CLAXTON SHIELD 2010 RESULTS

WEEK 9 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 21 14 7 0 .667 123 108 .533
 SOUTH AUSTRALIA

24

14 10 0 .583 132 105 .557
 WESTERN AUST 21 12 9
0
.571 104 101 .507
 NSW PATRIOTS 21 11 10 0 .524 114 101 .530
 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 9 SERIES
 Game 54
 Sat 16 Jan 2010

VIC ACES WIN AWAY SERIES WITH 8-3 WIN!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 VICTORIA 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 8 15 2
 SOUTH AUST 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 0

For the fourth successive game this weekend in Adelaide another game was decided in much the same way a tug-of-war contest is when one side takes the “snap” at the start and, generally, this advantage is very hard to peg back. On this occasion the visiting Victorian Aces carried over their momentum from the first game of the double header to jump upon SA’s stalwart starter Darren Fidge. From their perspective it was just as well that they did rattle ‘Fidgey’ early because, as he usually does, he became stronger as he settled into the game.

No, it wasn’t Darren Fidge’s very best game yet, once again, he showed plenty of heart to take the ball into the eighth inning and he put up five noughts in a row after the second frame. He did the primary job for any starter by keeping his team in the contest, even though the early innings tagged him with the loss. Relievers Hayden Beard and Ricky Meinhold were unable to keep the Aces close enough for a home stand rally near the end of the game.

Star outfielder Andrew ‘Rusty’ Russell maintained his hot hitting from the early game with another 3-4 and he was the man to get the offence rolling in this game with his solo blast over right field in the very first inning… Russell finished the day with six hits from the two games plus he also walked in this one. He out-shone Victoria’s best Game 2 pitcher, versatile Elliot Biddle, who haunted the bases with 3-5 and Paul Weichard whose 2-4 included a three RBI double and a walk.

Quality infielder Scotty Wearne broke out of a quiet series with two separate RBI doubles and a walk here, while backup catcher Tristan McDonald contributed well with 2-4 and a run driven in. Josh Davies put the icing on another fine weekend with his crushing home run over centre field in the last, while Brett Tamburrino singled and walked as a key player for the Aces at Norwood Oval this series.

Victoria’s lefty starter Dean Barker couldn’t quite find his radar in Adalaide as well as he does at his home in Geelong, but he battled hard and he enjoyed the welcome run support that kept his team in front. He was relieved after 2.2 innings in quite magnificent fashion by modern day Victorian pitching hero Matty Blackmore who added another superb win to his growing Claxton Shield credentials. Blackmore struck out six and he allowed just one run to anchor the series win for the Aces. Shane Lindsay struck out the final hitter to end his weekend on a much better note.

Little known Scott Gladstone, who last played for SA in Claxton 2004, was the only player with two hits for the red shirts and his 2-4 included a RBI. The only other run was supplied by David Washington on a ground ball out. Dan Wilson singled and walked as a solid contribution, while Ben Wigmore was kept at bay by virtue of a pair of walks that took the bat out of his hands.

After losing the opening two games of the weekend, the Victorian Aces demonstrated plenty of spunk to hit back with two vital wins on the concluding Saturday. This gives the Aces a chance to secure top position next weekend in Perth. The South Australians are assured of a playoff position after completing their preliminary games this weekend.

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Dean BARKER 2.2ip 2h 0er 4bb 3k; Matt BLACKMORE (W) 6.0ip 3h 1er 2bb 6k;
Shane LINDSAY 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE:  Andrew RUSSELL 3-4 (RBI); Elliot BIDDLE 3-5; Paul WEICHARD 2-4 (3RBI); Scott WEARNE 2-5 (2RBI);
Tristan McDONALD 2-4 (RBI); Hayden DINGLE 1-4; Brett TAMBURRINO 1-4; Josh DAVIES 1-5 (RBI).
 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Darren FIDGE 7.1ip 10h 7er 4bb 7k; Hayden BEARD 0.1ip 3h 0er 0bb 0k;
Ricky MEINHOLD 1.1ip 2h 1er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Scott GLADSTONE 2-4 (RBI); Dan WILSON 1-2; Mathew SMITH 1-4; Jeremy CRESSWELL 1-5;
David WASHINGTON 0-5 (RBI).

