The Banjos Orioles Orange are the Raine & Horne HSBL champions for season 2017-18 after defeating the Dragons 5-0 in yesterday's Grand Final.
The President's Medal for the MVP of the Grand Final went to Andrew Dykes, the Orioles starting pitcher, who dominated the Dragons allowing just one hit over four innings. In fact, the hit allowed by Dykes was the only one managed by the Dragons as Jimmy Clout followed with four innings with five strikeouts.
The Dragons made some uncharacteristic errors in the field which compounded their situation and unlike last season, the Orioles took advantage of them.
The Orioles jumped out to an early 3-0 lead as they took advantage of some wayward pitching by Patrick Miller, and held this lead as Dykes and Clout weaved their magic. On the other side, Tim Holland dominated the Orioles bats until the top of the eighth innings when a two out single by Ryan Fenton drove in his brother Nick for the Orioles' fourth run then Tyrone Earley drove in Jimmy Clout to pad out the Orioles lead. This would be all the Orioles offence needed as Tyrone Earley closed out the ninth to send the Orioles jumping for joy at their success.
Congratulations to Jimmy Clout, Jamie McIntyre, Chris Chalker and the Banjos Orioles Orange team.
In a thrilling game, played in front of a large vocal crowd, the Dragons claimed their second title by defeating the gallant Banjos Orioles Orange 6-3, in extra innings. Congratulations to Adam de Cotter and his team. Tim Holland was judged MVP of the final by the officiating umpires and was awarded the President's Medal.
Dragons 2016/17: Adam de Cotter; Dean Chamberlain; Chris Harris; Tim Holland; Brendan Adams; Patrick Miller; Fiona Don; Shane Davies; Michael Blake; Shannon Davies; Leigh Johns; Aaron Jarvis
In a surprise move, which ultimately proved to be a masterstroke, de Cotter chose to start the game with Patrick Miller. After a one-two-three top of the first by Harney Burgess, out trotted Miller to start the bottom of the first. The potential issue for the Dragons in the final had been finding a third pitcher to support Tim Holland and Brendan Adams in a nine innings game and if Miller could pitch a couple of innings without leaking runs, the Dragons would be hard to beat.
This innings proved crucial to the game as, with one out, the Orioles had the bases loaded only for Miller to get a strikeout and a flyout to centre to end the threat, against a team like the Dragons, you cannot afford to miss these opportunities.
Top of the second and Holland led off with a double, moved to third on a flyout by Adams but was stranded there as Burgess collected the next two outs. Harney Burgess led off the bottom of the second with a double of his own and also ended up at third but Miller continued to dumbfound the experts by getting two strikeouts and once again, the Orioles missed opportunities.
Top of the third and Burgess continued on his merry way and when Adams came on in the bottom of that innings for a one two three effort, we were all tied at 0-0.
Bottom of the fourth and a drive to left field by Andrew Dykes plated the first run of the game in Jimmy Clout then a fly to centrefield by Harney Burgess drove in Dykes, the Orioles had taken a 2-0 lead. Clout took over from Burgess in the top of the fifth but it was in the top of the sixth that things began to unravel for the Orioles. An error saw Fiona Don reach base and when Clout walked Shane Davies with no-one out, the Orioles were in serious trouble. Clout bounced back with two strikeouts and it looked like he would get out of the innings unscathed however, a drive to centrefield by Leigh Johns drove in Don and Davies in behind her on a wild throw.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Orioles would reclaim the lead when Dykes drove in Clout but the Dragons levelled it up immediately in the top of the seventh when a two out error allowed Chris Harris to score.
The score remained tied at 3-3 as we went into the bottom of the ninth with the top of the Orioles order up to bat and a real chance to win the title. Tim Holland was on by this stage and he demonstrated the class act he is by striking out the first two batters then induced the dangerous Clout to fly out to first.
Off to extras we went and under league rules, if a Grand Final goes to extras, each team starts with the last batter out at second with one out recorded.
