CLAXTON SHIELD 2010 RESULTS

WEEK 8 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 17 12 5 0 .706 94 82 .534
 WESTERN AUST 18 11 7
0
.611 83 74 .529
 SOUTH AUSTRALIA

20

12 8 0 .600 106 76 .582
 NSW PATRIOTS 18 9 9 0 .500 87 80 .521
 QUEENSLAND RAMS 21 3 18 0 .143 60 127 .321

The following LINE SCORES for CLAXTON SHIELD GAMES are listed in "Reverse Order" so that you can view the LATEST GAMES FIRST!
 WEEK 8 SERIES
 Game 48
 Sat 9 Jan 2010

ACES COMPLETE DOUBLE-SWEEP 2-0 v QLD!

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

The Victorian Aces completed their fourth win of the weekend series to provide them with a double-sweep of the Queensland Rams in the 2010 Claxton Shield competition. Once again the Aces relied upon terrific pitching to blank the maroons in what was a tight, pitching dominated game to conclude the series. The Queenslanders, to their eternal credit, never stopped competing and we wouldn’t expect it to be any other way in this prestigious competition.

I guess we should have expected good pitching with five current or recent professionals on view, but history tells us that the pros don’t always dominate at national level. It was hard to pick who was the most impressive of the Victorian pitchers as Adam Bright, then Donnie Hendricks, then Ross Hipke kept the “goose eggs” aligned in sequence on the away half of the scoreboard. Bright was quite brilliant, yet Hendricks collected the win and his longer three inning outing was also highly impressive. Hipke earned a valuable save with very good work at the pressure end of a skinny two run game, including some splendid fielding off his own pitching.

Colorado ‘AA’ pro Adam Bright returned to action in brilliant style with his first ever start for the Victorians in his fifth Claxton Shield tour of duty. The specialist lefty reliever was limited to just two innings, but he could hardly have been more impressive with five strike out victims. After allowing a leadoff hit to Joel McInnes to start the game Bright simply mowed down the next six batters he faced in one of his most convincing performances at this level.

As good as Bright was, fellow lefty and former Atlanta pro Donavon Hendricks was just as good while keeping the clamps tightly locked on the Queensland hitters through three middle innings with five strike outs of his own. Donavon has been riding a bit of a roller-coaster during this Claxton campaign but this performance was definitely one of his best. Ross Hipke is another former Colorado Rockies’ pro and it was surely among his finest efforts for Victoria so far.

Boston Red Sox rookie leaguer Justin Erasmus also pitched well for Queensland but his offensive team mates were unable to help him out as he took a hard-luck defeat. Although he wasn’t nearly as dominant as his Victorian counterparts with the ball, Erasmus battled hard and only one of the two runs posted from him was earned. Veteran Brett Montgomery and former pro Matt Timms both did little wrong with an inning each of scoreless baseball at the end of a game that was always up for grabs.

Four Queenslanders managed a hit each against the miserly Aces arsenal and, while none of them was particularly memorable or worthy of special mention, leadoff hitter Joel McInness did his best to kick-start his team. His single opened the game, followed by his steal of second, then his steal of third base before the first inning was snuffed out.

In a game almost devoid of offensive highlights Brett Tamburrino really stood out for the Aces with a double, a walk and a RBI delivered on a ground ball out... his double was the only extra base hit in the game. Next in line was the in-form Hayden Dingle who singled and walked as the only other player to reach base more than once. Elliot Biddle drove in the other run with a ground out as both Victorian runs were scored on ground ball outs. Not one player from either team managed more than one hit... it was a game for the baseball purists.

The Victorian Aces swept to the top of the table after this four game series triumph but they have also finished their home fixtures for Claxton 2010. They will now hit the road west for head-to-head series with fellow playoff aspirants SA and WA. I will be following the action in person, so some of the game reports might be a little later until I return home after each series. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Adam BRIGHT 2.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 5k; Donavon HENDRICKS (W) 3.0ip 2h 0er 0bb 5k;
Ross HIPKE (S) 2.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 2k.

