 3 7 0 5 0 1     16 18 0
 QUEENSLAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0     0 4 3

Sad to say that in the rich history of the Claxton Shield there have been few, if any, more lop-sided baseball games than this ugly 16-0 blow-out inflicted by New South Wales on the home standing Queensland Rams at Holloway Field. There is no way to apply any positive spin to seven inning massacre that saw 18 hits versus four in favour of the visitors. For my many West Australian friends following these results in Perth, I can understand them feeling that this looked a waving of the white flag just when they needed the Queenslanders to fight for a face-saving victory.

‘Flintoff & Dunn’ certainly won’t go as far as to suggest that this was anything other than a dominant performance from New South Wales, but we will speculate that the Queenslanders are very low on confidence… you don’t say! Adding to their misery on this day was the presence of seasoned professional Wayne Lundgren on the mound for the pale blues. We need say little more than recount the fact that he walked none and allowed just four hits while facing two more than the minimum in a supreme seven inning shutout. Lundgren can be “nasty” when he is on and he was quite clearly ON this time!

Only young Texas Rangers’ rookie league pro Aaron Thompson escaped the carnage when he pitched an inning of relief for the Rams. Starter Chris Lamb was shelled for the loss, Rod Wodson was hammered and Brett Montgomery was not too bad by comparison as the game petered out to an unsatisfactory but merciful conclusion for the home team.

To spell out the barren cupboard of batting for the Rams; Campbell, Dutton, Naughton and Lamb-Hunt each batted 1-3… that’s all folks, there ain’t no more!

Wayne Lundgren didn’t require much run support to win this game although he got plenty. After three runs in the second inning and <gulp!> seven more in the third, the New South Welshmen embarked on a home run derby in the fifth when Trent D’Antonio homered over right field, Pat Maat went yard over centre field and Tim Auty lifted a three run bomb over centre field. Take your pick of Pat Maat with 3-4 and two RBIs, Tim Auty with 3-5 and three RBIs, Trent D’Antonio with 3-5 and three RBIs, Mark Holland with 3-5 and two RBIs or Tim Atherton with 3-5 and two RBIs… can I take a breath? Boss Moanaroa also batted 1-3 plus a walk and a run batted in. Jason Pospishil was the other NSW run producer.

Oh yes, it was a horrible result for the Queenslanders and maybe even more so for the West Australians who needed New South Wales to drop the game for them to make the playoffs. The Patriots did what they needed to do yet, it has to be said, their opposition wasn’t up to scratch on this forgettable occasion.

 NSW
PITCHING: 

Wayne LUNDGREN (W) 7.0ip 4h 0er 0bb 5k

OFFENCE: Pat MAAT 3-4 (2RBI); Tim AUTY 3-5 (3RBI); Trent D'ANTONIO 3-5 (3RBI); Mark HOLLAND 3-5 (2RBI);
Tim ATHERTON 3-5 (2RBI); Boss MOANAROA 1-3 (RBI); David KANDILAS 1-4; Jason POSPISHIL 1-5 (RBI).
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:

Chris LAMB (L) 2.0ip 8h 6er 3bb 2k; Aaron THOMPSON 1.0ip 2h 0er 1bb 0k;
Rod WODSON 1.1ip 5h 5er 0bb 1k; Brett MONTGOMERY 2.2ip 3h 1er 0bb 2k.

OFFENCE:  Andrew CAMPBELL 1-3; Brad DUTTON 1-3; Joel NAUGHTON 1-3; Daniel LAMB-HUNT 1-3.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Mark BRAMWELL, Craig BEINKE, Paul LATTA and Mal MACKAY.
 

 WEEK 10 SERIES
 Game 57
 
Fri 22 JAN 2010

VICTORIA EDGES PAST WA HEAT 5-4!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 VICTORIA 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 5 6 0
 WEST AUST 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 4 8 0

This was a game that the hosting WA heat just had to have but, unfortunately for them, the travelling Victorian Aces were not in a charitable mood against the defending two-time Claxton Shield Champions. Making it slightly more painful for the West Aussies was the fact that they failed to take advantage of a Victorian team that was short on starting pitching after the injury to Dean Barker who was scheduled to start Game One.

Of course, this is not to suggest that the Aces pitching would be easy pickings, it’s just that they had to cobble together nine innings with four guys who are recognised as specialist relievers. First to the hill was the mercurial Matt Blackmore who collected his sixth win of the tournament via a quality five inning start that, although not his most dominant, set his team up for the ultimate victory. He has been an unsung hero for the Victorian cause in recent campaigns.

