Resurgent Redbirds show their Best
By GEOFF HALLMANN
EASTS Redbirds' Stephen Best celebrated his 21st birthday in exceptional style at the weekend, pitching his team to a 9-7 victory over Brothers in Rex Airlines Far North Coast Major League Baseball.
It was Best by name and best by nature as he gave up 11 hits across nine innings, striking out six and conceding just three walks.
The Brethren appeared to have the wood on Redbirds and looked set to ensure their run of losses continued for another week.
Brothers brought in five runs in their first three innings, but in the bottom of the third it was as if a new team had entered the game.
Redbirds ambushed their opponents with a six-run surge, overcoming the deficit.
Best settled into a groove from the fourth, working with his field to deprive Brothers of any further runs for four innings.
Redbirds kicked their lead out to 9-7 in the fifth and defended their lead into the ninth, allowing the Brethren two runs before shutting their game down completely.
Redbirds enjoyed the return of the reliable Matt Davis following 15 weeks out with an ankle injury.
Davis picked up three hits to share the limelight with Best, who also celebrated with three fine hits. Reece Smith and Jason Rose each had two.
For Brothers, Luke Sharpe picked up three hits and Mark Newstead two.
In the other game, Workers romped over Norths 24-7.
Norths found themselves on the back end of a Workers rampage in the first, conceding 14 runs.
The As showed glimpses of old with runs in the second, third and seventh, but it was dominating hitting of Workers kept the game beyond reach of their opponents.
For Workers, Martin Tucker enjoyed his return from representative duties with three hits for the afternoon, as did Sam Keehn and Aaron Olley (home run).
Dallas Knapp set the bar high with five hits from six at-bats, including a home run.
Michael McClelland chimed in with four singles to boost his average for the season.
For Norths, only youngster Matt Linger picked up two hits.
Norths have now been consigned to the wooden spoon, while Redbirds have leapfrogged Brothers to regain second position.