OFFENCE:  Brett TAMBURRINO 1-2 (RBI); Hayden DINGLE 1-2; Tristan McDONALD 1-2; Scott McINTYRE 1-2;
Scott WEARNE 1-3; Elliot BIDDLE 0-3 (RBI).
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:

Justin ERASMUS (L) 4.0ip 3h 1er 2bb 1k; Brett MONTGOMERY 1.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 0k;
Matthew TIMMS 1.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 1k.

OFFENCE:  Joel NAUGHTON 1-2; Mitch NILSSON 1-3; Joel McINNES 1-3; Shayne WATSON 1-3.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Greg HOWARD, David MILTON and Mark GOODING.
 

 WEEK 8 SERIES
 Game 47
 Sat 9 Jan 2010

VICTORIA RAVAGES RAMS 9-3 IN GEELONG!

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

For the third successive game this weekend the home standing Victorian Aces out-pitched and out-hit the travelling Queensland Rams to secure another series victory with a dominant 9-3 win. While Victoria’s pitching pair walked only one and hit one batter through their seven innings, the Rams hurlers walked seven and added three wild pitches across their six pitching innings. If the Aces offence wasn’t already good enough to grasp control of the game, they surely got a leg-up from the wayward pitching.

As often mentioned, Geelong local Dean Barker can struggle for control at times, yet when he has his stuff working he can be a mighty difficult customer as he was on this occasion. Barker induced a vital double-play in the first inning to escape a jam with only one run scored but, after that, he was pretty much in control. Only a fourth inning error extended the frame for Daniel Lamb-Hunt to blast a booming home run over centre field for two unearned runs. It was a rare mistake from Barker in this game and one that would not have occurred if not for the error.

Like fine wine evergreen righty Russell Spear seems to be getting maybe more effective than ever with his wealth of experience coming to the fore. Russ jammed the coffin lid firmly shut with two scoreless innings in relief of Barker. He retired all six batters he faced with two fanned and one struck out looking.

Whereas the Victorian pitching was very good, the same could not be said for the Queensland throwers in this game. Chris Lamb started reasonably well and only one of the three runs he allowed was earned, yet it is hard to make a case for the four walks that set the pattern for a very untidy pitching effort by his team. Hot Philadelphia pro prospect Drew Naylor hasn’t often found his best on Australia’s national stage and this was obviously one of his worst days. In a nightmare outing that gave him the loss Naylor traded three runs for just one out, while walking two and sprinkling three wild pitches... YUK!

Young Texas Rangers’ rookie pro Aaron Thompson was easily the best of the Queensland pitchers on this occasion; however, sadly for him, this wasn’t saying a heck of a lot. At least he was much neater than his predecessors on the mound and a couple of fielding errors didn’t make life any easier for him at the end of a lop-sided loss.

Cleveland Indians’ pro Trent Baker continued his productive summer with 2-3 as the only plural hitter for the visitors, while young Phillies’ prospect Alan Schoenberger drove in their only earned run of the contest. Kiwi Daniel Lamb-Hunt produced the one spectacular highlight of the game with his sweet shot that went yard for a two run bomb as a rare moment of joy for the travelling team.

Geelong local Elliot Biddle helped out his club mate Barker with a double, a single and a ground out RBI. Former Championship game MVP Brett Tamburrino returned to the Aces squad with good effect via his 2-4 that included a RBI. Power hitter Andrew Russell lashed a RBI double to add to his walk, while Hayden Dingle and Scott McIntyre each produced two-RBI doubles of their own. Gold Glove catcher Grant Karlsen singled and walked to compliment his consistently sterling defensive work. Dangerous Paul Weichard was issued with three free passes to keep his on base percentage healthy.

The victory ensures the Victorian Aces another key series win and they can now press for a sweep in the nightcap series finale. The Queensland Rams could well be excused for wanting to see the back of this 2010 Claxton competition that has been a testing one for them.

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Dean BARKER (W) 5.0ip 5h 1er 1bb 4k; Russell SPEAR 2.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 3k.

OFFENCE:  Elliot BIDDLE 2-4 (RBI); Brett TAMBURRINO 2-4 (RBI); Andrew RUSSELL 1-3 (RBI);
Hayden DINGLE 1-4 (2RBI); Scott McINTYRE 1-3 (2RBI); Grant KARLSEN 1-2.
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:

Chris LAMB 3.0ip 2h 1er 4bb 2k; Drew NAYLOR (L) 0.1ip 3h 3er 2bb 0k;
Aaron THOMPSON 2.2ip 3h 2er 1bb 3k.