Our now standard recognition for umpires TBA.
 

 WEEK 9 SERIES
 Game 53
 
Sat 16 JAN 2010

PATRIOTS OUT-SLUG WEST AUSSIES 11-7!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 WEST AUST 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 4 7 8 4
 NSW 0 3 0 1 0 0 5 2 X 11 16 3

Paul Mildren aside the pitchers were often doing it tough throughout this Week 9 series of the 2010 Claxton Shield competition. This deciding game at Campbelltown was to be another awful experience for most of the men throwing the ball, apart from star veteran Craig Anderson who, unfortunately, isn’t yet ready to stretch out too far for the Patriots. He was good for three scoreless innings but it was hard work for most others, especially those travelling from the far west. The pitchers could also point to an ugly defensive game for part of their problems with a total of seven errors for the game.

Newcomer Jarret Commane has been pretty good in his debut competition and, although he walked four, he was also stressed by errors and only one of the three runs he allowed was earned. Commane was worthy of the win.

It was just as well that New South Wales had piled up a big lead by the time that young Jarryd Sullivan was handed the ball for his second appearance at this level. The former Australian U19 player and Pittsburgh Pirates’ signee struck out the first batter he faced but then he loaded the bases for Tim Kennelly to launch a GRAND SLAM home run over centre field. It is all part of the learning experience Jarryd… you are not the first and you won’t be the last to realise how good the standard is at Australian national level. Canadian Lee Ingram snatched a save by striking out the final hitter of the game.

Oakland Athletics pro pitcher Scott Mitchinson made his first appearance in this competition for the Heat and, while we expect that he was somewhat rusty, it was a below-par performance for the quality hurler. He allowed five hits, as did Mark Kelly who was unable to halt the NSW bob-sled that was racing away downhill. Benn Grice couldn’t buy an out for WA and even seasoned AROOS pro Brendan Wise found it hard to get on top of the batters at Gilchrist Oval. The WA pitchers issued just two free passes for the game but, let’s face it, sixteen hits is a LOT!

Adding to the list of monster offensive efforts this weekend was former dual-skill pro Tim Atherton who hammered a single, two doubles and a home run over left field to heap four RBIs on the home team pile. Former Florida pro Trent D’Antonio was hot again with two doubles and a walk to shade Jason Pospishil and Pat Maat who batted 2-4 each with two and one RBIs respectively. Experienced Andrew Graham and Tim Auty both batted 2-5. Michael Lysaught finished off a strong series with a two RBI double and a hit by pitch.

Tim Kennelly’s ninth inning GRAND SALAMI might have come a bit too late to help the Heat, while brother Matt added two walks to his single in another very good effort for the “Bash Brothers”. Renowned stars Mitch Graham and Luke Hughes both contributed 2-5 with a run batted in each for West Australia. Nick Kimpton delivered a RBI via a sacrifice fly to go along with his hit by pitch and a free pass.

Pitchers from both teams will be glad to see the back of Gilchrist Oval after the hitters blasted baseballs all over the place this weekend. New South Wales kept their heads just above the water level with a 2-1 series win and they will now need some help from the Victorians in Perth to edge into the playoff picture.

 NSW
PITCHING: 

Craig ANDERSON 3.0ip 1h 0er 0bb 2k; Jarret COMMANE (W) 5.0ip 3h 1er 4bb 4k;
Jarryd SULLIVAN 0.2ip 4h 4er 2bb 2k; Lee INGRAM (S) 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Luke HUGHES 2-5 (RBI); Mitch GRAHAM 2-5 (RBI); Nick KIMPTON 1-2 (RBI); Matt KENNELLY 1-3;
Lachlan DALE 1-4; Tim KENNELLY 1-5 (4RBI).
 WEST AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Scott MITCHINSON (L) 2.2ip 5h 3er 2bb 4k; Mark KELLY 3.2ip 5h 3er 0bb 3k;
Benn GRICE 0.0ip 3h 3er 0bb 0k; Brendan WISE 1.2ip 3h 2er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Tim ATHERTON 4-5 (4RBI); Jason POSPISHIL 2-4 (2RBI); Pat MAAT 2-4 (RBI); Trent D'ANTONIO 2-4;
Tim AUTY 2-5; Andrew GRAHAM 2-5; Michael LYSAUGHT 1-4 (2RBI); Mark HOLLAND 1-5 (RBI).

