Redbirds challenge premiers
By GEOFF HALLMAN
SINCE round two of season 2005, Redbirds have been setting a new standard in the Rex Airlines Far North Coast Baseball League and this past weekend was the yardstick by which their season can be assessed ? up against premiers Workers.
Workers eventually prevailed 4-3.
Steven Best kicked the Redbirds' fight into gear with a double to right field to set up the first run.
Nick Shailes led from the front, driving in two runs with a shot over the left-field fence to set Workers on the back foot from the start.
At the bottom of the innings. Shailes set about the task on the mound with the same determination as he had with the bat, shutting out the innings and fanning power hitters Michael McClelland and Josh Daley in the process.
The second innings allowed Workers to claw back a single run.
With the same rigid determination that has allowed them to safely secure second position, Redbirds applied the screws again in the third with a two out rally with the bats yielding yet another run and a 3-1 lead.
The fourth was a mixed bag for the young Redbirds, with Shailes allowing a double to Scott McClelland the scoring him off a wild pitch to hand the Workers another crucial run.
Like so many times before, the Workers fielding combined with the brilliance of Tory Pruess to shut down the Redbirds batters, paving the way for the experienced batting lineup to find their way home for the 4-3 win.
The second game of the afternoon showed just how close the race for third position is going to be in the remainder of the season, as Brothers downed Norths 7-4.
Brothers set about their task quickly, taking full toll of two errors through short stop, Paul Simes, to score two runs.
Norths failed to respond in the bottom of the innings, but a double to Ben Daly in the second followed by a Jason Britt single quickly restored Norths to a 2-1 ball game.
The next four innings belonged to Norths courtesy of solid pitching from Steve Ross and a more concerted effort in the field.
With the bat, Norths chipped away at the Brothers pitching, with Paul Simes drawing two hits to right field.
Norths bounced back in the seventh with hits from Daly, Britt and Ahren Baxter resulting in an error from left field to score a single run before the close of the innings.
Norths were again in the runs in the eighth with two across the plate, taking their deficit to 4-6.
The ninth set up Brothers for another run when they capitalised on an error to score Steve Egan.
Brothers opted for the speed of Matt Gahan to close the game and secure the victory 7-4, with Norths unable to convert two base runners into a two out game winning rally. For Norths, Paul Simes finished the afternoon with four solid hits, and Ben Daly picked up two.
For more information on baseball, visit Far North Coast Baseball on line at www.fnc.baseball.com.au or contact Geoff Hallmann on 0414 014 365.