A Cal Lutheran batter strikes out. The Far North Coast catcher is Trent Clark and the umpire is Julian Sexton.
A Cal Lutheran batter strikes out. The Far North Coast catcher is Trent Clark and the umpire is Julian Sexton.

Hot Americans play hard ball

IN a stark reminder of why baseball is played in the winter locally, Lismore put on a hot one yesterday to greet the visiting California Lutheran University.

With California much cooler at this time of year, the American side was feeling the effects of the heat almost immediately, but they still comfortably won two games against the Far North Coast Under-23 team on Baxter Field at Albert Park.

The visitors were quick to find a way around the heat problem, exploding on to the scoreboard with a three-run home run in the top of the first, giving them a free walk of the bases in the process.

Far North Coast pitcher Jason Britt soon settled in to control the situation and the locals set about chasing down the deficit.

Britt led the charge with the bat, on board with a line drive to the right side.

Cal Lutheran soon shut down the innings, but could not prevent the Timberjacks scoring in the second and third.

Runs came again for Cal Lutheran in the third, but again it was solid FNC pitching, this time from Zac Keehn, that kept the home side in the hunt.

At 4-2 the locals found themselves under pressure when Keehn was relieved.

Cal Lutheran opened up in the seventh to storm to a 10-3 win.

With player availability and a minimal preparation, the locals felt the pressure in their depth of pitching in the second game.

Cal Lutheran shrugged off the effects of the heat to win it 16-0.

The visitors were full of praise for the local hosts and the quality of the facility.

With just nine days in Australia the side has enjoyed a whirlwind tour that began with six days in Manly and a tough encounter against Claxton Shield hopefuls New South Wales.

The tourists will now move on to the Gold Coast to take on the Queensland Claxton Shield side at Mudgeeraba tomorrow at 6.30pm.

Far North Coast will dust themselves off to form a full squad for the upcoming Queensland Under-23 State titles.

The inaugural competition will be held in Lismore next month and teams will come from throughout Queensland to compete.

Far North Coast will have a tough task given their players have been out of the game since September and most of the visiting sides will be in the tail end of their summer seasons.



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