Our now standard recognition for umpires Trent THOMAS, Robert CRAWFORD and Matt CARTER.
 

 WEEK 9 SERIES
 Game 52
 Sat 16 Jan 2010

VICTORIA ENDS SA HOME STREAK 13-5!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 VICTORIA 5 1 0 4 0 1 2     13 14 2
 SOUTH AUST 3 0 1 1 0 0 0     5 6 0

It was very evident that there was plenty at stake in this game and this series as another good crowd, yet not as big as on the Friday night, arrived to witness South Australia and Victoria square off again. This game turned into a bit of a “war of attrition” as both teams traded home runs followed immediately by hit batters as there could be no doubt that these rivals clearly meant business. I suppose that the Aces finally found one way to cool off the blazing bat of Michael Collins after hitting him with a pitch and later walking him twice… whatever it takes I guess?

Adam Blackley would most likely have started an earlier game in this series had he been available, but he arrived just in time to swing the series momentum for the Aces who ultimately bolted away for a 13-5 win in a game that was still within range at 6-4 after three innings. Blackley has been a lot sharper than he was on this occasion after stepping off the plane in Adelaide and the five walks he issued was most uncharacteristic for him.

However; most importantly, he battled hard to keep his team ahead in the important contest and he handed a solid situation to evergreen Russell Spear who mopped up the win. As we have stated a few times this summer, Spear has been a revelation in his 14th season of Australian major league baseball and he finished this game off in impressive style with five punch outs headlining his 2.2 scoreless innings.

This time it was Victoria’s turn to leap out of the starting gate with five runs in the top of the first to put SA’s monster Dushan Ruzic quickly under pressure. Once again he seemed too concerned with base runners and nine runs on ten hits from 3.2 innings was more than enough to consign him to defeat. Steve O’Connor and Nick Talbot were much neater out of the bullpen for South but there wasn’t a lot that they could do to change the course of the contest by that stage.

Victoria’s outfield stars Andrew Russell and Paul Weichard were the consistent table setters for the Aces with 3-4 each as both doubled once and singled twice. The men to cash them in were, firstly, recent major leaguer Justin Huber who nailed a two run jack over left field in the first and he later followed with a double. Next was Brett Tamburrino who drove in two with his rocket shot homer over right field, another with a sacrifice fly and yet another with a hit by pitched ball.

Tamburrino’s club mate Josh Davies built upon his brilliant form with 2-2 that comprised a two RBI double, a RBI single, a sacrifice fly RBI and he also walked. Young AROOS star Jimmy Beresford made his presence felt after returning to play this series with a RBI single after he had been plonked by a pitch earlier in the game. His club mate Grant Karlsen picked up where he left off from Friday night with a single followed by his two run blast in the last that flew over the deepest part of Norwood’s centre field.

Not nearly as deep as that was the half-hit by SA’s Ryan Murphy that wrapped around the “Pesky Pole” at left field to supply a three run response for the hosts in the bottom of the first. This followed a missed double-play opportunity that would have blanked the inning for the unfortunate Blackley. While that was the big shot for the South Aussies, ‘Bashing Ben’ Wigmore produced a timely reminder of his devastating potential with two rifled doubles that ended a rare quiet sequence for our new Hall-of-Famer. Leadoff livewire David Washington walked twice to add to his single while Stefan Welch was hit by a pitch to push across a run.

The Victorians had hit back hard after a pair of defeats to start this weekend in Adelaide and they will now fancy a chance to take the away part of this series in the nightcap of the double header. South Australia will seek to win both series from the Vics 2-1. Once again, the result could be crucial?

