Country Championships 2019
The weekend started on Friday for Shoalhaven Baseball Association Mens representative team. A weekend at the International Baseball Stadium at the NSW Country Championships meant suspension of normal games.
Drawn in Second Grade the team knew each game would present its challenges. Starting with Illawarra, a team where some players were known, definitely set the tone for the weekend. Mariners opened the batting. With only two of the first four getting on base Shoalhaven retired without score. Pressure on! Illawarra started with a hit getting their first runner on base. Despite some solid pitching, a great outfield catch by Marcus Atkinson and a strikeout by pitcher Andrew Provest Illawarra scored their first batter before being retired. Mariners up to bat but two great field catches retired Shoalhaven without score. Illawarra suffered the same fate with two more strikeouts by Andrew Provest and a great catch. Shoalhaven responded with three hits to Marcus Atkinson, Edan Kelly and Sam DeMeyer bring Marcus Anderson across the plate. Andrew Provest retired with 42 pitches, 20 strikes and 3 strikeouts. Score one all. Kai Meuronen took over pitching duties. Illawarra responded with two hits and another run scored. A good hit by Brendan McMahan started the next innings for Shoalhaven. Infield hits allowed Illawarra to make the outs. Illawarra now led 2-1. Mariners tightened their fielding. Despite two hits only four batters faced the pitcher before Illawarra were retired. One last chance for Shoalhaven . A couple of errors and determined batting and base running led to Sam DeMeyer crossing the plate. Two all. Kai Meuronen retired two batters with strikeouts as part of his 51 pitches and 32 strikes. The game ended a 2 all draw. Great result for Shoalhaven!
Game two against Wagga starting in the fog early Saturday morning. Wagga arrived at the diamond riding high having beaten tournament favourites Newcastle. They came out confidently with three hits scoring two runs. Shoalhaven responded. With early batters on base a ground ball by Gabe Tate, hits by Kai Meuronen, Kyle French and Leith Grant advanced the runners leading to four across the plate. Shoalhaven up 4-2. Wagga responded with a further run across the plate. Mariners turn to bat. Back to the top of the batting lineup with runners on a three bag hit by Lee Lawson scored Sam DeMeyer and Andrew Provest before Lee also crosses the plate. A confident Shoalhaven went into the next innings leading 7-3. Despite two hits in the next two Wagga innings no more runs were scored. Final score 7-3 to Shoalhaven.Lachlan Crawley had pitched the full game – 61 pitches with45 strikes and 6 strikeouts.
Shoalhaven went into the next game on a high. Far North Coast had travelled from Lismore. Leading off at the top of the innings with all 9 players facing the pitching Shoalhaven did not come to land any time soon. Hits by Andrew Provest and Marcus Atkinson contributed to 5 runs crossing home plate. With Brendan McMahon pitching Far North Coast only managed one hit and one run. Shoalhaven added a second run in their second innings after hits by Sam DeMeyer, Andrew Provest and Lee Lawson. Again a single hit for Far North Coast before being retired without adding to the score of 6-1. Hits by Kieran Harris, Marcus Atkinson, Sam DeMeyer, Andrew Provest, Lee Lawson, Gabe Tate and Jordan Butfield all contributed to another six runs being scored. Now a lead of 12-1. BrentonMcMahon retired from pitching having pitched 40 with 28 strikes and 2 strikeouts. Edan Kelly came in to close. No further runs scored by Far North Coast. Shoalhaven added two more runs with great hits by Kieren Harris (3bases), Marcus Atkinson (2bases), Gabe Tate (3 bases), Brenton McMahan and Kai Meuronen. Final score 14-1 to Shoalhaven.
Fading light at the end of the day saw Shoalhaven Baseball face up to Central Coast. Again we were top of the innings. Starting well Mariners scored One run after hits by Edan Kelly and Kai Meuronen. Central Coast three up three down and Shoalhaven were off to a strong start. Again runners on and hits by Jordan Butfield and Lachlan Crawley added a further run to Shoalhaven score. Despite a big hit by Central Coast Shoalhaven managed to restrict run scoring to zero. Shoalhaven ahead 2-0. The next innings produced no runs for either team. Central Coast brought on a closing pitcher who retired Shoalhaven with three strikeouts. A few walks and four hits by Central Coast turned the game around unfortunately for a tired Shoalhaven outfit. Six runs scored taking the lead to the end. Shoalhaven went down 6-2 final score. Andrew Pearson had pitched 60 with 34 strikes and 4 strikeouts. Edan Kelly closed with 28 pitches, 15 strikes and 2 strikeouts.
Sunday started early with Newcastle on the mound and all the work to do in front of Shoalhaven . Three batters, three outs and Newcastle came in to bat. Two on base was enough for their first run to be batted in. Shoalhaven responded with hits by Kai Meuronen and a three base hit to Kieran Harris. One run scored. 1-1. Newcastle found their bat. With four hits, including a 3 base hit Newcastle went ahead with 5 runs scored. Shoalhaven with a hit by Lee Lawson had runners on but were unable to score. Newcastle lead 6-1 in their last at bat Newcastle added a further 2 runs. Final score 8-1 to Newcastle , a solid game that looked closer than it was.
One game to go to complete the Country Championships. With finals hopes gone Shoalhaven Baseball headed out to have fun and enjoy their last game in the Sunday sunshine. Coffs Harbour took the field with determination and hits bringing in 3 runners. Very quickly Coffs despatched Shoalhaven with the first three batters only seeing the plate. Coffs returned again but were unable to add to their initial 3 runs. Shoalhaven really struggled with the bat – the next three batters getting out. A change of pitcher for Shoalhaven and Coffs Harbour responded. Two more hits and two more runs scored. Shoalhaven loaded the bases with no outs but were unable to capitalise. Hits to Leith Grant and Nicholas Fisher. Coffs final at bat added a further four runs putting the game out of reach. Edan Kelly hit to score Kyle French – Shoalhaven’s only run. Final score 9-1 to Coffs Harbour-a game played with lots of laughs and friendly rivalry.
Photos by Tracy Provest
Baseball NSW Live Stream – Country Championships 2019