Pitching the key in grand final
REX Airlines Far North Coast Major League baseball has been a three-horse race all season and now it’s down to two – Northsand Redbirds.
Workers found out how costlya single loss can be when they missed out on a free ride to the grand final as Norths toppled them to secure the minor premiership.
Redbirds then eliminated Workers in the preliminary final series last weekend.
Norths and Redbirds met last night in the first game of the best-of-three grand final serieson Baxter Field in Lismore.
Of the past 19 series, only two have been played under the new pitching restrictions.
Previously a pitcher had no limit on pitches they could throw in a game, nor across the weekend. All too often it meant one pitcher dominated the series – at the same time running the risk of damage to their arm.
The new rules have forced teams to develop their depth of pitching and that means in a deciding third game a team performance will be just as important as a champion pitcher.
Norths’ pitching line-up includes Paul Simes, Jason Britt and Clint McCarthy, who complement the return of former ABL pitcher Brad Daly.
Daly recently returned from time out of the game and commitments away from the area.
Dan Muggleton, Jamie Weekes and Steve Ross provide the back-up.
Redbirds have worked effectively with Robbie Pruess and Nick Shailes deep into the innings for most double-headers this season, with Luke Davis and Michael Munro also having performed well when handed the pitching duties.
Youngster Jack Jeffery provides a raw, yet effective performance, while Peter and Steve Best can start or finish any game.
The second game on Baxter Field starts at 2pm with the third game following 20 minutes later if required.
GRAND finals will be played across junior and senior divisions throughout the day at Albert Park.
Norths will have the opportunity to take every major title, with teams in every game.
In Division 1 Norths will battle minor premiers Workers. Norths were the first through, having beaten Workers two weeks ago.
Workers had a hard-fought win over Redbirds last weekend but may have lost pitcher Dean Baldwin to a finger injury.
Workers will need solid games from Matt Gooding, Chris Daley and Jason Caught on the mound to make it through nine inningsof grand final baseball.
For Norths the talent is plentiful, with former Major League hurler Gus Daly a solid pitcher for his side.
Norths hit the ball well and are well used to taking this title.
In Division 2 it will be Workers and Norths again, while undefeated minor premiers Norths take on Brothers in Division 3.
In the juniors, Norths kick off the morning in Under-16s when they take on minor premiers Brothers Gold.
Mid-morning Norths’ Under-20s will take on Brothers and in Under-14s they will face the might of Easts Angels.