 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Adam BLACKLEY 4.1ip 5h 4er 5bb 4k; Russell SPEAR (W) 2.2ip 1h 0er 0bb 5k.

OFFENCE:  Andrew RUSSELL 3-4; Paul WEICHARD 3-4; Josh DAVIES 2-2 (4RBI); Justin HUBER 2-4 (2RBI);
Grant KARLSEN 2-4 (2RBI); Brett TAMBURRINO 1-2 (4RBI); James BERESFORD 1-3 (RBI).
 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Dushan RUZIC (L) 3.2ip 10h 9er 2bb 2k; Steve O'CONNOR 2.1ip 3h 2er 0bb 1k;
Nick TALBOT 1.0ip 1h 2er 0bb 2k.

OFFENCE: Ben WIGMORE 2-4 (RBI); David WASHINGTON 1-2; Jeremy CRESSWELL 1-3; Angus ROEGER 1-3;
Ryan MURPHY 1-4 (3RBI); Stefan WELCH 0-3 (RBI).

Our now standard recognition for umpires TBA.
 

 WEEK 9 SERIES
 Game 51
 Sat 16
Jan 2010

WEST HITS BACK FOR 12-8 WIN OVER PATRIOTS!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 WEST AUST 2 0 0 1 1 7 1     12 13 3
 NSW 2 2 0 1 0 2 1     8 13 0

Quite often over the more recent Claxton Shield years we have rejoiced our favourite pitching dominated baseball games that are designed perfectly for the baseball purist… this was not one of those. In fact, on the contrary, this seven inning game was a slow moving affair comprising twenty runs, 26 hits, ten walks, two hit batters, two wild pitches and three errors. Then again, if you prefer an artillery extravaganza of hitting then this game featured six doubles and four home runs. Gilchrist Oval did not provide much joy for the men on the mound who must have felt like bowlers in a Twenty20 cricket contest!

The West Aussies took the honours from the slug fest mostly due to a big seven run sixth that terrorised three different NSW relievers, especially Mathew Rae who quickly cleared an inherited bases loaded situation when his first opposing batter, Chris House, mashed a GRAND SLAM home run over right field… game over!

Senior pro Luke Hughes really enjoyed his 3-4 game that included a solo homer over centre field plus an intentional base on balls. Matt Kennelly might have just taken the brotherly bacon from Tim Kennelly on this occasion with his 2-3 that comprised a double, a big fly over centre field and a walk. Tim managed 2-4 via a RBI double, a RBI single and two free passes… these guys can play! Nick Kimpton batted 2-4, while Mitch Graham and Dean White drove in the other two runs for the travelling Heat.

Red-hot Michael Lysaught left the yard for the third time in two days at Campbelltown to steal the hitting honours for the Patriots as part of his 2-4 and two RBIs. He edged Mark Holland, who batted 2-3 with a RBI and a walk along with Pat Matt, who doubled as part of his 2-4 that produced a run. Tim Auty also doubled as part of his 2-4, while another former pro Trent D’Antonio drove in two runs via a double and a sacrifice bunt. Andrew Graham and David Kandilas supplied a RBI each in a game where Graham was also intentionally walked.

Dean White was the winning pitcher as maybe the steadiest for the game with his solid three innings in relief of starter Daniel Schmidt who was hit hard in a contest that had little joy but plenty of run support for the men with the ball.

Similarly for the defeated hosts, reliever Vaughan Harris was maybe the best for New South Wales even though his one inning saw Matt Kennelly’s home run leave the yard. This was a measure of how much the home pitchers struggled. Wayne Lundgren started, but he too was hit hard with nearly two hits per inning. Minnesota professional Matt Williams returned to action this summer with a horrible loss that he will aim to forget quickly… I’ll spare him the gory detail here. Little known Mathew Rae wasn’t too good at the end of the game, but then, he wasn’t Robinson Crusoe.

The WA Heat levelled the series at 1-1 and the outcome of the deciding game will have ramifications for both teams as the sharp end of the competition looms large.