OFFENCE:  Trent BAKER 2-3; Alan SCHOENBERGER 1-3 (RBI); Daniel LAMB-HUNT 1-2 (2RBI); Todd FAIRBROTHER 1-3.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Stewart HOWE, Mark GOODING and David MILTON.
 

 WEEK 8 SERIES
 Game 46
 Sat 9 Jan 2010

WA TAKES HOME SERIES WITH 11-3 WIN v SA!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 SOUTH AUST 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 2
 WEST AUST 1 0 0 0 1 0 7 2 X 11 14 0

There is an old boxing adage that has stood the test of time and that is “when you have the champion on the ropes, you had better take that opportunity to finish him off”. This baseball contest between SA and defending champions from WA was to prove, once again, that if you let the champ haul himself off the floor he will very often make you regret it later. In this case South Australia scored three runs in the opening half inning and spurned chances to score more, only to see WA deliver a knockout blow with seven runs in the seventh inning for a 2-1 series victory.

WA’s Mark Kelly has enjoyed some exhilarating moments in recent Claxton Shield history, including his 2008 Championship Series MVP, but this outing would have to be close to the worst moment he has endured at national level. I can’t remember a time when Kelly has been even remotely close to being given the hook in the very first inning, but it happened here. Two runs had scored and five SA batters had got on base before he snaffled the first out but, when a third run was scored with two out, it was an unusually early shower for the Heat starter.

A decisive factor in the game was the splendid long-relief effort supplied by Cincinnati Reds’ rookie pro Nathan Driessen who really came of age as a Claxton Shield pitcher with his 4.1 innings that turned the tidal wave of SA offence into a trickle. His effort, along with those of late relievers Murphy and Wise, who sound a bit like a comedy duo, put a halt to the visitor’s scoring and thereby enabled WA to rally late for a memorable triumph. Todd Murphy was terrific again with three scoreless frames for the win, while Detroit Tigers’ pro Brendan Wise struck out the side in the eighth to put an exciting exclamation mark on the victory.

After posting three runs in the first inning, SA looked likely to add more in the second with the first two runners aboard and only one out until a “funky” double-steal saw the speedy David Washington out at home plate trying to sneak a run on the play. It proved to be a rally killer for SA and they never really threatened again with a couple more runners caught stealing later in the game.

Washington batted three times to lead off innings and he reached each time with two walks and a single; however, he was erased twice on the basepaths to cancel out some of that good work. Stefan Welch proved his batting quality again with his 2-4, while Ryan Murphy’s two RBI double in the first was the big blow for the guests. Mathew Smith supplied South’s only other RBI in the first inning.

Meanwhile that mighty war horse Darren Fidge was made to battle hard to retain the lead that SA had built in the first as the West Aussies chipped away to get within a run when ‘Fidgey’ departed with two out in the fifth. A fielding error early in the fifth cost him WA’s second run, unearned, and it may have prevented him from continuing. This set the scene for yet another foreign import to make his debut for SA when left-arm pitcher Ricky Meinhold took over. The Independent League pitcher from California must have thought that pitching at national level in Australia felt easy after retiring the first four he faced, but things went a long way south for the new South Aussie in the seventh inning.

Meinhold probably thought that he might get out of the inning when the second out came with a runner thrown out at home plate, but this proved to be his last victim in the game as the next five WA batters reached and he was eventually tagged for seven earned runs to take an agonising loss from his debut outing of just two innings... OUCH!

Former Golden Arm giant Dushan Ruzic was again distracted by the Heat’s running game when he took over the mound from Meinhold. His first action was to baulk for another run to score and he later allowed another run to score when he botched a pickoff attempt at first base. After cashing in some for his new American bullpen partner in the seventh, the big fellow was saddled with a couple of his own in the eighth as a resurgent WA ran away with the spoils of a landslide victory.

Those tremendously talented Kennelly brothers, Tim and Matt, were at it again for the West with a combined 5-10 plus six RBIs and you can read for yourself how they split those statistics. They just shaded another young pro, Chris House, who delivered two RBIs from his 2-4 plus a free passage to first. Yet another WA pro catcher Allan de San Miguel added two walks to his valuable 2-3, while Mitch Graham batted 2-5 with a RBI. Former professional Dean White contributed the other run batted in for the winners.