Having regained the lead in the game with a three run sixth, it was a perfect time for the Aces to summon in-form evergreen Russell Spear to bridge those important late innings. As we have noted often this summer, Spear has been remarkably sharp for a veteran who no longer pitches regularly. What he definitely does have is a great work ethic and a fierce competitive nature. He was touched by Mitch Graham’s home run missile just left of centre field to interrupt a dominant three inning effort that featured five penetrating strike outs.

Spear probably could have taken care of the ninth yet manager Phil Dale elected to go with his club team mate Ross Hipke who gifted a leadoff walk that was pushed into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt. This situation demanded the handover to lefty professional Adam Bright who jangled the nerves with another walk and a wild pitch before ending the threat with his second strike out for a gutsy save.

WA entrusted this crucial game to import pitcher Terrence Wohlever who wasn’t really impressive, even though he did settle pretty well after wobbling with a two run first inning. He mixed six walks with four hits before handing the ball to Benn Grice with one out in the sixth. This is where the game slipped away for the Heat when Grice couldn’t buy an out and the Victorians tagged him with the loss after a three run frame.

Former Atlanta Braves infielder Dean White has been a real star for the West as a pitcher in recent years and they probably wish that they had gone straight to him on this occasion. White was in near total control while shutting down the last eleven Victorian hitters without allowing a solitary base runner. Sadly, his sterling effort commenced just a pitch or two too late to affect the end result.

No Victorian was able to hit more than once in this game, so the batting award was possibly shared between Hayden Dingle and Matt Lawman who plated two RBIs each to add on to Brad Harman’s 1-1 that drove in the other run for the Aces. Scotty Wearne singled as well as walking twice, Brett Tamburrino singled plus walked and 'Rusty’ Russell walked twice.

The quality bats of Luke Hughes, Mitch Graham and Matt Kennelly swung effectively for two hits each. Kennelly also walked to give him the game on base honours just ahead of Graham whose 2-5 included that rare home run off Russell Spear. Slugger Brandon Dale also roped a “jack” over the left field corner with one out in the fourth. Allan de San Miguel showed his patient plate command again with a pair of walks.

The West Australians needed this win and they didn’t get it; a fact that was compounded by the reality that a demoralised Queensland team seemed unable to help them out in their series against rivals New South Wales. The Victorian Aces moved clear at the top of the Claxton table and they appear unwilling to flirt with their winning form.

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Matt BLACKMORE (W) 5.0ip 7h 3er 1bb 3k; Russell SPEAR 3.0ip 1h 1er 1bb 5k;
Ross HIPKE 0.1ip 0h 0er 1bb 0k; Adam BRIGHT (S) 0.2ip 0h 0er 1bb 2k.

OFFENCE:  Brad HARMAN 1-1 (RBI); Scott WEARNE 1-3; Brett TAMBURRINO 1-3; Hayden DINGLE 1-4 (2RBI);
Tristan McDONALD 1-4; Matt LAWMAN 1-5 (2RBI).
 WEST AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Terrence WOHLEVER 5.1ip 4h 4er 6bb 7k; Benn GRICE (L) 0.0ip 2h 1er 1bb 0k;
Dean WHITE 3.2ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k

OFFENCE: Luke HUGHES 2-4 (RBI); Matt KENNELLY 2-3; Mitch GRAHAM 2-5 (RBI); Brandon DALE 1-4 (RBI);
Nick KIMPTON 1-4; Dallas CHRISTISON 0-3 (RBI).

Our now standard recognition for umpires Brett ROBSON, Kyle BYRNE and Travis HATCH.
 

 WEEK 10 SERIES
 Game 56
 Fri 22 JAN 2010

PATRIOTS IN COMEBACK 7-5 WIN OVER RAMS!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 NSW 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 2 0 7 11 3
 QUEENSLAND 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 5 12 1

The Queensland Rams led this opening game of their last home series 2-0 over New South Wales until the sixth inning when the Patriots rallied late to snatch a 7-5 victory that was vital for them and deflating for their embattled hosts.

Once more the Golden Arm of Timothy Cox produced a result that would be considered strange for most but more like typical for him. Eight hits from 5.2 innings is a recipe for disaster for most pitchers, however, Cox always seems to neutralise these effects by a larger number of strike outs as he did here with nine. Joel Naughton’s leadoff home run over right field in the sixth deprived him of another possible win when it tied the game at 3-3 although it did not mean that his start wasn’t a quality one… it was.