 WEST AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Daniel SCHMIDT 4.0ip 9h 3er 2bb 2k; Dean WHITE (W) 3.0ip 4h 3er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Luke HUGHES 3-4 (RBI); Matt KENNELLY 2-3 (RBI); Tim KENNELLY 2-4 (3RBI); Nick KIMPTON 2-4;
Chris HOUSE 1-4 (4RBI); Mitch GRAHAM 1-4 (RBI); Andrew KYLE 1-4; Lachlan DALE 1-4;
Dean WHITE 0-1 (RBI)
 NSW
PITCHING: 

Wayne LUNDGREN 4.1ip 8h 4er 1bb 2k; Vaughan HARRIS 1.0ip 1h 1er 0bb 1k;
Matt WILLIAMS (L) 0.0ip 1h 5er 4bb 0k; Mathew RAE 1.2ip 3h 2er 1bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Mark HOLLAND 2-3 (RBI); Michael LYSAUGHT 2-4 (2RBI); Pat MAAT 2-4 (RBI); Tim AUTY 2-4;
Trent D'ANTONIO 1-3 (2RBI); Andrew GRAHAM 1-3 (RBI); David KANDILAS 1-3 (RBI); Tim ATHERTON 1-4;
Jason POSPISHIL 1-4.

 Our now standard recognition for umpires Robert CRAWFORD, Trent THOMAS and Matt CARTER.
 

 WEEK 9 SERIES
 Game 50
 Fri 15 Jan 2010

SOUTH AUSTRALIA TOPS VICTORIA 5-2!

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

Although we are not expecting any wonderful prizes for doing so, we did suggest that the first order of business for the Victorians would be to find a way to apply some brakes to the runaway locomotive named Michael Collins. Unfortunately for the guests at Norwood Oval this proved to be a task beyond the Aces’ pitchers for the second straight game this weekend. The established pro from the ACT still has not recorded an out over the two games while taking his series numbers to a staggering 9-9 with FOUR home runs and ELEVEN RBIs.

Even the heroics of Collins might not have been enough to secure the victory for his third Claxton Shield team (surely a record?) had it not been for an equally impressive effort from quality professional pitcher Paul Mildren who pretty much put a wrecking ball through the Victorian offence with a terrific nine inning complete game victory. Mildren seemed inspired by a vocal and supportive home crowd at Norwood as he walked none and struck out six in a masterly display of control. In five different innings Mildren retired the Victorians 1-2-3 and he induced 14 ground ball outs in a suffocating display.

Also, for the second straight game, the home-standing South Aussies pounced early to get on top of the Victorian pitching and to immediately energise a crowd that didn’t need much extra energy. After a good first outing in the last series, quality Colorado professional Adam Bright was rocked early and he battled for control after a couple of errors and Michael Collins cost him three runs in the opening frame. He did re-group pretty well to strike out five but enough damage had been done to saddle him with a loss.

Elliot Biddle was signed as a pitcher by the Minnesota Twins, but he has played outfield more often in his career and during this Claxton Shield campaign. In this game his left-arm pitching was most valuable for the short-handed Victorians to keep them in the game. Biddle did a mighty job to span 4.2 middle innings until he visibly tired in the eighth after another Michael Collins home run and he walked the last three batters he faced to take some shine off his game numbers. He didn’t quite make it to the end when Russell Spear struck out the last hitter the Aces faced in the game.

Remarkably, other than the continued heroics of Michael Collins, the South Australian team registered only two other hits with one each to Scott Gladstone and Jeremy Cresswell. Ryan Murphy was the only other run producer for the hosts via his sacrifice fly. On this occasion it is not hard to explain why the SA team prevailed after being out-hit… oh yeh, we already know about Collins and Mildren… but there was also the fact that the Victorian pitchers walked eight compared with Mildren’s “zip”.

Victorian super-catcher Grant Karlsen proved his mental toughness to bounce back strongly from maybe his worst (ever?) defensive game in this series opener on Thursday night. He proved a point to one particular individual in the Adelaide crowd who had singled him out for special “ragging” the previous night with a faultless defensive effort and a solid 2-3 with the lumber. His was the only multi-hit effort against the penetration of Mildren, while the quality bats of Josh Davies and Andrew Russell each produced RBI doubles to supply the two runs for the Aces.

