|DAY THREE Geelong and Sunraysia snare winter titles|
Kingsley Collins (8 June 2015)
Turning on their very best in cool, breezy conditions at Geelong Baseball Centre this afternoon, Geelong and Sunraysia powered away as winners of the Senior Winter Championship.
Playing in the prestigious Metro Group, Geelong started brightly and withstood a challenge from City before flexing their offensive muscle for a comfortable 9-2 result.
With quality hurler Luke Abels in action for City, Geelong was out of the blocks in the first, after Chris Durston drew a lead-off walk and scored all the way from first on a booming Kelii Zablan triple into the rightfield wall to register the first of two telling Zee blows for the game.
While City replied with a run of its own in the second, Geelong starter Tayler Rowe was provided with further run support when his side backed up with two-spots in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings – including a two-run moonshot by Zablan and timely RBI support by Justin Charles and Ryan Stewart as City went to Alex Hondromatidis and Jeremy Young.
Although Aaron Green (three hits) and Ryan Camov (two) were terrific for their side, City was offered no respite as southpaw Josh Lee conjured up a superb stint in relief of Rowe – who had been one of many stars in the Geelong lineup for the weekend.
Making its first finals appearance at the Winter Championship for years, City proved a strong and very worthy opponent throughout the tournament - posting a stunning first-up win over Dandenong and a couple of memorable successes against a quality Aces Academy – although it could not quite deliver in its three outings against a Geelong outfit that had set itself for a big weekend.
Undefeated in the Country Group, Sunraysia capped off a terrific series with a 6-1 playoff result over NorthEast, which had qualified for the final by way of a thumping win over Mount Gambier in the final round robin game.
A free-scoring team throughout the series, Sunraysia tuned up with a morning romp over Dandenong Under 23 but was pushed all the way by a NorthEast squad that entered the final justifiably confident of the bold showing that it produced.
Congratulations to the winners. Congratulations to the ten players (listed below) named as their squad’s Most Valuable Player from a weekend of competition that again produced a plethora of outstanding individual performances.
Very well done to all participating leagues for their continued support of the 2015 Winter Championship, which was another unqualified success driven by the enthusiasm and the engagement of all participants, officials and supporters.
A special mention, too, of the resident clubs – Guild and East Belmont Saints – who did their usual fantastic job in the presentation of grounds, in catering and in general for being such welcoming and pleasant hosts for whom nothing is ever too much trouble.
Well done to all on generating another wonderful weekend of tournament baseball.
MVP Chris Webb (GBA)
|MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS|
|Aces Academy||Mitch HOLDING|
|Dandenong U23||Stewart MATHIESON|
|Latrobe Valley||Luke HORNSTRA|
|Mount Gambier||Dylan RIDDING|
|DAY TWO Geelong into Metro final: Sunraysia leads Country|
Kingsley Collins (7 June 2015)
Despite dropping its morning game against Aces Academy and sharing the points with Dandenong, Geelong has already qualified for the Metro final, while Sunraysia heads the Country standings and will enter the playoff game as a pronounced favourite.
It was another magnificently competitive day at Geelong Baseball Centre, with tight contests, form reversals, a drawn game and pitching dominance ensuring that interest will carried into the final round of the Winter Championship before finals are decided in the afternoon.
Undefeated after Day One, Geelong was under the pump early in its Saturday morning game as the Aces Academy outfit gained an early break and held on for a 7-5 result in a contest that did not quite rival the defensive excellence of the Saturday evening encounter between the two sides. While James Wood and Cameron McNish held the line after the early flurry, Geelong came up short in offensive production despite another standout individual game by Chris Webb (three hits). Match Details.
Showing greater application after an ordinary Day One, Dandenong held on 5-4 over City to reverse an embarrassing whitewash in their first encounter. At that stage still a chance of playoff action, the Dandy boys continued their improved form into the afternoon stoush with Geelong, but finally needed to settle for a 0-0 draw in a terrific defensive clash that saw Grant Irving toss a stunning complete game outing and Simon Murry give the home team a superb five innings before the versatile Chris Webb and Kelii Zablan closed out for their side. Match Details.
One finals berth still up for grabs, there was huge interest in the Academy and City game, with both sides going in with a two and two record and City prevailing 8-6 in an entertaining slugfest that helps set up an enthralling final round in which Academy faces Dandenong and City will take on an already qualified Geelong on Monday morning. Although City has qualified for the playoff on head to head over Academy it will be intriguing to see how it, and Geelong, approach what is effectively one of two dead rubbers.
Metro Group final round robin games start at 10.00 AM on Monday 8 June. The final will start at 1.45 PM.
METRO STANDINGS AFTER DAY TWO: Geelong (three wins, a loss and a draw), City (three wins and two losses), Academy (two wins and three losses), Dandenong (a win and a draw, with three losses).
Although it was seriously pressured by NorthEast, Sunraysia remains undefeated after four Country Group games and it will play in the final regardless of its last-round schedule against Dandenong Under 23, which dropped both of its Sunday games. There is intense competition for the second finals berth with three sides locked on two wins and two losses – Latrobe Valley, NorthEast and Mount Gambier, which improved dramatically on its Saturday form with two impressive wins on Day Two.