Vaughan Harris took over for NSW to work through 2.1 scoreless innings and to collect the win, while Lee Ingram closed the last inning quite efficiently for a valuable save. In the final analysis it was probably the superiority of the visitor’s relief pitching that was pivotal to the result.

We don’t have any information about why ‘Drew K’ Naylor could not continue beyond three innings after putting up three zeroes in seemingly effortless style, including the erasure of the last seven hitters he faced. Unfortunately for the Rams it meant the early insertion of Simon Morriss who struggled to keep the Patriots’ lineup under control after a solid fourth and fifth inning. The walls caved in for him when a flurry of hits, mixed with three walks, saw him nailed for five runs and he took the “L”.

Rod Wodson faced one hitter, Boss Moanaroa, who cashed in another run for Morriss with his RBI double that resulted in an out at home plate after the run had scored. The result was far from decided when veteran Brett Montgomery took over the bump, but it drifted away from the Rams when he allowed another two runs on three hits in the top of the eighth.

The man who did the damage in the eighth was underrated Mark Holland who slapped a two RBI single after walking twice earlier in the game. He was slightly overshadowed by young Boston Red Sox pro Boss Moanaroa who made his presence felt at national level with his 2-5 that supplied two runs driven in. Michael Lysaught is surprising nobody these days with yet another two hit effort and neither does Patrick Maat when he delivers yet another two RBIs. Tim Atherton tripled and was hit by a pitch, while Trent D’Antonio doubled plus walked and David Kandilas singled plus walked. Tim Auty drove in the other run for New South Wales.

Smooth swinging Daniel Lamb-Hunt snatched the offensive award for Queensland with his 4-6 that included a RBI. He shaded Philadelphia’s pro catcher Joel Naughton who continued his fine competition with 2-4 that featured his long ball in the sixth and a spanking double in the second. Shayne Watson batted 2-4 plus a walk to go along with another Philly pro Alan Schoenberger who doubled, was hit by a pitch and produced a RBI on a fielder’s choice ground out. Little known Joel McInnes doubled, drove in a run and was later hit by a pitch. Brad Dutton and Mitch Nilsson both drove in runs for Queensland. Andy Utting was hit by a pitch and he later walked to take the bat out of his capable hands.

There wasn’t much on the line for Queensland apart from pride but, as we said, the win was a vital one for the travelling New South Wales team.

 NSW
PITCHING: 

Tim COX 5.2ip 8h 3er 1bb 9k; Vaughan HARRIS (W) 2.1ip 3h 0er 2bb 3k;
Lee INGRAM (S) 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k

OFFENCE: Boss MOANAROA 2-5 (2RBI); Michael LYSAUGHT 2-5; Mark HOLLAND 1-3 (2RBI); David KANDILAS 1-3;
Jason POSPISHIL 1-4; Joshua DEAN 1-4; Tim AUTY 1-4 (RBI); Trent D'ANTONIO 1-4; Pat MAAT 1-5 (2RBI);
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:

Drew NAYLOR 3.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 2k; Simon MORRISS (L) 3.2ip 6h 5er 3bb 4k;
Rod WODSON 0.1ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k; Brett MONTGOMERY 2.0ip 3h 2er 0bb 3k

OFFENCE:  Daniel LAMB-HUNT 4-6 (RBI); Joel NAUGHTON 2-4 (RBI); Shayne WATSON 2-4; Joel McINNES 1-3;
Alan SCHOENBERGER 1-4 (RBI); Brad DUTTON 1-5 (RBI); Mitch NILSSON 1-5 (RBI).

Our now standard recognition for umpires Mal Mackay, Mark BRAMWELL and Craig BEINKE.
 

 WEEK 10 SERIES
 Game 55
 
Thu 21 JAN 2010

HENDRICKS HALTS HEAT FOR 6-3 VIC WIN!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 VICTORIA 1 0 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 6 17 0
 WEST AUST 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 3 6 1

The Victorian Aces have not had a lot of good fortune when it comes to starting pitching this summer when you consider the facts that 2009 stars Travis Blackley and Daryn Cassidy have been unavailable, workhorse Greg Wiltshire has rarely been available, early season ace Casey Jones is injured, Adam Blackley needed extended rest after a long season and a few others did not put their hands up. In spite of this the Victorians have been able to piece-meal competent enough pitching to compete and, with some offensive support, they have even prevailed often enough in this competition.