The Victorian Aces didn’t do a whole lot wrong in this game but heck, Michael Collins and Paul Mildren… what more can you say?... they were AWESOME!

I cannot end this report with commenting on the tremendous atmosphere created by the near-2,000 strong crowd at Norwood Oval. My mind drifts back to the halcyon days of 3,000-plus crowds regularly enjoyed by the Waverley Reds at VFL Park in Melbourne during the early ABL era, and I know there were other times in other centres, but I certainly haven’t witnessed anything nearly as noisy and supportive as this crowd for a very long time. It is a most encouraging thing for the future of the new ABL that will be hosted at Norwood in Adelaide from next season.

With two opening wins for the weekend the South Australian team remain rarely defeated at home and they now have the chance to cement their top standing in the competition. There is plenty of pressure on the Victorians to take something positive from the double header on Saturday. Stand by!

 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Paul MILDREN (W) 9.0ip 6h 2er 0bb 6k.

OFFENCE: Michael COLLINS 3-3 (3RBI); Scott GLADSTONE 1-3; Jeremy CRESSWELL 1-5; Ryan MURPHY 0-2 (RBI).
 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Adam BRIGHT (L) 3.0ip 2h 1er 3bb 5k; Elliot BIDDLE 4.2ip 3h 2er 5bb 2k; Russell SPEAR 0.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE:  Grant KARLSEN 2-3; Josh DAVIES 1-4 (RBI); Andrew RUSSELL 1-4 (RBI); Paul WEICHARD 1-4;
Brett TAMBURRINO 1-4.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Neil POULTON, Mark WILSON and Blake HALLIGAN.
 

 WEEK 9 SERIES
 Game 49
 
Fri 15 JAN 2010

NSW HANDLES THE HEAT 8-2 IN OPENER!

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

Former Minnesota Twins’ infielder Michael Lysaught was once regarded as a “light hitter” as a young emerging player. While he has developed much more authority with the bat as he matured, I’m not sure that we expected to see him trying to match the explosive exploits of SA’s Michael Collins from the other weekend series as he did for NSW last night. In a “career performance” offensively Lysaught doubled to lead off the game for the Patriots, he crushed a two run homer over left field in the second, he walked in the fourth, then he homered over centre field with a solo shot in the eighth. Michael Lysaught clearly enjoyed the cosy confines of Campbelltown’s Gilchrist Oval in this series opener.

As it turned out Lysaught’s three RBIs would have been sufficient to secure the win for New South Wales in support of sterling pitching by the renowned ‘Terrible Tim’ Cox who earned yet another Claxton Shield win and the lesser know Lee Ingram who impressively locked down the save. Somewhat typically Cox used seven strike outs to counterbalance eight hits and it was another superb performance after Mitch Graham went yard over left field as the first batter to visit the plate in the game.

Like some other ace starters, if you are going to get hold of Tim Cox you had better do so early before he settles into his rhythm. Another solo home run over left field by Twins star Luke Hughes in the fifth was the only other score for the WA Heat in this game. As mentioned, Lee Ingram was entrusted with his first ever Claxton Shield save, even though he took over a comfortable 7-2 lead with a runner on board in the seventh and none out. We’d tend to agree with the scorers that his three scoreless inning effort was significant enough to warrant the save.

In the opposing camp we had to feel a tad sorry for Dylan Peacock who was saddled with his first loss of this impressive campaign after a spate of errors in the first couple of innings set him on the back foot with three unearned runs that would rattle most pitchers, especially on unfamiliar soil. Todd Murphy was just OK when summoned for early bullpen action before handing the ball on the Benn Grice who was much better with four uneventful outs. Warwick Saupold provided NSW with an insurance run in the eighth via Lysaught’s second long ball of the game.

The prolific run producing of former pro Pat Maat continued with his two separate RBI doubles that were bettered only by the efforts of Michael Lysaught. Mark Holland singled and walked, while Jason Pospishil walked twice. Catcher Trent D’Antonio supplied two RBIs without needing a safe hit. David Kandilas was the other RBI man for the pale blues.