The 2-1 series win for West Australia finally loosened South Australia’s grip on the top position and it now looms as a dog fight for those playoff berths. Much will be revealed when the Victorian Aces head west to Adelaide and Perth over the next couple of weeks!

 WEST AUSTRALIA
PITCHING:

Mark KELLY 0.2ip 4h 3er 2bb 1k; Nathan DRIESSEN 4.1ip 2h 0er 1bb 3k;
Todd MURPHY (W) 3.0ip 2h 0er 1bb 1k; Brendan WISE 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 3k.

OFFENCE:  Tim KENNELLY 3-5 (2RBI); Matt KENNELLY 2-5 (4RBI); Chris HOUSE 2-4 (2RBI); Allan de SAN MIGUEL 2-3;
Mitch GRAHAM 2-5 (RBI); Lachlan DALE 1-3; Dean WHITE 1-4 (RBI); Dallas CHRISTISON 1-4.
 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Darren FIDGE 4.2ip 6h 1er 3bb 4k; Ricky MEINHOLD (L) 2.0ip 6h 7er 2bb 2k;
Dushan RUZIC 1.1ip 2h 2er 2bb 0k.

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

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

 WEEK 8 SERIES
 Game 45
 Fri 8 Jan 2010

VICTORIA PREVAILS 3-1 v QUEENSLAND!

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

My aged memory might let me down here, but I don’t think that I’ve seen Queensland’s James Albury pitch before I did in this game? Well, I can tell you that I was mightily impressed with the young fellow who has done some hard yards working his way back into main stream professional baseball via the Independent Leagues. Had it not been for a lack of run support, and him maybe running low on fuel towards the end of his outing, the Victorian Aces didn’t really look like getting on top of him. OK, Albury took the loss, but don’t get me started on the vagaries of analysing wins and losses for pitchers, as opposed to how well they might have pitched... James Albury was very good even though he lost!

I’m sure that some parochial Victorians will chastise me for opening with praise for their losing opponents and I’m prepared to accept that on this occasion because, although I was impressed with Albury, the Aces’ trio of pitchers who secured the victory were also most impressive. Starter Shane Lindsay has long been highly regarded, yet we haven’t seen him at this level since he played with the 2004 Aussie Provincials... remember them? Anyway, the seasoned Colorado pro, who reached ‘AA’ level this year eased his way back into Australian major league baseball quite nicely with a decent two inning start for his home state here.

Even better, not for the first time, was ‘Mercurial Matty’ Blackmore who, to keep the M’s going, mesmerised the Rams batters with two strike outs per inning. It was the highlight of his fantastic three innings that garnered him yet another win at Claxton level. I don’t know why his off speed pitches are so hard to hit, or possibly to identify, from where I watch them but they obviously are for those guys with the bats in their hands?

Blackmore took the “W”, but he still handed a tight situation to super-stalwart Russell Spear whose 15-year AMLB career goes way back to the 1995 Melbourne Monarchs in the marvellous ABL. Spear, as I have said, doesn’t pitch a lot in club ball these days, but he demonstrated his class here again in this game to lock down another most valuable save for his team. Winning is all that counts with him!

To rapidly dispose of the Rams three safe hitters; Watson, Naughton and Lamb-Hunt were the chosen few to hit safely against the Vics this time, while Watson also walked. Respected journeyman pro Brad Dutton has a reputation that precedes him and this might explain why he was walked and then later hit by a pitch... it’s a preferable strategy than pitching to him we suppose?

As a Victorian devotee I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to give due praise to one of the really good power hitters we have seen in State League baseball over a long period and, today, I finally have the opportunity to feature Hayden ‘Ring-a-Ding’ Dingle. Hayden drove in two of the vital runs with a double and a single in a contest where runs were at a premium. Our sources tell us that Dingle is struggling with a persistent back injury and, while he would prefer to play first base, he refuses to make excuses while delivering as the designated hitter. Scott McIntyre, who has thrived at Claxton level, was the other Victorian to put a critical run on the score sheet for the hosts.  

