Redbirds race to the finals
EASTS Redbirds set the stage for a race to the finals with two wins over Brothers in the Saturday double-header of Rex Airlines Far North Coast Major League Baseball.
Redbirds won a tight first game 4-3 and prevailed 3-0 in the second.
Brothers dominated the early innings of the first game, with Jeremy Sexton and Mick Youngberry crossing the plate in the second innings to lead 2-0.
Pitcher Dave Parsons provided Brothers with five scoreless innings despite giving up eight hits and three walks.
Parsons worked well with his field to deny Redbirds scoring opportunities but as the game moved into the later innings Redbirds began their run.
Nick Shailes started the ball rolling with a single to left field as lead-off hitter and made his way to third before coming home on a wild throw from shortstop.
Brothers made it a two-run lead again when Sexton was walked and brought home by Jake Muscat’s single to left field.
Redbirds set about chasing down the deficit in the bottom of the seventh.
Steve Best demonstrated his speed, getting aboard with a hit and stealing second base to be in scoring position.
Shailes scored the run and worked himself aboard with another infield hit, this time to third. Robbie Pruess belted in the tying run with a shot to right field, then Reece Smith ensured the 4-3 walk-off win with a single to centrefield.
Their second encounter was similar, with neither side able to score until well into the game.
Redbirds broke the dead-lock with a three-run surgein the fifth.
Pitcher Nick Shailes dominated Brothers with seven scoreless innings, including just three hits, no walks and eight strike-outs – a display unrivalled this season.
Brothers pitcher Jake Muscat may have conceded the win, but his six-innings game was an exceptional performance for a young player. He allowed just seven hits and no walks.
Muscat also did well with the bat in the first game with three hits, easily his best performance in the top grade.
Reece Smith grabbed three for his side along with Nick Shailes, while Peter and Steve Best had two each.
In the second game, Michael Gahan, Matt Buckley and Jeff Mackney grabbed singles for Brothers, while Jack Jeffery, Scott McNamara, Peter Best and Steve Best had doubles for Redbirds.
In the other game played on Saturday, Norths defeated Workers 7-3.
The greasiness of Thew Field following the rain last week continued to play a role in the error count for both sides.
A two-run home run to catcher Ahren Baxter in the sixth innings was a highlight for Norths, stretching his team’s lead to 7-2.
Clint McCarthy’s three hits for Norths yielded just one run, while Gus Daly, Paul Simes and Matt Vidler’s two hits brought in another two.