Lachlan Dale batted 2-2 plus a walk, yet he probably deserved second billing for WA behind Mitch Graham who added a single to his stunning game-opening home run. Allan de San Miguel singled and walked twice. The potent bat of Luke Hughes delivered the rainbow shot mentioned earlier.

The win was almost necessary for the hosting NSW team who will need to go on to win the series to keep their hopes of a playoff position alive. WA certainly knows how to bounce back in these situations.

 NSW
PITCHING: 

Tim COX (W) 6.0ip 8h 2er 3bb 7k; Lee INGRAM (S) 3.0ip 3h 0er 2bb 2k.

OFFENCE: Michael LYSAUGHT 3-4 (3RBI); Pat MAAT 2-4 (2RBI); David KANDILAS 1-4 (RBI); Mark HOLLAND 1-4;
Andrew GRAHAM 1-5; Trent D'ANTONIO 0-5 (2RBI).
 WEST AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Dylan PEACOCK (L) 3.2ip 6h 2er 2bb 0k; Todd MURPHY 2.0ip 1h 1er 3bb 2k;
Ben GRICE 1.1ip 0h 0er 0bb 0k; Warwick SAUPOLD 1.0ip 1h 1er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Lachlan DALE 2-2; Mitch GRAHAM 2-5 (RBI); Tim KENNELLY 2-5; Allan de SAN MIGUEL 1-2;
Luke HUGHES 1-4 (RBI); Andrew KYLE 1-4; Matt KENNELLY 1-4; Nick KIMPTON 1-5.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Trent THOMAS, Matt CARTER and Robert CRAWFORD.
 

 WEEK 8 SERIES
 Re-Scheduled Game 17
 From WEEK 3 Series
 Thu 14 Jan 2010

COLLINS HELPS SA TO STUN ACES 13-6!

 
Team: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T H E
 SOUTH AUST 4 0 3 0 3 0 2 0 1 13 14 2
 VICTORIA 3 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 6 9 2

Baseball, as we well know, is a team sport, yet rarely has there ever been a game where one player has been so incredibly dominant, apart from the occasional pitcher, that he has clearly been the difference between two teams. If you are finding it hard to think of such an instance then, let us assure you SA's super-recruit 'Mighty Michael' Collins really was. If you were to erase his 6-6 with three home runs and EIGHT RBIs from South Australia's performance in this game then the Victorian Aces might well have been smiling rather than licking their wounds today? OK, another super-recruit, WA's Nick Kimpton did pound NINE RBIs last summer, but there were other massive contributions in that game.

So you know by now that SA bolted away from the visiting Victorians for a decisive 13-6 victory but, if I had told you that Victoria scored six runs and that they struck out no less than 14 South Aussie batters for the game, you might well have guessed that the Aces had dominated the contest. The reason that this did not happen was quite simple... MICHAEL COLLINS... let's just repeat his performance for effect... SIX from SIX, THREE HOME RUNS and EIGHT RBIs... WOW!

Although I know that the Victorian team would not be interested in excuses, the truth of the matter is that this Thursday night re-scheduled away game did not come at a good time for the team with most of their top starting pitchers unable to make the trip for the early start to the series. I'm sorry, I can't tell you why some series are able to start on Thursday night, as they always have in Perth, while others simply resort to double-headers on the scheduled Friday and Saturdays? On occasions like this it really does disadvantage the travelling team, especially when it is a re-scheduled HOME game!!

Victoria's evergreen pitching ace 'Lethal Lee' Hogan has reached a stage of his career where he would prefer to be regarded as a pitching coach and a "spot reliever" for short outings. He no longer prepares himself to start games or to throw long outings but, at the same time, he has a heart the size of the MCG and he will always take the ball to do what ever it takes for his team. Like his Victorian team Hogan was cruelly victimised by the monsoon of Michael Collins offence via two home runs that saddled him with five of his six earned runs. On the second occasion Hogan could feel a little aggrieved by a non-strike call that could have registered an out for Collins whereas, one pitch later, the ball left the yard!