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Shane LINDSAY 2.0ip 1h 0er 2bb 2k; Matt BLACKMORE (W) 3.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 6k;
Russell SPEAR (S) 2.0ip 1h 1er 1bb 4k.

OFFENCE:  Hayden DINGLE 2-3 (2RBI); Scott McINTYRE 1-2 (RBI); Brett TAMBURRINO 1-2; Josh DAVIES 1-3.
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:

James ALBURY (L) 6.0ip 5h 3er 2bb 5k.

OFFENCE:  Shayne WATSON 1-2 (RBI); Joel NAUGHTON 1-3; Daniel LAMB-HUNT 1-3.

Our now standard recognition for umpires David MILTON, Greg HOWARD and Stewart HOWE.
 

 WEEK 8 SERIES
 Game 44
 Fri 8 Jan 2010

SOUTH BITES BACK TO BEAT THE HEAT 6-4!

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

We know that we have told you this story many times before; however, it is one fabled baseball story that can never be told too often for the benefit of young players… you simply cannot defend walks… or hit batters for that matter! If casual observers want to find a way to explain how the losing WA team could out-hit the victorious South Aussies, then they need look no further than the walks column.

It all started pretty well for the WA Heat with Dan Schmidt on the bump and he left the game after five solid innings with one unearned run scored in the fifth to trim his lead to 2-1. When two more runs tacked on in the bottom of the seventh WA then lead 4-2 and they haven’t often lost from this position over the last couple of years, especially at home in Perth.

American Terrence Wohlever took over from Schmidt and he benefitted from a couple of double-plays in the sixth and seventh before putting the first two SA batters aboard to lead off the horrible eighth for the hosts. For some reason Wohlever must have taken a strange dislike of SA star Stefan Welch who he managed to “plonk” twice during his short pitching tenure… but Welch was to have the last laugh!

Warwick Saupold has been more than handy for WA since joining the champions for Claxton 2009, but he really endured a sobering time at Thornlie in this game when the air gushed out of the Heat’s balloon. A sacrifice bunt gave him his only out before he was told to fill the open base by intentionally walking Michael Collins. He then unintentionally walked Talbot and Wilson to push across a couple of runs before Mathew Smith slapped a RBI single to snatch the game away from the West. Benn Grice restored sanity when he took the pitching reins for WA at the end... the horse had already bolted.

Another American, Richard Bartlett probably wasn’t as good as Schmidt in their head-to-head starting battle but he did go deeper for a seven inning quality start and his bullpen mate Chris Lawson ensured that he collected the win. Bartlett walked four and these were also costly when two out doubles in the third and seventh saw all four of WA’s runs posted. Lawson was very good on this occasion to preserve the two run lead for a well deserved save.

Aussie recruit Mathew Smith was the batting star for South with his 3-4 that produced two big RBIs, ahead of Dan Wilson who singled and walked for his RBI. Mets’ pro Stefan Welch singled and was hit by pitches twice, while Brendan Pett was issued a pair of free passes.

Nick Kimpton, once again, headlined the Heat offence with his 2-4 that included a two RBI double to just surpass import Dallas Christison who walked to add to his two RBI double. Another import, Bryant Krause, walked and singled to keep him in our spotlight.

This win by the ‘Croweaters’ keeps them atop the 2010 Claxton Shield table as we await a deciding game that could be very important for both teams as the playoffs loom large.

 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Richard BARTLETT (W) 7.0ip 5h 4er 4bb 2k; Chris LAWSON (S) 2.0ip 2h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Mathew SMITH 3-4 (2RBI); Dan WILSON 1-3 (RBI); Stefan WELCH 1-3; Jeremy CRESSWELL 1-4;
Nick TALBOT 0-0 (RBI).
 WEST AUSTRALIA
PITCHING:

Daniel SCHMIDT 5.0ip 3h 0er 2bb 4k; Terrence WOHLEVER 2.0ip 1h 2er 2bb 1k;
Warwick SAUPOLD (L) 0.1ip 1h 1er 3bb 0k; Benn GRICE 1.2ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE:  Nick KIMPTON 2-4 (2RBI); Dallas CHRISTISON 1-2 (2RBI); Lachlan DALE 1-3; Chris HOUSE 1-3;
Bryant KRAUSE 1-3; Allan de SAN MIGUEL 1-4.

