CLAXTON SHIELD 2010 RESULTS

WEEK 7 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
%
 SOUTH AUSTRALIA

17

11 6 0 .647 94 53 .640
 VICTORIAN ACES 14 9 5 0 .643 72 77 .483
 WESTERN AUST 15 9 6
0
.600 60 62 .492
 NSW PATRIOTS 18 9 9 0 .500 87 80 .521
 QUEENSLAND RAMS 17 3 14 0 .177 55 105 .344

The following LINE SCORES for CLAXTON SHIELD GAMES are listed in "Reverse Order" so that you can view the LATEST GAMES FIRST!
 WEEK 7 SERIES
 Game 42
 Sat 19 Dec 2009

SA RALLIES TO TAKE SERIES WITH 4-1 WIN v NSW!

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

I know that this is a horrible and unwarranted exaggeration but, at first glance, this pitching match-up did appear like a “David and Goliath” affair. On this occasion Goliath was to get just the better of David with the ladder leading SA hosts clinching a 2-1 series victory over New South Wales at Norwood via a 4-1 result in their favour. It reversed the 2-1 series win achieved by NSW in Sydney last weekend.

In fact, previously unknown Jarrett Commane and Lee Ingram did a pretty fair job to keep the game within reach for the Patriots, even though their own batters were unable to make much headway against the established professional pair of Paul Mildren and Dushan Ruzic who did most of the hurling for SA. Commane did a decent job to work around a few too many hits but the three runs, two earned, he allowed were enough to saddle him with the loss. Ingram was even more impressive with three most efficient innings of middle relief that yielded only one unearned run. Former multi-skill pro Tim Atherton was clinical at the end to deny any runners on base while retiring the last four. Unfortunately for them sufficient damage had been done earlier in the game to give South Australia the winning edge.

SA starter Paul Mildren has reached ‘AAA’ level in the US minor leagues and he showed some of that quality to skate through six innings with just one unearned run posted after a fifth inning error. Having struck out the side in the seventh, big Dushan Ruzic shut down the eighth to ensure that a save opportunity was handed to Hayden Beard in the ninth. The former Provincial pitcher and NY Mets’ pro gratefully accepted the chance with a scoreless ninth.

Claxton Shield nomad ‘Mighty Mike’ Collins was the only South Aussie with two hits and his double in the fourth was also their only extra base hit. He might have just pinched the hitting honours from import David Washington who singled and walked twice for three visits to the base paths. Stefan Welch singled and walked as another good contribution. Dan Wilson drove in a run plus stole two bases to join Jeremy Cresswell and Brendan ‘Teachers’ Pett as the ‘rib eye steak’ men.

Former Mets’ professional ‘Punishing Pat’ Maat was the only guy to register two hits for the New South Welshmen plus he added a walk to match Michael Collins’ three times aboard. Trent D’Antonio’s RBI double was the only extra base hit for the light blues and it produced their only run of the game. Mitch Dening was deprived of more chances to add to his hits tally with a walk and a hit by pitched ball.

The South Aussies defended their territory at the head of the competition table, while they made sure that New South Wales wasn’t able to improve their playoff chances in this series. With no sign of Tim Cox pitching in this series for NSW the South Australians were able to translate their pitching advantage into a tight series victory.

 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Paul MILDREN (W) 6.0ip 4h 0er 2bb 4k; Dushan RUZIC 2.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 3k;
Hayden BEARD (S) 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Michael COLLINS 2-4; David WASHINGTON 1-2; Brendan PETT 1-3 (RBI); Dan WILSON 1-4 (RBI);
Mathew SMITH 1-3; Stefan WELCH 1-3; Ryan MURPHY 1-4; Jeremy CRESSWELL 0-4 (RBI).
 NSW
PITCHING: 

Jarrett COMMANE (L) 3.2ip 6h 2er 2bb 1k; Lee INGRAM 3.0ip 2h 0er 2bb 3k;
Tim ATHERTON 1.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 2k.

OFFENCE: Pat MAAT 2-3; Andrew GRAHAM 1-3; Trent D'ANTONIO 1-4 (RBI); David KANDILAS 1-4; Mark HOLLAND 1-5.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Blake HALLIGAN, Andrew BELL and Neil POULTON.
 

 WEEK 7 SERIES
 Game 41
 Sat 19 Dec 2009

GAME 3 OF QLD v VICTORIA POSTPONED!

