Brewers rise to Tiger challenge SUMMER LEAGUE ROUND TWELVE: BALLARAT BREWERS 4 defeated UPWEY TIGERS 1
By Kingsley Collins
In probably their most accomplished all-round performance for the Baseball Victoria Summer League season, Ballarat Brewers snapped a fourgame Division Two losing streak by downing a tenacious Upwey Tigers 4-1 at Prince of Wales Reserve Saturday afternoon. Playing errorless defence behind superb pitching in picture-perfect conditions, the Brew Crew conceded a run in the first, tied it up in the second and edged away in the middle innings on the back of some timely situational hitting and aggressive baserunning – despite passing up opportunities to stretch the lead even further.
Spinning six innings of work against his former club, Ricky Howell carded the win for Ballarat before handing the pill to Seth Haehl to perform the last rites.
Looking dangerous early with some quality at-bats by an experienced upper order – and with former United States professional Donavon Hendricks on the hill Upwey plated a run in the first but henceforth struggled as Howell settled into his work to scatter seven hits over six innings of work.
With their side drawing level in the bottom of the second, Ballarat supporters could sense that there was indeed something brewing when Scott Kerr drove a ball deep into left field in the fifth to drive a couple across the plate – followed by an insurance run in the seventh.
Notwithstanding some apprehension in the Brewer camp – which has seen a number of games slip away this season – Haehl was not about to allow a repeat performance here, whiffing three and conceding a solitary hit to close out the game.
“That was definitely a relief,” Brewers Manager Hamish Burrows said after the game. “I felt that we were the better side all day and that we deserved the win. But there have been a number of other occasions when we have been in a winning position and just haven’t managed to put teams away.”
“Our pitching was really good today. It was great to see Ricky step up against his old club. He is just a fantastic competitor. We were really solid in the field and we came up with some clutch hitting,” he said. “But there is still a fair way for us to go. We had the opportunities to make that a 5-1 or a 6-1 game against their reliever. We have to work harder on the team things – like hitting behind the runners and getting guys into scoring position.” “All of these clubs have good depth,” Burrows said. “It is a really even competition, and we just have to try to bring our best game every week.”
Posting ten hits to eight, the Brewers had grand offensive contributors in new lead-off and today’s relieving pitcher Seth Haehl (two hits), Jon Bramwell (two hits and an RBI), Scott Kerr (one and two) and singles from another five players – including a versatile Howell hitting in the five hole.
With its season record now at four and eight, Ballarat will be away to Port Melbourne next Sunday and will back up from that game with a midweeker against Fitzroy Lions.
UPWEY TIGERS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (1) 3 errors BALLARAT 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 x (4) 0 errors Ballarat Statistics. Hits: S.Haehl 2, J.Bramwell 2, S.Jeffery, L.Ashmore, S.Kerr, R.Howell, H.Burrows, E.Etheridge RBIs: S.Kerr 2, S.Jeffery, J.Bramwell
R.Howell 6 inn, 7 H, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
S.Haehl 3 inn, 1 H, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER
Upwey Ferntree Gully held the upper hand in lower grade games played, dispensing with Ballarat Brewers 19-4 in Division Two Seconds and overpowering Ballarat 14-4 in Division Two Thirds.