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

 WEEK 8 SERIES
 Re-Scheduled Game 41
 From WEEK 7 SERIES
 Fri 8 Jan 2010

ACES ROUT RAMS 8-1 IN RE-SCHEDULED GAME

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

Firstly, we should set the scenario for this game and this home series for Victoria against Queensland at Geelong. This opening game of the four-game series is a re-scheduled game from the postponed finale of the last away series in Brisbane just before Christmas. The two double-header fixtures would comprise four seven inning games and this opener was played as if Queensland was the home team, batting second.

We did mention that Victorian star Adam Blackley would be ready to crank it up in the New Year and he definitely made good on our prediction with a masterly display here. Adam is taking on similar effectiveness as his former major league brother Travis these days and he is a very formidable opponent. After starting the game with five zeroes on the scoreboard, Blackley allowed just one run from his winning six inning start, while striking out seven to anchor the victory for the Aces. Experienced club mate ‘Lights Out Lee’ Hogan put the lid on the game for Victoria with a quick and clinical last inning that vanished with just a handful of pitches.

Simon Morriss was a gallant pitcher for Queensland in their extra-inning loss to the Aces in the previous series, but he found life more difficult at Geelong when the hosts hit him hard to jump away with four runs on eight hits from his five inning start. Newcomer Jarrod Bruce found the Claxton Shield kitchen a bit too warm at this stage, even though all three of the runs he allowed were unearned. Rod Wodson was fairly good when the game was already out of sight for the Rams.

Victoria’s former multi-skill professional Josh Davies doesn’t play for Geelong in State League baseball, but he might have to consider a transfer if he continues to hit like he has at Geelong during this Claxton Shield competition. Just when you might be thinking that he couldn’t possibly maintain such a level of hitting success he comes up with another stunning 4-4 game with two RBIs… PHEW! Not far behind him for prolific hitting at Geelong this summer is Matt Lawman who was Victoria’s only other multi-hitter with his 2-3 plus a run driven in.

The big damage in this game was done when Andrew Russell and Josh Davies singled to set the table for Paul Weichard and then Brett Tamburrino to both hammer similar two run homers over right field. The four successive hits resulted in a four-spot that gave Blackley more runs than he needed. Weichard and Tamburrino also walked during the game, while ‘Rusty’ Russell collected himself an ugly bruise on his side when he was drilled by a pitch to lead off the fifth. Elliot Biddle also singled and walked for twice on base.

Such was the domination of Blackley and Hogan with the ball for Victoria that only Dutton, Fairbrother and Nilsson managed a solitary hit apiece. Brad Dutton’s RBI double broke the shutout as a rare moment of joy for the Rams in this game. 38yo Todd Fairbrother returned to the AMLB stage for the first time since Claxton 2005 to add another chapter to his career that started way back with the 1993 East Coast Cougars in the ABL where he both pitched and batted. At the other end of the career scale is young Mitch Nilsson who is the latest in the production line of baseball stars from the Nilsson lineage.

Having won both games at Holloway Field in this series, the win here gives Victoria a sweep of the away series and, most importantly, a confident start for the remaining three games this weekend.

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Adam BLACKLEY (W) 6.0ip 3h 1er 2bb 7k; Lee HOGAN 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k.

OFFENCE:  Josh DAVIES 4-4 (2RBI); Matt LAWMAN 2-3 (RBI); Paul WEICHARD 1-3 (3RBI);
Brett TAMBURRINO 1-3 (2RBI); Andrew RUSSELL 1-3; Elliot BIDDLE 1-3; Grant KARLSEN 1-4;
Hayden DINGLE 1-4; Scott WEARNE 1-5.
 QUEENSLAND
PITCHING:

Simon MORRISS (L) 5.0ip 8h 4er 2bb 3k; Jarrod BRUCE 0.1ip 3h 0er 0bb 0k;
Rodney WODSON 1.2ip 2h 0er 1bb 2k.

OFFENCE:  Brad DUTTON 1-3 (RBI); Todd FAIRBROTHER 1-2; Mitch NILSSON 1-3.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Mark GOODING, Stewart HOWE and Greg HOWARD.
 

