Westgarth and Forest Hill preview a potential finals match up
Mark Le Grew, Monday, 9 July 2012
With blue skies above, Round 11 of the MWBL season was played for A grade and B grade only, with results showing that the field is wide open come finals time.
B Grade battle for top spot at Merri Park
On a cool but sunny Saturday afternoon, Merri Park, Northcote, hosted the top-of-the-table clash between Westgarth and Forest Hill in Melbourne Winter Baseball League’s B Grade competition.
In a tight, closely-fought contest, the result came down to the last innings, with Westgarth prevailing, 6-4.
Andrew Reeves took the ball for the hosts, with Forest Hill sending Daniel Beattie to the mound.
After an uneventful first innings, the visitors were able to take a 2-0 lead over the first-placed Westgarth in the second. A lead-off single to Ewan John was followed by a double to Michael Van Der Meer, leaving runners on second and third base with no-one out.
Catcher Simon Campbell was able to score John via an in-field RBI. Beattie then hit an RBI single to score Van Der Meer and have Forest Hill up 2-0.
Westgarth were sparked into action and halved the deficit at their next at-bat. Staci Rogers hit a one out single and then advanced to second with Adam Baker at the plate. Rogers then scored on a throwing error to leave the score at 2-1 after two completed innings.
The next three frames were dominated by pitchers and the defences, with no addition to the score heading in to the bottom of the fourth. The next three frames saw the lead change three times.
Westgarth took a 3-2 lead after the fourth. After Rogers and Baker hit back-to-back singles, Mitch Legge scored both his team-mates with a two RBI single.
The visitors hit back immediately, wresting back the lead 4-3. With one out, back-to-back-to-back singles from Tommy Maxfield, Leigh Bertrand and Ken O’Malley left the bases loaded. John then hit a ground-rule double to left-centrefield to score Maxfield and Bertrand.
Westgarth were not to be outdone and with one last opportunity to snatch victory in the final innings of the game, the last hit of the game from Errol Whinnen scored three runs to give Westgarth a 6-4 victory.
The winning skipper, John Peterson was delighted with the win. “Extremely happy with how we’re travelling. A couple of little pick ups in there with Huryny (Daniel Huryn) and (Ross) Drinkwater. That adds a bit of maturity to the team. We have a bit of stability and we’re scoring a lot of runs, so that’s always a good thing,” Peterson said.
On the other side of the diamond, Forest Hill coach Stuart Chinn was philosophical about the result. “We’re missing a few players at the moment. We’ve got some young kids away. Once we get them back and we get ourselves settled we’ll be okay,” said Chinn. “It would have been handy today to pinch that game, then we would have been two and a half games clear but that’s the way it goes.”