That was the moment that Victoria's 5-4 lead after two innings was overrun as an invigorated SA team streaked away with what, in the end, felt like a crushing victory. Collins' third hit saw the departure of Hogan after three and two-third innings of pitching that certainly frustrated the veteran but he was a lot better than his stats line suggested. He handed the ball to Colorado pro Shane Lindsay who looked good in his first outing last weekend, but not today. To be honest, Lindsay was "all over the shop". He struck out two batters in the fifth and had two strikes on most other batters he faced for the inning yet he was unable to close the deal. Four walks and a couple of wild pitches saw the game slip out of sight for the Aces.

To polish off the Victorian pitching after the game had spun out of control, former pro Ross Hipke did very well to stem the bleeding with a tidy 1.1 innings. He was followed by youngster Blake Cunningham who also felt the full force of Michael Collins bruising bat to take some shine off what would have been an even better three innings that included five strike outs.

Texan Richard Bartlett wasn't really dominant for SA, yet the glut of run support allowed him to disguise nine hits from his six innings for another win in this competition. He looked very vulnerable early in the game until his team regained control on the scoreboard when his confidence seemed to get a timely boost and he got stronger as his outing continued. Relief crew Chris Lawson and Steve O'Connor each pitched solidly when much of the pressure had gone out of the contest.

Not a lot went right for the Aces' offence who hit the ball hard on many occasions to minimum effect. Brett Tamburrino, Scott Wearne and Paul Weichard enjoyed two-hit games. Weichard drove in two runs as Victoria's major run producer, along with Tamburrino and Elliot Biddle who drove in one each. Another factor in the result was the fact that the SA pitchers combined for only two walks that were dwarfed by the lamentable eleven issued by Victoria's skeleton staff.

Stefan Welch, Jeremy Cresswell and David Washington recorded two hits each for the hosts, while Cresswell, Welch and Ryan Murphy, who got one hit, also walked twice each. Mathew Smith didn't get much chance to hit because he was handed three free passes. I didn't have the best viewing angle to comment too negatively about the efforts of the plate umpire but, suffice to say, the winning team seemed much happier with his adjudications on balls and strikes than the vanquished Victorians who indicated that he was inconsistent while pitching and batting. He did puzzle me at times.

As mentioned, it was an unhappy conclusion to the re-scheduled WEEK 3 series for the designated home team from Victoria who were long-faced losers in front of a celebrating South Australian crowd at Norwood Oval. It gave the South Aussies another series win and a dream start to the remainder of the weekend. Some roster help should arrive from across the border for the short-handed Victorians who will need a big turnaround here... and quickly!

The last word on this game should and will be reserved for MICHAEL COLLINS. Keeping him under wraps will be the first order of business for the Victorian Aces when this WEEK 9 series follows. 

 SOUTH AUSTRALIA
PITCHING: 

Richard Bartlett (W) 6.0ip 9h 6er 2bb 4k; Chris LAWSON 1.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k;
Steven O'CONNOR 2.0ip 0h 0er 0bb 1k.

OFFENCE: Michael COLLINS 6-6 (8RBI); Stefan WELCH 2-4 (RBI); Jeremy CRESSWELL 2-4; David WASHINGTON 2-5;
Ryan MURPHY 1-4 (RBI); Ben WIGMORE 1-5.
 VICTORIA
PITCHING:

Lee HOGAN (L) 3.2ip 7h 6er 4bb 5k; Shane LINDSAY 1.0ip 0h 3er 4bb 2k;
Ross HIPKE 1.1ip 1h 0er 1bb 2k; Blake CUNNINGHAM 3.0ip 6h 3er 2bb 5k.

OFFENCE:  Brett TAMBURRINO 2-4 (RBI); Scott WEARNE 2-4; Paul WEICHARD 2-5 (2RBI); Elliot BIDDLE 1-2 (RBI);
Josh DAVIES 1-4; Justin HUBER 1-4.

Our now standard recognition for umpires Blake HALLIGAN, Neil POULTON and Mark WILSON.