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

After a long rain delay during Game 2 of the series that game resumed at 6:00pm and it was concluded after six innings when sparks flew from a malfunctioning electricity pole adjacent to a dugout. After that there was no opportunity to play this scheduled Game 3. It is initially expected that this game will be re-scheduled for when Queensland visits Victoria early in 2010.

Victoria already has one game to make up against South Australia and they won't be looking forward to the extra workload in the 2010 part of this schedule. That's baseball!

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:  
OFFENCE:   
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:  
OFFENCE:   

No umpires required.
 

 WEEK 7 SERIES
 Game 40
 Sat 19 Dec 2009

NEW SOUTH SQUARES SERIES WITH 2-1 WIN IN SA!

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

We haven’t said a lot about it yet; however, this game gives ‘Flintoff & Dunn’ a salient reminder that we really don’t like Claxton Shield games being decided over the abbreviated distance of seven innings. No doubt someone will come up with logistical reasons why it must be so, but we just don’t like it! And, we suspect, nor would the fans at Norwood today who were robbed of a more absorbing finish in a one run game that deserved the full baseball distance. This especially given that the home team was left lamenting the losing side of the 2-1 result... the Patriots might not agree on this occasion?

It’s not often that we expose the “inner sanctum” of ‘Flintoff & Dunn’, but I’m going to reveal here that the only reason we have not found a place for SA’s Darren Fidge in our Hall-of-Fame is because he, sadly, owns a losing overall record in our AMLB era. His amazing longevity of top grade performance deserves our recognition but, even though we understand that wins and losses can reflect the strength of teams rather than pitchers, a few of our panellists just can’t be persuaded. We’ve spent numerous hours arguing these baseball benchmarks and I have a similar feeling about current WA baseball boss and pitching titan Shane Tonkin!

This was yet another typical example of how darned stiff ‘Fidgey’ has been not to own a more impressive personal record. Like the lion-heart he is, Darren went the distance for his team only to find that the two runs he permitted was one more than the one scored by his team mates. He allowed an average of just one base runner per inning, to prove again what a frustrating game baseball can be. Let me just say that Darren Fidge would not look out of place in our Hall-of-Fame... ‘Tonks’ either... maybe someday?

More fortunate to have one more run to play with were their New South Wales counterparts starter Wayne Lundgren, who grasped the win, and reliever Mathew Rae, who secured the save. When we say “fortunate” this probably doesn’t do justice to their own sterling efforts. Lundgren, as we have said regularly, is capable of being as tough as the best when he is firing and his single run start here was pivotal to the win that he recorded. We don’t know a lot about Mathew Rae just yet but his two innings under pressure from the home fans was more than worthy of the impressive save that he deserved.

I don’t want to underplay the fact that ‘Talented Tim’ Auty was the only player to hit safely more than once in this pitching dominated contest, but he was overshadowed for the Patriots’ offensive MVP award this time. Take your own pick between senior former ‘AAA’ pro Andrew Graham, who belted a solo homer over the left side of Norwood’s outfield in the second inning, or the game winning RBI double from young Boston tyro Mitch Dening in the decisive sixth inning. Who really cares... they’ll take the win!

Lofty Canadian Ryan Murphy continues to see the baseball like it is a beach ball with his long ball over right field today yet, unfortunately for the hosts, it was to be their only scoreboard contribution for the day. The South Aussies out-hit New South by the uninteresting margin of 6-5 and they also threatened with two on and one out in the bottom of the last... it just wasn’t their day. It takes me back to the original commentary about seven inning games... we still don’t like them!

New South Wales, as often, refuse to go away after losing the opening game of the series and they, more so than the South Aussies, will be hoping for a win in the deciding game. Sorry, what am I talking about; the South Australians will be thirsting to win this home series and why shouldn’t they? They are rejoicing some long awaited “pay back” in Claxton 2010.

 NSW
PITCHING: 

Wayne LUNDGREN (W) 5.0ip 4h 1er 1bb 3k; Mathew RAE (S) 2.0ip 2h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Tim AUTY 2-3; Andrew GRAHAM 1-3 (RBI); Mitch DENING 1-3 (RBI); Trent D’ANTONIO 1-3.
 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Darren FIDGE (L) 7.0ip 5h 2er 2bb 4k.