With Miller at second, Don reached on a fielders choice and both scored on a drive to centrefield by Shane Davies. When Davies scored after a wild throw, the Dragons had one hand on the Hubble Edwards Shield as they led 6-3. Bottom of the tenth and with Clout having moved to third on a passed ball and Robins having walked after fouling off eight pitches, the Orioles were right in the game but Dykes flew out to centrefield and when Robins was caught off first base in the same play, the Dragons were champions for 2016/17.
Blue Jays defeated White Sox
White Sox defeated Blue Jays
White Sox defeated Blue Jays 6-3
White Sox defeated Blue Jays 12-6
Red Sox defeated White Sox 10-6
Athletics defeated Blue Jays 9-1
In very windy conditions, not conducive to either good pitching or fielding, the Athletics won back to back championships by defeating the minor premiers, Blue Jays, 17-7. The Athletics got off to a blazing start scoring three runs in the first innings, Robbie Devine providing the big hit with a two run homer. Not to be outdone, the Blue Jays replied with two runs of their own in the bottom of the innings but it was to be their next at bat that was to prove pivotal to the outcome of the game.
With the Athletics having added two runs in the top of the second innings to take a 5-2 lead, the Blue Jays had runners on second and third with no one out in the bottom of the innings, hoping to make significant inroads in the lead. Great pitching by Andrew (Sully) Sullivan and great fielding by third baseman, Stuart Smith, prevented any runs from scoring.
The Athletics' players had been vocal from the start and this "escape" inspired them even more as they plated seven runs in the top of the third innings. A number of batters got on base and they were cashed in via home runs by Robbie Devine, a two run shot, and Sully, a three run shot.
First year player, Zac Shutt, was having a great game and helped the Blue Jays respond with three runs in the bottom of the third but when the Athletics hit back with five more runs in the top of the fourth to take a 17-5 lead, things looked bleak for the minor premiers. The Blue Jays scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth but unable to make any further inroads and the Athletics ran out comfortable winners.
It was a team effort for the Athletics whilst for the Blue Jays, Shutt was the standout with two doubles and four runs batted in.
Winning pitcher: Andrew (Sully) Sullivan
Losing pitcher: Peter Hubble
Home runs: Robbie Devine (2), Sully (1)
Athletics Grand Final team:
Nigel O'Brien (c), Andrew (Sully) Sullivan, Robbie Devine, Richard Benoit, Stuart Smith, Steve Millington, Grant Stump, Jamie McIntyre, Brenton West, David Searle
In front of a good crowd of supporters, the Eastern Athletics won their third title in a row by defeating the Dragons Softball team, 14-10.
The Dragons took an early lead when Pedro Rodriguez drove in Adam De Cotter but despite getting runners on base, they were unable to score any more runs, partly due to the great defence by the Athletics. This was always going to be a high scoring game, given the respective teams' offences and the Athletics bats clicked first scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first. After Richard Benoit and Aaron Mann had driven in runs, Brett Szymanski drove in two more and the Athletics were away. One of the strengths of the Dragons this season has been their fielding but this seemed to desert them as the Athletics added three more runs to round out the innings. End of first innings, Athletics 7, Dragons 1.
On to the second and it was the Dragons turn to flex their muscles with Phil Swift, Jason Featherstone and Jarrod Rush all on base via walks, De Cotter drove in two runs then Chris Harris drove in another and all of a sudden, it was 7-4. Pedro Rodriguez drove in another run with a sacrifice fly but the big hit came from Michael Blake who hit a massive two run home run and it was all square at 7-7. Bottom of the second and after two quick outs, it looked promising for the Dragons but two walks followed and up stepped Steve Lovegrove to drive in two more runs, the Athletics led 9-7.
Top of the third, Swift drew his second walk of the day and subsequently scored on a hit by Shane Davies to make the score 9-8 but the Dragons were unable to add to their total as two quick outs followed. Featherstone replaced the Dragons starter Harris for the bottom of the third and walked both Andrew "Sully" Sullivan and Grant Stump to lead off the innings. A bobbled ball allowed Sully to score but the Dragons fought back by getting the next two out to limit the damage. Bottom of the third, Athletics led 10-8.