However, if all that was challenging, things turned rapidly worse entering this highly important opening game of the last home and away series in Perth when announced starter Dean Barker was injured during the last stages of his warm-up. With arms waving frantically from the bullpen in the right field corner the SOS was sent to Donavon Hendricks who had to commence accelerated warm-up tossing to start the game unexpectedly.

If anyone thought that this would be a mortal blow for the visitors, then they underestimated the fighting qualities of Hendricks who is a maturing pitcher and a highly competitive guy... he thrived. Former Atlanta professional ‘Donnie’ has been a utility man out for the Victorian bullpen in Claxton 2010 and, although his last start was not his best, he has most often preferred starting to relieving over his career. Perhaps the ultimate evidence of this came on this Thursday night in Perth when he put the Victorian team on his back and he carried them to victory.

His game statistics were excellent, yet they didn’t fully tell the story of one of the finest control pitching performances you could ever imagine in an extremely important game. Hendricks was ably assisted with some early run support even though this was not nearly enough for total comfort. Donavon Hendricks should be a very proud man today after his heroic performance for his team... he was HUGE!

But, hold those horses, as good as Hendricks was taking the ball into the ninth inning, the calm waters nearly turned into a maelstrom after a leadoff single saw him lifted. Pro reliever Shane Lindsay was summoned to preserve a healthy 6-1 lead but, as he sometimes does, he simply could not calibrate his radar in the face of an awakened home crowd who sensed a late comeback... he walked the next two batters to juice the bases. Colorado Rockies’ lefty team mate Adam Bright was entrusted with the nervous job of saving Lindsay’s bacon. Bright walked across a run to heighten the tension before he finally clinched the game via a canny double play.

To be brutally honest, the Victorian nail-biting at the end of the game really should not have been necessary if they had been able to take better advantage of their 17-6 superiority in the safe hits column. The Aces had several opportunities to take this game way out of the reach of the WA Heat whose own pitchers struggled to minimise the potential damage. Only Warwick Saupold at the end could really claim a sound effort with two and two-thirds scoreless innings to finish off the game.

Quality pro starter Scott Mitchinson was unconvincing again to take the loss after allowing the Victorians to kick-start their hitting spree. Middle reliever Daniel Schmidt was also cannon fodder yet, it has to be said, none of the runs scored from the ten hits he served up were earned. The only positive thing for the WA pitching was that they didn’t add a single walk to the 17 Victorian hits.

To bounce past the almost non-existent WA offence in this game, only the very impressive Tim Kennelly managed two safe hits, while Allan de San Miguel and Matt Kennelly drove in the runs. Luke Hughes and Brandon Dale both singled and walked once each.

Scalding hot outfielder Andrew ‘Rusty’ Russell carried his form across from Adelaide with another 4-5 for the Aces to match the effort of another competition hitting machine Matt Lawman who also knocked 4-5. Brad Harman returned to the team with two hits to join consistent stars Scotty Wearne, Josh Davies and Elliot Biddle with two hits each. Even though the centre field fence has been moved closer to the hitters this year, Scott Wearne’s leadoff homer in the third inning would have easily cleared the old fence when it rocketed out of the yard in a heartbeat. Wearne drove in two, as did slugger Hayden Dingle in a game where the Victorians should have scored plenty more.

The memorable victory clinches a home Grand Final for the Victorians, while the West Aussies will need to keep pushing to ensure a playoff chance. Take a bow DONAVON HENDRICKS.

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Donavon HENDRICKS (W) 8.0ip 6h 2er 1bb 2k; Shane LINDSAY 0.0ip 0h 1er 2bb 0k;
Adam BRIGHT (S) 1.0ip 0h 0er 1bb 0k

OFFENCE:  Andrew RUSSELL 4-5 (RBI); Matt LAWMAN 4-5; Josh DAVIES 2-4 (RBI);
Scott WEARNE 2-5 (2RBI); Elliot BIDDLE 2-5; Brad HARMAN 2-5; Hayden DINGLE 1-4 (2RBI).
 WEST AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Scott MITCHINSON (L) 3.0ip 6h 2er 0bb 2k; Daniel SCHMIDT 3.1ip 10h 0er 0bb 2k;
Warwick SAUPOLD 2.2ip 1h 0er 0bb 3k.

OFFENCE: Tim KENNELLY 2-4; Allan de SAN MIGUEL 1-3 (RBI); Luke HUGHES 1-3; Brandon DALE 1-3; Andrew KYLE 1-4; Matt KENNELLY 0-3 (RBI).

Our now standard recognition for umpires Travis HATCH, Brett ROBSON and Jon BYRNE.