OFFENCE: Ryan MURPHY 1-3 (RBI); Brendan PETT 1-1; Josh CAKEBREAD 1-2, Michael COLLINS 1-3; Mathew SMITH 1-3; David WASHINGTON 1-4.

Our now standard recognition for umpires TBA.
 

 WEEK 7 SERIES
 Game 39
 Sat 19 Dec 2009

VICS WIN "RAIN GAME" 5-2 IN QUEENSLAND

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

For any of us living in less “weather fortunate” States, the next time one of your smug friends from Queensland starts to boast about their Sunshine State you might just like to point to this Claxton Shield game as a deal breaker! Seriously, most Aussies know that Queensland is blessed with an overdose of sunshine but, when it rains, it tends to come down in buckets. On this occasion the heavens decided to interrupt our baseball by emptying their ballast tanks on Holloway Field.

Just maybe, the two hour and 44 minute rain delay might have benefitted the visiting Victorians more than the Queenslanders? We say this only because the Rams’ starting pitcher Chris Lamb had already battled through a tough first inning, whereas Victoria’s starter Dean Barker had just managed to walk the only batter he had faced. The upshot was that Lamb did not return to the hill after the long delay, while Barker returned to do a pretty good job for the Aces.

Barker, as he often seems to do, produced enough good pitches at the right moments to dance around some tight situations. In the end only an Andrew Utting RBI single in the first and a leadoff homer by the same batter in the third did him any scoreboard damage as he collected an important win for his team. As it transpired he handed over for just the last two outs of the game to evergreen Russell Spear who bats more often than he pitches these days, but ‘Russ’ showed that he can still get hitters out.

When Lamb did not return after the rain delay, the ball was transferred to White Sox pro James Albury who has been hot or cold during Claxton 2010. The heart of the Victorian lineup pounced on him quickly with back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the second and he was hit hard to see five runs scored during his four inning adventure. Veteran Brett Montgomery tidied up the last with all three batters flying out for an uneventful frame.

We mentioned the back-to-back long balls that rocked Albury in the second, well; these were delivered by dangerous club mates Scott Wearne and Andrew Russell who shared the offensive limelight with Queensland’s former Victorian Andy Utting. Wearne’s go-ahead two run blast might have been the major blow of the game, but his 2-4 was just overshadowed by ‘Rusty’ Russell who also homered as part of his blazing 3-4 plus a stolen base. James Albury will be seeing visions of this pair in his sleep!

For the Vics, Tristan McDonald was also valuable with his RBI double plus a walk, while slugger Hayden Dingle doubled and walked to continue a productive summer. Elliot Biddle also played a key role with his leadoff single that set the table in the second and he also later walked.

Andrew Utting’s 2-3 supplied two of Queensland’s four hits for the game as the former Melbourne Reds’ favourite has really flourished in his appearances during this competition. His migration north to Queensland has been a major bonus for the Rams in recent Claxton Shield history. Young professionals Alan Schoenberger and Rory Rhodes both visited the bases twice. Schoenberger led off the game with a single and later walked, while Rhodes was hit by a pitch before leading off the sixth with a base knock.

It all ended a bit too abruptly with two out in the bottom of the sixth when an infield light tower, that may have been affected by the storm, began to shower sparks adjacent to a dugout and the game had to be halted. The Victorians were able to enjoy the points from a legal game having completed five innings, but there was no opportunity left to play the nightcap of the scheduled double-header.

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Dean BARKER (W) 5.0ip 4h 2er 3bb 4k; Russell SPEAR 0.2ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE:  Andrew RUSSELL 3-4 (RBI); Scott WEARNE 2-4 (2RBI); Tristan McDONALD 1-2 (RBI); Hayden DINGLE 1-2;
Elliot BIDDLE 1-2.
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:

Chris LAMB 1.0ip 1h 0er 2bb 1k; James ALBURY (L) 4.0ip 7h 5er 1bb 4k;
Brett MONTGOMERY 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k.

OFFENCE:  Andrew UTTING 2-3 (2RBI); Alan SCHOENBERGER 1-2; Rory RHODES 1-2.

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

 WEEK 7 SERIES
 Game 38
 Fri 18 Dec 2009

SOUTH AUST MAULS PATRIOTS 8-2 AT NORWOOD!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 NSW 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 1
 SOUTH AUST 0 1 1 4 0 0 1 1 X 8 11 0

Forget the fair city of Adelaide. Yep, even though South Australia has produced many very fine baseballers over their history, their stars in this game were good old boys from the well known SA localities of Edmonton in Canada, the Bronx in New York and Killeen in Texas. Well, not entirely, they did get some help from the locals, but these “foreign nationals” definitely made significant contributions to this big 8-2 win for the South Aussies over NSW at Norwood Oval.

