The battle of the bay was back for the 2017/18 season. We originally intended to play this game as part of our Ladies Day Event but with increased interest in the interstate women’s tournament that weekend and other unavailability’s this match was rescheduled for this Wednesday night. Internal games like these are fantastic as not only are we playing for competition points but bragging rights that come with taking the biscuits against your club training mates. With only one regular season match up this year there was to be no second crack at our mates in black.
Quite simply what an entertaining match to see – easily the highest quality match produced by two sides at the same time that I have seen throughout the league over the last two seasons. Taking full advantage of daylights saving we scheduled this game for a 6.30pm start on a field with no lights and comfortably managed the full 90 minutes of game time with plenty of playable light remaining despite overcast conditions – hopefully something the league is willing to consider moving forward.
With April Grava and Jane Ryan unavailable this week the ladies took the field behind starting pitcher Bianca Smith. Bianca was phenomenal from start to finish – throwing the rules mandated maximum of 9 outs with plenty of pitch count to spare. Bianca breezed through the first giving up only a 2 out ground ball single up the middle before ending the inning on a phenomenal catch by Jess Kelly in center field. Jess had missed the previous 2 matches and quickly showed she hadn’t missed a step in her return to the diamond.
Things started promising for us in the bottom of the third with Emily Pyke leading off with a walk before stealing second and third, with none out and a runner on third Sarah Wright settled in on the mound inducing a pop out and a ground ball to third base that was strongly turned into a 5-3-2 double play to end the inning scoreless.
Bianca came out strongly in the second inning getting a ground out to Emily Pyke at second before their next hitter reached on error. Bianca mixed in a strikeout around two walks and with the bases loaded and two out was able to retire their lead off hitting on a fielders choice ground out to second base. In a pleasing change to recent contents we were heading into the bottom of the second inning with less than 30 minutes of game time elapsed as both teams were playing quality baseball without unnecessary speed of play delays.
Taking advantage of the momentum of getting out of the second inning unscathed – Bianca leads off with a walk before stealing second and advancing to third on a ground out by Jessica Kelly who did a great job moving the runner over. Jordy Heidt stepped in to hit after missing last round due to injury and hit our hardest ball of the night – a cracking RBI double to left field that gave us the early lead. Jacqui Dunn followed up with a hit of her own scoring Jordy before advancing to second and third on passed balls. Jojo Papadothomakos beat out an infield single to drive in Dunn before Sam Ferguson came to the plate and absolutely smoked a line drive that looked ticketed for left field and another run but was well caught at third base by the Tigers. We were unable to trouble the scorers again that inning and took the field in the third holding a three run advantage.
Bianca continued her dominance keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard in the third, with a nice play by both Gemma Cassidy and Jordy Heidt retiring the lead off hitter before Bianca was able to retire her opposite with a strike out. After a two out single to Jo-anna Kenny, Bianca and Jess Kelly teamed up again with another inning ending fly out to center field off the bat of Kelly Langley.
With Sarah beginning to tire Jenny Dunn led off the inning with a single to right field, before stealing second base and scoring from second on Gemma Cassidy’s infield single to shortstop. Bianca reached on a fly ball that gave their left fielder trouble before Jess Kelly singled to left field and Natalie Ziersch reached on an infield single to short. Adele Munro who had entered to replace Jacqui Dunn stood her ground and reached base via a Hit By Pitch. Sam Ferguson and Jasmine Williamson finished off the inning with singles and we had scored the maximum 5 runs – ending the inning.
With Bianca no longer able to pitch after her great three inning outing we turned the ball over to Jenna Handy for her second appearance of the season. With the lead off hitter reaching on a walk we were able to retire the lead runner on an attempted double play. With the next two hitters reaching on a single and a walk, Jenna was able to settle down and retire the final two outs on ground outs with Natalie Ziersch holding onto a strong throw by Gemma Cassidy to end the inning.
Leading by five with about 20 minutes to go we knew a single run would ensure victory if the game needed to go another inning. Jenny Dunn took things into her own hands reaching by walk, stealing first and second and scoring on a passed ball. With Jo-anna pitching bravely in windy conditions our guys were able to work good at bats with Gemma Cassidy, Jessica Kelly, Natalie Ziersch and Adele Munro-Chambers all reaching by walks before time expired and the game was called.
All in all a strong game from the entire team up and down the line up with many great individual and team plays all contributing to the result. Special mention to the work of Sarah Wright and Jo-Anna Kenny for the Tigers and Cheryl Burke behind the dish who was an absolute wall for them early blocking everything in sight saving many runs. Best of luck for the rest of the season ladies.
We are now officially off for a few weeks over Christmas / New Years returning Friday January 12th in a match up against Flinders.
Many of you will also be aware that the women’s teams have been running a Wine Drive the last few weeks as part of fundraising efforts towards the cost of their new uniforms. This has been amazingly supported by many so thank you if you have participated in this – Kelly Qualmann has been driving this initiative so if you see her around the club please give her thanks – thank you also to Jo-anna, Alex and Jojo who have volunteered to help collect the wine from Bird in Hand on the 14th. Well done to you all.