The NorthEast and Mount Gambier game on Monday morning should be a cracker, while a hot and cold Latrobe Valley meets a winless young Bendigo outfit and Sunraysia has nothing to gain by using its quality arms against a Dandenong squad that will be keen to finish on a high note.
Country Group final round robin games start at 10.00 AM on Monday 8 June. The final will start at 1.15 PM.
COUNTRY STANDINGS AFTER DAY TWO: Sunraysia (four wins), Latrobe Valley (two and two), NorthEast (two and two), Mount Gambier (two and two), Dandenong Under 23 (one win, two losses and a draw), Bendigo (three losses and a draw).
|DAY ONE Geelong sets the pace: Dandenong in strife|
Kingsley Collins (6 June 2015)
While Geelong and Dandenong were the more favoured Metro teams going into the Senior Winter Championship, few could have predicted standings at the end of Day One, which produced three wins for the home association and an incredible scoreless run by Dandenong – over its three games – as City and Aces Academy showed both inflicted thumpings on the reigning titleholder.
Although Sunraysia won both of its Saturday games, competition is wide open in the six-team Country Group, with three other teams tasting winning success and a thrilling draw being played out between Dandenong Under 23 and Bendigo.
Dandenong faltered at the start against a City outfit that generated two huge innings – aided, it should be said, by some errant defence that put the game well out of reach behind a blinding outing from fireballer Luke Abels. Trying three on the hill and a known slow starter at these tournaments, Dandenong was simply unable to get into the contest - a 14-0 mismatch - and would surely have expected much better in its second-up clash with a strong Geelong squad.
Again, however, the Dandy bats were missing in action as Geelong starter Josh Lee (below) tossed a pearler before Cameron McNish picked up the save – between them scattering a miserly four hits on the way to a 8-0 whitewash in which GBA rightfielder and number nine hitter Chris Webb went three from three (with four RBIs).
After dropping its game against City 4-2, the youthful Aces Academy side inflicted further pain on the Dandenong outfit with a 10-0 drubbing that completed a forgettable day for the DBA – which had failed to score a run in twenty-one innings. Surely something of an unwelcome record for an association that has enjoyed Winter Championship success on many occasions over many years.
With wins in its first two games, City was brought back to earth by Geelong, which bludgeoned its way to an early break – with a six-spot in the third - and was never threatened in cruising to a 10-2 result that left the Melbourne side still well in the hunt (at 2-1), with three games left to play. Of a GBA team total of thirteen hits, Kelii Zablan and catcher Andy Medew were standouts with three apiece.
The Saturday night game between Geelong and Aces Academy was an absolute cracker, a showpiece of Victorian baseball that the GBA ultimately won 1-0 in a pitcher-dominated contest. Tayler Rowe gave the GBA a brilliant start before Chris Webb abd Kelii Zablan closed out the game, while Academy Manager Damian Shanahan must have been delighted with the pitching form of youngsters Jack Enciondo, Matt Beattie and Oliver Dunn.
Notwithstanding its winless status, Dandenong will know that it is still a chance of making the playoff game should it win three and trust in Geelong beating City and Academy in their return stoushes - with another result falling the right way (Academy to beat City).
Strange game sometimes is baseball.
METRO STANDINGS AFTER DAY ONE: Geelong (3-0), City (2-1), Aces Academy (1-2), Dandenong (0-3)
With two wins from two on Day One, a free scoring Sunraysia – with a total of twenty-nine runs in two outings - is setting the pace in the Country Group, although it has not yet played the Dandenong Under 23 team which has a win over Mount Gambier and a draw with Bendigo, which dropped its game against a NorthEast outfit that was crushed by Latrobe Valley in an afternoon game. NorthEast and Latrobe Valley are both one and one, while Bendigo is marginally ahead of Mount Gambier, which is yet to open its account.
COUNTRY STANDINGS AFTER DAY ONE: Sunraysia (2-0), Dandenong Under 23 (1-D)), Latrobe Valley (1-1), Northeast (1-1), Bendigo (0-D), Mount Gambier (0-2).
Action will continue at Geelong Baseball Centre on Sunday, with games scheduled to start at 9.00 AM. All teams – in both groups – will play two games, followed by one on Monday morning prior to finals between the top-two finishing teams in each division.
DAY ONE SCORES are posted to the right of this page. CLICK HERE for a bank of images taken from the Saturday games.
Geelong Baseball Association has named its squad to contest the Senior Winter Championship that will be held at Geelong Baseball Centre from Saturday 6 June to Monday 8 June.
The series will comprise ten teams, drawn into a Metro and a Country Division.
The Metro Division (Dandenong, Geelong, City and Aces Academy) will play a double round robin, with the top two sides to play off in a Monday afternoon final). See all rosters below.
The Country Division (Bendigo, Dandenong Under 23, Sunraysia, Northeast, Mount Gambier and Latrobe Valley) will play a single round robin, with the top two sides to play off in a Monday afternoon final). See all rosters below.
|BENDIGO||MT GAMBIER||LATROBE||DBA UNDER 23||NORTHEAST||SUNRAYSIA|
|Metro Group Final|
|DBA UNDER 23||3||SUNRAYSIA||11|
|Country Group Final|
|NORTHEAST||4||DBA UNDER 23||1|
|DBA UNDER 23||3||LATROBE||9|
|DBA UNDER 23||5||MOUNT GAMBIER||4|
|BENDIGO||5||DBA UNDER 23||5|