With a modified season it didn't take long for the southern zone finalists identified early in the season. We defeated West Torrens 6-3 in a high standard game. The most pleasing aspect was our ability to bunch hits together when required to score multiple runs. The northern zone was won by Port Adelaide.
On Wednesday night we played them for the title, there was much speculation about the potential line up of Port and their pitching rotation. To the surprise of our coaching staff the Port starter was in the pen 30 minutes before game time and threw the entire time (???? we fielded first as well).
Jayden ELDRIDGE started on the hill for us and pounded the strike zone to which the Port hitters couldn't cope with his accuracy and variation.
Our first innings was outstanding, like one of Glueys sprinters in a group 1 race. We hit through the line up scoring a big 6. Ben CLAVELL after a hiatus living away from the bay for a while smashed the ball all night including a triple and double off the top rail on the fence. He also smashed a shot hard down the left field line with bases loaded over the fence that unfortunately curled foul with a strong wind blowing in from right field. With 6 on the board it then became a mental application to continue the dominance.
ELDRIDGE continued his dominance and we scored 2 more in the second innings.....with the score 8-0 it was a matter of staying up mentally. ELDRIDGE completed his 3 innings with Port not getting a sniff and he was followed by Errol BURNS. BURNS continued the dominance on the hill, assisted in the field by 2 double plays with Port showing signs of a revival. BURNS left us in a fantastic position after his 3 innings we were leading 9-0.
Our closer Alec STEFF came in to close the game out but didn't have good rhythm and struggled slightly to find the zone, when he did he was dominant also. Frustratingly with Alec struggling a little bit and 2 simple errors meant Flynn LUDERS was brought in for the last out. Flynn found the zone straight away resulting in a soft popped up foul fly ball followed by much celebration. Final score 9-3.
Credit to Max FORSTER who injured his shoulder in the WT game resulting in him experiencing throwing difficulties. I am sure with much sadness he contacted me game day advising his injury would prevent him being able to take the field but his hitting was not affected, this gave the opportunity for Ben CLAVELL to start and he clearly took his opportunity.
We used 15 players throughout the season and I am reliably informed we only lose 3 players from this squad next season with a plethora of good players about to reach this level....the future of home grown Division 1 players looks bright.
A special thanks to Andrew GLUYAS, Pete ARNOLD for assisting me throughout the season and Lachlan ELDRIDGE... Grand Final night. To Leon ELDRIDGE a huge thanks for doing all the administration and scoring.
Thanks also to a number of supporters who came out to watch the final. It was greatly appreciated by the players and coaching staff.
It was special to win the Don Rice League Trophy for me as he played a special part in my life. Don was a legend in our club and league......and a legend of a person.
SAFE HITS: (3) Ben CLAVELL, (2) Dylan BENTLEY (1) Joe GLUYAS, Tyson ARNOLD, Alec STEFF & Max FORSTER