Workers now in box seat
WORKERS’ third double-header win in a row has them well-placed atop the Rex Airlines Far North Coast Major League baseball ladder but with two weeks to go and Norths with a game in hand, the minor premiership could still go down to the clash between the sides in the final round.
Workers endured a Brothers onslaught on Saturday, winning the first game 4-3 then holding out a seventh inning fightback for an 11-9 win in the second game.
Brothers kicked off the scoring in the first game when Ricky McGuiness crossed the plate off a Michael Gahan right field double.
Dallas Knapp ensured the equaliser in the bottom of the fourth, before Brothers responded with two more in the fifth.
Workers tied the game again in the bottom of the innings, but only with the assistance of an uncharacteristic wild throw from Brothers second baseman Matt Buckley.
Workers were challenged with the bats as Brothers’ veteran closing pitcher Dave Parsons kept control until Troy Pruess capped a fine session atop the mound with a single to left that allowed him to score the winning run for Workers on Michael McClelland’s double to centre.
In the second game, six Brothers errors gifted Workers the lead in a four-run blast in the second and another in the third.
Buckley showed his class with four hits, including two doubles. Fellow veteran Jeff Mackney joined the party with two hits.
Workers appeared well in control going into the final innings, leading 11-3, but Brothers surged, belting closing pitcher Michael McClelland.
Five runs were scored before Workers finally made the final out when centrefielder Aaron Olley denied Mackney his third hit and the two runners from scoring to tie the scores.
In the other game, Redbirds generously assisted Workers on their minor premiership quest by disposing of Norths 9-5.
Jake Turcato celebrated his recent return from injury with a three-run home run in the third innings, sending Redbirds out to a 5-0 lead.
Norths could manage just a single run in reply in the bottom of the fourth when Ahren Baxter crossed off a Dan Muggleton sacrifice to rightfield.
Errors handed Norths their second run in the bottom of the fifth and solid hitting from Jake Anderson, Dan O’Sullivan and Paul Simes yielded three more in the seventh before Redbirds closer Luke Davis shut down the Norths batters.
Robbie Pruess produced two doubles for Redbirds, while Matt Vidler and Ahren Baxter also had two hits each.
Workers are now two wins clear of Norths, while Redbirds are just a single point back.
Norths have two games against Brothers in hand this Saturday.