Easts Redbirds’ Jack Jeffrey gets tangled up with the ball while batting against Norths in the Major League grand final at Albert Park, Lismore, on Saturday.
Easts Redbirds’ Jack Jeffrey gets tangled up with the ball while batting against Norths in the Major League grand final at Albert Park, Lismore, on Saturday. CATHY ADAMS

Norths sensational win in baseball

NORTHS are in party mode this week following a sensational win in the Far North Coast Major League baseball grand final series.

The team were favourites after dominating the regular season, taking out the minor premiership and the Interleague.

Despite the tag as favourites, Norths were guarded in their optimism given Redbirds’ history of upsets in grand finals.

But they did it in two games, winning 17-15 on Friday night and 12-9 on Saturday.

On Friday night Norths made the most of seven Redbirds errors to take out a high-scoring encounter.
Norths exploded in the fourth and fifth innings with 10 runs.

Redbirds did their best to stay in the game, countering with six in the fifth innings to trail 14-7.

Starting pitcher Paul Simes kept the Redbirds batters in check until his pitch limit was reached in the sixth innings.

Middle reliever Steve Ross struggled to keep the same control, walking his first three batters before ending the innings with three Redbirds runners stranded.

Ross’ evening failed to improve in the eighth with three batters hit and four runs across the plate.
But Redbirds couldn’t contain Norths, conceding another three runs and the game.

Redbirds were out-hit 12 to 10, with Matt Vidler (4), Clint McCarthy (3) and Ahren Baxter (2) running hot for Norths.

Redbirds shared the hits throughout the order, with Michael Munro, Stephen Best, Jake Turcato and Jeremy Prosser each getting two.

In the second game, Redbirds came agonisingly close again, going down by three.

Norths began where they left off the night before, blasting four runs in the first to set the tone of the afternoon.

The Redbirds pitcher quickly regained control and his hitters didn’t let him down.

By the third Redbirds led 5-4 and looked to set to force a deciding game.

Norths pitcher Jason Britt was far from fazed by the run rush, keeping Redbirds scoreless for the next three innings.

By the top of the sixth Norths were back in control with four runs scored, followed by another three in the seventh, including two from a Danny O’Sullivan home run that bounced off the right-field fence.
At 12-5 down, Redbirds had all the work to do and they were equal to the task.

With the middle-order hitting and two quick errors at shortstop, the side reeled in three runs.
Norths coach Geoff Baxter opted for Clint McCarthy as his closing pitcher in the eighth and the move proved a game winner.

McCarthy shut down the innings with ease before wrapping up the title in the ninth, giving up just one run to leave Redbirds three short.

Munro and Turcato had two hits for Redbirds, along with Graham Snape and Aaron Campbell.
But Norths again dominated with the bat, chalking up 15 hits, including three each to Jason Britt, Danny O’Sullivan, Paul Simes and Ahren Baxter.

Norths’ celebrations were enhanced by wins in the Under-20s and Division 2 and 3 grand finals, as well as having taken out the club championship.

The honours didn’t stop there, with Norths’ Brendan Gillespie (rookie of the year), Dan Muggleton (under-20s player of the year), Clint McCarthy (hitting champion) and Paul Simes (senior player of the year) also picking up silverware.

Jacob Anderson and Gwen Robb, also from the Norths club, received the Commissioner’s awards.
Perennial batting champion Dallas Knapp (Workers) had some consolation for his less than normal year with the bat – by his standards, at least – by taking out the Golden Glove award.

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