Top of the fourth and despite a walk to Rodriguez, the Dragons were unable to get anything going against Sully who had replaced the starting pitcher, Stump. Robbie Devine was hit by a pitch to start off the bottom of the fourth and would subsequently score on a double by Lovegrove who would in turn score on a single by Szymanski. The Dragons were able to limit any further damage but by the end of the fourth, the Athletics had extended their lead to 12-8.
Dean Chamberlain led off the top of the fifth with a single. After Lee Johns grounded out to second, Swift walked for the third time and a double steal put two in scoring position, the Dragons were threatening once again. Davies drove in Chamberlain with a sacrifice fly but the Dragons were unable to score any more runs. Once again the Dragons got two quick outs to lead off the bottom of the fifth but after Nigel O'Brien was safe at first on another Dragons fielding error, things fell apart. Devine hit a single to move O'Brien to third, Lovegrove walked and the bases were loaded. Brenton West was hit by a pitch which scored O'Brien then when Sully walked, Devine scored to extend the Athletics lead to 14-9.
On to the top of the sixth and with time running out, the Dragons needed to mount a comeback similar to their semi final heroics. Rush grounded out to third then up stepped De Cotter to launch a huge home run to give the Dragons hope. Harris flew out to third but when Rodriguez ended up at third via a single, steal and wild pitch, the Dragons still had hope. Blake came to the plate looking to repeat his second innings heroics but when he grounded out to second, the Athletics were premiers for the third year in a row.
Special thanks to Dave Edwards and Norm Nicholson for umpiring and to the wonderful crowd. David
The Northern White Sox took out the 2014/15 Hubble Edwards Shield by defeating the Dragons 7-2 in today's Grand Final.
In front of a huge crowd of vocal spectators, the Northern White Sox held the strong Dragons' batting lineup in check with great pitching by Matt Cashman and Chris Chalker and wonderful defence.
Things looked ominous early on for the Sox as they left the bases loaded in the first innings without scoring a run. Fortunately, they were able to restrict the Dragons to just one run in their half of the innings, Paul Johns driving in Chris Harris for the lone run.
The strong point for the Sox all through the season has been that they bat 1 thru 10, 11 , 12, 13 and today this proved invaluable. In the top of the second, Dave Brooks drove in Dave Humphries for the tying run then he was driven in by Steven Fry for the go ahead run.
Matt Cashman continued to pitch well and held the Dragons scoreless in the bottom of the second. Brendan Adams was pitching well for the Dragons but when Patrick Miller connected for a two run home run in the top of the third, the Sox had taken a handy 4-1 lead.
The Sox tacked on another run in the top of the fourth and it was bottom half of this innings where the game had a pivotal moment which proved crucial in the ultimate outcome of the game. The Dragons finally got hold of Cashman and with runners on second and third with no-one out, looked certain to score, if not one run than many more. Cashman has been one of the Sox' outstanding performers throughout the year and he showed it here as he cooly got three outs without allowing any runs, a morale boosting effort for his team.
Another two runs in the top of the fifth gave the Sox a 7-1 lead but once again, the Dragons had runners on base but were only able to score one run as Chris Chalker came on to end a threat. With Paul Johns pitching very well, the Sox found base hits hard to come by but the Dragons were unable to get anything going against Chris Chalker and when Dave Brooks took a catch in the outfield off Shane Davies, the Sox were champions.
Thanks to Peter Hubble (plate), Dave Coad (1st) and Nigel O'Brien (3rd) for umpiring and to Norm Johns for scoring.
After the match, the Hubble Edwards shield was presented to the Northern White Sox and the inaugural President's Medal for best player in the final, was awarded to Patrick Miller of the White Sox.
For the Sox, Patrick Miller had two hits from two at bats with a home run and Dave Humphries 2 from 3.
For the Dragons, Chris Harris had 2 from 4.
Thank you to Tas Keno for your generous donation which allowed us to buy new bats and no doubt inspired the Sox to victory.
Victorious Sox side:
Manager: David Humphries
David Brooks, Matt Cashman, Chris Chalker, Chris Cooper, Matthew Drumm, Mathew Fox, Steven Fry, David He, Andrew Kennedy, Paul McIntyre, Peter McManus, Patrick Miller, Casey Moore, Alex Naylor, Shaun Newbon, Sory Samake, David Searle