 WEEK 8 SERIES
 Game 43
 Thu 7 Jan 2010

WEST AUST BEATS SOUTH AUST 8-3!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 SOUTH AUST 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 3 9 1
 WEST AUST 0 0 3 0 2 3 0 0 X 8 10 0

Western Australia’s former professional pitcher Dylan Peacock was much tidier than South Australia’s current pro Paul Mildren in their head to head battle of the starting pitchers. If this wasn’t enough to decide this 8-3 ballgame, then the uncharacteristically shaky relief effort of SA’s former US pro Dushan Ruzic certainly made sure that there was no way back into this game for the ladder leaders from the mid South.

Former Anaheim Angel Peacock took his impressive record to 4-0 for Claxton 2010 with a very efficient start for the hosts at Thornlie. He didn’t allow eight hits across his solid seven innings of work to compound into anything more than three runs and this was a key factor to the positive result for the Heat. With the game safely in hand Todd Murphy used a timely… when aren’t they?... double play to escape the eighth without score. This allowed seasoned AROOS’ pro Brendan Wise to make a fairly comfortable return to the mound this summer via a scoreless ninth.

Unheralded Steven O’Connor was quite impressive pitching for SA at the end of this lost cause, but it was not a memorable outing for either Mildren or Ruzic on this occasion. Even though he was untidy, Mildren could claim that he was still well in this game until a dropped pop-up in the fifth cost him the two unearned runs that saw the momentum swing stronger than the “Fremantle Doctor”. That said, it is hard to make much of a case for Mildren who served up three doubles among his six hits allowed, plus the ugly addition of three walks, three wild pitches and two hit batters. He could not complain about taking this loss.

If the momentum had already swung violently towards the west, then it was only additional salt in the wounds for South Aussie when big Dushan Ruzic suffered an unfamiliar melt-down after taking the ball to start the home half of the sixth. After a leadoff single to Dean White, Ruzic seemed to become distracted by the base runners when White stole a base and Nick Kimpton singled. Dushan baulked to send one run across the plate then followed with a walk to Allan de San Miguel. A canny double-steal by the Heat kept the thermometer rising inside Ruzic who was punished by Tim Kenelly’s two RBI single. The inning ended with four stolen bases contributing to three runs that killed off the contest.

‘Nitro Nick’ Kimpton added three hits for WA, yet he was perhaps pipped for the offensive award by American Independent League import Dallas Christison who batted 2-3 with two RBIs plus a walk. Tim Kennelly and Lachlan Dale both supplied two runs batted in, while another American, Bryant Krause from Oregon State, was welcomed to Australia’s big league with a walk and a hit by pitched ball.

Another local product from the good old "US of A" is South Australia’s David Washington who was the only one among SA’s eight safe hitters to bag a pair. Washington, Pett and Cresswell were the visitor’s three run producers for the game. Cresswell also walked, while Pett was also nailed by a pitch.

In the end it was a positive opening game victory for the West Aussies as they continue to press for a championship three-peat. SA, on the other hand, haven’t done themselves too much harm.

 WEST AUSTRALIA
PITCHING:

Dylan PEACOCK (W) 7.0ip 8h 3er 1bb 4k; Todd MURPHY 1.0ip 1h 0er 1bb 0k;
Brendan WISE 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k.

OFFENCE:  Nick KIMPTON 3-5; Dallas CHRISTISON 2-3 (2RBI); Tim KENNELLY 1-4 (2RBI); Lachlan DALE 1-4 (2RBI);
Chris HOUSE 1-1; Dean WHITE 1-4; Mitch GRAHAM 1-4.
 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Paul MILDREN (L) 5.0ip 6h 3er 3bb 5k; Dushan RUZIC 1.0ip 3h 3er 1bb 1k;
Steven O'CONNOR 2.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: David WASHINGTON 2-4 (RBI); Brendan PETT 1-2 (RBI); Jeremy CRESSWELL 1-3 (RBI);
Josh CAKEBREAD 1-3; Stefan WELCH 1-4; Ryan MURPHY 1-4; Ben WIGMORE 1-4; Mathew SMITH 1-4.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Travis HATCH, Lou BONOMI and Jon BYRNE.