Norths form heads upwards
NORTHS As continued their early season good form when they defeated East Redbirds 10-8 in round 4 of the Rex Airlines Far North Coast Major League Baseball.
Norths came out blazing in the top of the first when Clint McCarthy and Paul Simes picked up hits after lead-off Matt Vidler was aboard on a walk.
Good contact from Nathan Daley and Danny O’Sullivan ensured the As opened their account with two runs across the plate. Redbirds failed to respond in the bottom of the innings and were soon 4-0 down by the end of the Norths at bat when Vidler and McCarthy scored again courtesy of a Simes triple.
Stung into action, Redbirds responded in kind, securing their first runs when Jake Turcato and Robbie Pruess crossed the plate.
Redbirds manager Matt Riley opted for the pitching change in the third, with Nick Shailes taking his place on the mound as reliever – and his impact was immediate, accounting for 16 batters in five innings and conceding just a single walk.
With the As’ batting shut down, Redbirds set about the task of chasing down the runs. An error in the third saw Reece Smith take the score within one then combined with Luke Davis in fifth to take it to 5-4.
Norths appeared to be in trouble as Shailes carved his way through the line-up. In the top of the eighth, however, Norths coach Danny O’Sullivan led the way with a single to right field, spurring his players into action. Ahren Baxter followed suit along with Steve Ross and Matt Vidler, scoring four runs in the process.
Redbirds had no answer despite putting runners aboard in the bottom of the innings. To their credit, Easts held Redbirds scoreless in the top of the ninth before mounting a spirited comeback. Smith, Davis, Mick Hannigan, Robbie Pruess and Mitchell Watt all plundered the pitching of closer Dan Muggleton, driving in four runs and falling two runs short before Muggleton shut down the game for good.
Paul Simes dominated for Norths with the bat, chalking up three hits and three runs batted in for the afternoon, while team-mate Clint McCarthy continued his good form with two hits.
For Redbirds, Mitchell Watt grabbed a pair of hits, whilst Mick Hannigan, Reece Smith and Robbie Pruess also grabbed the double.