Semi Finals – Seniors Major 2nd Grade
In extremely windy conditions on Saturday at the IBL field in Berkeley, the Shoalhaven Mariners Major 2nd grade side took on minor premiers the Wollongong Cardinals in the major semi-final. The game promised to be a beauty with both teams winning 2 of their 4 meetings during the regular season.
Mariners were up to bat first in this one and delivered 3 early runs. With a walk to Dan Kelly, hits from Andrew Provest and Michael Vine, Brenton McMahon delivered a clutch, bases clearing double to centre field with two out.
In reply, the Cardinals were able to bring in one run, when leadoff hitter Noah English was brought home by clean-up hitter Rob Cauduro.
In 2nd inning action the Mariners were dissolved quickly by some good Cardinals pitching and fielding. The Cardinals however did not go quietly and turned a walk into a run as Noah English triple to centre field before they were retired.
Top of the 3rd inning now and Mariners were back at it again when Nick Fisher walked and was advanced by Brenton McMahon, Marcus Atkinson had a great hit to left field adding one more to the Mariners tally.
Now with a 2 run lead the Mariners took to the field at the bottom of the 3rd inning. Mariners pitcher Brenton McMahon struggled to contain the Cardinals hitters, who bagged a single, 3 doubles and a triple, scoring 4 runs and taking the lead by two.
With neither team able to trouble the scorers in the 4th inning, Mariners now with a sense of urgency were up to bat again. Although one run did come across the plate, some lacklustre base running led to 2 pick off outs and Mariners were left wondering what could have been a great inning.
Some great pitching and fielding from Mariners at the bottom of 5th inning saw the Cardinals down in order and Mariners up to bat again very quickly at the top of the 6th.
With time running out for the Mariners, they knew they needed to score 2 runs and keep the Cardinals scoreless, as a draw would only send the Cardinals through to the Grand Final. Although they managed one run to tie the game at the top of the sixth, they left the winning run stranded on base, as the game ended in a 6-6 draw.
This result now means Mariners will need to beat the Northern Pirates who advanced on a forfeit by the Dapto Panthers to secure their spot in the grand final.