196cm tall corner infielder Ryan Murphy is the Canadian from Edmonton who has played Independent League ball in North America and more recently in the Dutch National League. He was a one man wrecking crew for SA in this game with 4-5 that comprised three doubles, a single and three runs driven in. Only local star Dan Wilson joined him as a plural hitter for the hosts with a very useful 3-4 that included a ringing RBI double plus a wander to first base.

The reliable trio of Welch, Cresswell and Smith were the other SA run suppliers. Stefan Welch was best of those with a double, a walk and a sacrifice fly. The boy from the Bronx, David Washington, singled and walked twice. Michael Collins walked twice. Ben Wigmore, for once, missed the hit parade, but he added his umpteenth hit by pitch to his catalogue of bruises!

The “foreign legion” also provided defence for South Australia in the shape of starting pitcher Richard Bartlett from Killeen, Texas who took home the win after his six inning start. In truth, Bartlett wasn’t a dominant force in this game and he might have been a bit lucky to leak only two runs from his total of four hits and six free passes. I guess you can say that he battled hard and every pitcher needs a welcome dose of run support on occasions to add to his wins column.

The South Australian bullpen has copped a fair bashing both numerically and literally over the last few campaigns but, credit where it’s due, “Christophers” Lawson and Doyle stood tall in this game even though they were protecting a reasonably comfortable advantage. Lawson retired six in a row with three strike outs across two innings, while only a David Kandilas single separated three strike outs for Doyle in the eighth. It was an extremely convincing display from them.

Patriots' starter Todd Grattan, sorry to say, deserved to take the loss after walking seven to exaggerate four hits from his struggling 3.1 inning start... he has enjoyed better days. Vaughan Harris was much better, even after seeing two runs scored early from him on one of Murphy’s doubles. In fact, Harris struck out five in a row at the end of his stint, that is if you ignore Murphy’s leadoff double in the seventh. New comer Jarryd Sullivan was good enough to work around three hits and a hit batter to allow just a solitary unearned run from his 1.2 innings.

New South Wales was again well served by their duo of young professional outfielders David Kandilas and Mitch Dening. Colorado tyro Kandilas produced two of his team’s total of six hits as well as being hit by a pitch. Red Sox hopeful Dening smashed a big RBI triple and he also walked. Mark Holland and Trent D’Antonio each walked twice to perhaps stifle their offensive potential. Pat Maat, as usual, drove in a run.

South Australia continues to lead the competition, while the New South Wales Patriots will never think of going quietly in this series or in this competition.

 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Richard BARTLETT (W) 6.0ip 4h 2er 6bb 2k; Chris LAWSON 2.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 3k;
Chris DOYLE 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 3k.

OFFENCE: Ryan MURPHY 4-5 (3RBI); Dan WILSON 3-4 (RBI); Jeremy CRESSWELL 1-3 (RBI); Stefan WELCH 1-3 (RBI);
Mathew SMITH 1-4 (RBI); David WASHINGTON 1-3.
 NSW
PITCHING: 

Todd GRATTAN (L) 3.1ip 4h 5er 7bb 1k; Vaughan HARRIS 3.0ip 4h 2er 0bb 5k;
Jarryd SULLIVAN 1.2ip 3h 0er 0bb 3k.

OFFENCE: David KANDILAS 2-3; Mitch DENING 1-3 (RBI); Jason POSPISHIL 1-3; Pat MAAT 1-4 (RBI).

Our now standard recognition for umpires Andrew BELL, Neil POULTON and Blake HALLIGAN..
 

 WEEK 7 SERIES
 Game 37
 Fri 18 Dec 2009

ACES SNEAK 3-2 WIN OVER QLD - 12 INNINGS!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 T H E
 VICTORIA 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 11 0
 QUEENSLAND 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1

Fortunately for the Victorian Aces, they were able to replace an ace with another ace for this series. It was terrible news for them that their No.1 starting pitcher this season, Casey Jones, could not make the trip with a minor shoulder injury. Thankfully, left-hander Adam Blackley has just stretched out sufficiently to make his first start of the season here. With 2009 stars like Travis Blackley and Daryn Cassidy unavailable this year so far, and others also missing, Old Mother Hubbard has found the Victorian bullpen almost bare at times this summer.

Even yet, Adam Blackley is not quite ready to go deep into games, still he did a mighty job for the Aces to set up a victory in this important opening game of the series. After allowing single runs in the second and third innings, Blackley settled in nicely to retire the last seven batters in succession, including four strike outs. He came up big for his team. Look out for Adam to really hit top gear after Christmas.

Another unassuming guy who had been vital in the pitching arsenal for Victoria is Matt Blackmore whose seven inning relief effort was more like that of a starting pitcher. Blackmore struck out eight over seven scoreless innings to collect a richly deserved win. He has been the man for all occasions for the Aces over recent campaigns and he has rarely let anyone down. Both “Blackers” can take a bow for the Aces today.

At time like this you have to feel sorry for a pitcher like Simon Morriss who, on any other day, would have been a game winning hero for Queensland. As a major credit to him, he re-grouped magnificently after enduring a torrid time in his last appearance. Morris struck out nine while allowing just one run across eight innings of control pitching. It was a quality start with a capital “Q” by Simon Morriss.

Former Atlanta pro Matt Timms was the man who, unfortunately, couldn’t quite lock down the victory for the Rams. First he saw the Aces tie the game in the top of the ninth, then he saw the winning run score in the top of the twelfth which caused him to leave the game with the “L Plate” displayed in his back window. It wasn’t his most convincing effort. With the go-ahead run already across the plate in the twelfth, Brett Montgomery immediately conjured a double play to end the inning… alas too late!

Andrew ‘Rusty’ Russell has long been admired by baseball insiders, especially in Victoria, yet he remains one of the best kept secrets in Australian baseball. During this Claxton Shield he has already convinced many of his prowess as an outfielder and you simply DO NOT run on his throwing arm. He has been solid with the stick and brilliant on occasions at national level, but never quite as punishing as he just about always is in club baseball. He is the only hitter to take the Triple Crown for batting in Victorian State League baseball for nearly fifty years now.

In this game he opened Victoria’s scoring with a one out double in the sixth, setting up Paul Weichard to drive him home. Russell walked in the tenth, before his biggest moment arrived in the twelfth with two on and one out in a protracted 2-2 ballgame. It would not have surprised any of his followers that ‘Rusty’ stepped up to lace the go ahead RBI single up the middle to effectively win the game. Russell prefers to allow others to enjoy the spotlight but he may not be able to fly under the radar for much longer at this rate! Good on you Andrew!

Former pro Josh Davies simply continues to sparkle during this competition and his 4-5 here included two doubles that were not maximised by the Aces, but they kept the lineup turning over as a most valuable contribution. His leadoff double in the ninth did set the table for Elliot Biddle to drive in the all important tying run just in the nick of time. Matt Lawman doubled and walked, while Scotty Wearne and Elliot Biddle both singled and walked.

For the Rams Ryan Battaglia cranked a solo home run over centre field in the second and he was later intentionally walked. Kiwi Daniel Lamb-Hunt was the only ‘Banana Bender’ to hit safely twice, while Joel Naughton singled and walked for twice on base. Credit the excellence of the Victorian pitching for the fact that the home team could only manage to cobble together six hits from twelve batting innings.

It was a vital victory for the travelling Aces who remain in the hunt for the playoffs. Those playoffs are starting to fade from the horizon for the Queenslanders.

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Adam BLACKLEY 5.0ip 3h 2er 1bb 5k; Matt BLACKMORE (W) 7.0ip 3h 0er 2bb 8k.

OFFENCE:  Josh DAVIES 4-5; Andrew RUSSELL 2-5 (RBI); Paul WEICHARD 1-3 (RBI); Elliot BIDDLE 1-4 (RBI);
Matt LAWMAN 1-4; Scott WEARNE 1-5; Scott McINTYRE 1-5.
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:

Simon MORRISS 8.0ip 6h 1er 1bb 9k; Matt TIMMS (L) 3.1ip 5h 2er 3bb 1k;
Brett MONTGOMERY 0.2ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k.

OFFENCE:  Daniel LAMB-HUNT 2-5; Joel NAUGHTON 1-4 (RBI); Ryan BATTAGLIA 1-4 (RBI); Mitch NILLSON 1-2;
Brad DUTTON 1-5.

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