The final round of 2019/20 VSBL action has arrived across the East, North West and South competitions in Division 4, and there's a lot to look forward to with finals fast approaching. Melbourne is still undefeated with a 17-0 record in the East, while Footscray White and Red have swapped positions at the top in the North West. Cheltenham and Monash Uni are still battling in the South for the number one spot after the regular season wraps up.
It was a battle between two top four sides and it was the lower-ranked Lions who came through in the end.
The win ensures the Lions are safe in third place, currently holding a 9-7-1 record while their semi-final matchup looks set to be Waverley Black again, sitting second with a 14-4 record.
Waverley Black had won the past two games but will look to bounce back from this loss, ending the regular season at home to Blackburn. Fitzroy will hope to put double digits in the win column in a game v Waverley Red.
Melbourne got off to the perfect start against Monash Uni, securing seven runs in their first inning before back-to-back four-run innings immediately after.
The Farmers were able to limit the Demons for the final two innings, but a quiet day offensively sealed the Farmer's fate as Melbourne recorded a third shutout victory for the season.
The 17-0 Demons will hope to go the length of the regular season undefeated when they travel to St Kilda this weekend while for the Farmers, their fourth place 6-8-3 record should be safe even after travelling to Malvern next round.
The two lowest-ranked teams of the division battled it out in a close match where Malvern was able to improve their season record to 6-11, with the potential to move up to fifth after the final game this weekend.
The Braves come up against Monash Uni in the last round of the season while the Orioles will hope to record their third win of the season when they travel to Waverley to take on Wildcats Black.
It was a decisive third inning from Waverley red that propelled them to a hard-fought win over St Kilda on the weekend in a contest that had a run scored in every dig of the five-inning game.
St Kilda led 4-3 after the first and extended the lead by one throughout the second inning, making it a 6-4 ballgame. Then came a big inning from the Wildcats that put them past the Saints who scored one at the bottom of the third.
St Kilda was forced to play catch up for the rest of the game and while they outscored the Wildcats in the next two innings by two runs, it still wasn't enough to power them over the line for a win, scoring four in the final dig of the game when they needed seven for the walkoff.
John Darby, Paul Davison and Tony Page were key for Wildcats Red, while AJ Chalker, Steven Cuthbert and Alyssa Hampson had big contributions for St Kilda.
The loss marks four straight weeks without a win for the Saints, whose hopes of finals have slipped away. St Kilda sits fifth with a 6-10-1 record ahead of a meeting with Melbourne to end the season. Waverley Red, also with a 6-10-1 record after back-to-back win, hosts Fitzroy Gold.
The Jets were out to a ten run lead after four innings before the Bombers were able to put something up on the scoreboard.
A seven-run fourth inning to the Jets complimented their three runs up to that point as the fifth inning produced runs for both sides.
The Bombers scored four at the top but that result and more was cancelled out as the Jets claimed another five runs to their tally.
With both teams out of finals contention, they'll each hope to end the year with wins to their records. The Jets will aim to win at home against North Coburg Gold while the Bombers are away to Mitchell Majors Yellow.
The Lions scored three runs at the bottom of the first inning and were able to extend their lead to seven runs on the back of a four-run effort in the fourth.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the fifth when they had three runners score but the Lions kept scoring and added two more at the bottom.
The Bulldogs scored one at the top of the sixth as they tried to extend the game but couldn't get there, losing their 10th game of the season and third in a row. Fitzroy is still in with a chance at making finals; the Lions are fifth holding a 10-6 record.
In the final round of the season, Footscray Blue takes on Mitchell Majors Black while Fitzroy Maroon hope to keep the season alive at home to North Coburg Maroon.
Mitchell Majors Yellow left nothing on the field as they broke a three-game losing streak in a shutout win over North Coburg Maroon. In that time though, they've managed to remain in the top four with a 11-6 record.
The home side started proceedings in the first inning with four runs, which they replicated in the second inning before a big seven-run effort in the third before ending the game with two more in the fourth. Matt Whyte collected three RBIs on two big hits, while Nick Attard, Joel Burton and John Hawkins also helped Mitchell Majors get the much-needed victory.
It was North Coburg Maroon's second shutout loss of the season, the other time was in round 3, which was also a 17-run margin.
Mitchell Majors Yellow could finish anywhere from third to fifth so it's vital to the team that they beat Essendon Bombers at home this weekend. North Coburg Maroon plays Fitzroy Maroon and will aim to break a 13-game losing streak to end the season.
Footscray Red almost pulled off a miraculous victory against North Coburg Gold in this clash, however the Bulldogs fell agonisingly short with the third-placed Rebels knocking Footscray Red off their perch at the top.
The Rebels started the game with three runs in their first inning before one-run digs in the third and fourth, taking a 5-0 lead into the fifth. It was at the bottom of the fifth that Footscray Red was finally able to get on the board.
The Bulldogs scored one in the fifth and had three runs at the bottom of the sixth, chasing five for the win, however the Rebels were able to get the last out before any more damage was done to the scoreboard.
The North Coburg Gold side has won the past two, sitting third with a 10-5-1 record. The Rebels could still give up their third placing and slip to fifth meaning the game against Essendon Jets is crucial. Before this, Footscray Red hadn't suffered a loss since the second round and the Bulldogs don't want to make that two in a row Footscray plays Fitzroy Blue.
In an almost match-for-match box score, the second inning was the decisive inning for the Bulldogs White team as they took this game against Fitzroy Blue.
The first inning ended 3-2 the way of the Bulldogs as they shot away in the next inning, scoring five runs to two.
The fourth inning saw both sides score four runs before the fourth and final inning saw the exact same scores from both teams as in the first inning.
The constant extra runs Footscray White managed to get over Fitzroy Blue allowed them to win the game, and take top spot in the process as the Bulldogs are on a four-game win streak. Footscray White will have to watch what happens this weekend due to the bye, anticipating a potential overtaking by Footscray Red once more.
Fitzroy Blue has lost the last three and will want to break that streak against Footscray Red this weekend.
Out of the finals race, Mitchell Majors Black had the bye this past week.
This side is sitting eighth with a 5-9-1 record ahead of a final fixture at home against Footscray Blue but have had a stellar second half to season, currently on a four-game win streak.
A strong first few innings from Cheltenham gave them enough of a lead to beat fellow top-four side Berwick on the weekend.
The Rustlers scored three in each of the first and second innings with a two-run dig in between as the Cougars secured their first run of the game at the top of the fourth.
The Cougars next scored in the fifth where they put two more onto their score before the Rustlers' last dig saw one more run before the game ended.
11-1-1 Cheltenham has won five in a row and sits in first place ahead of a trip to St Kilda this weekend while Berwick is third with a 12-4 record and plays Monash Uni at home for the final game of the regular season.
The Saints made sure of their place in the finals with a shutout win over Ormond Glehuntly on the weekend, gathering a six-run lead as the second inning came to a close before adding six more runs in their fourth inning.
The 7-6 Saints are home to Cheltenham this weekend while the Hunters season is now over with the scheduled bye, ending with a 4-12 record in seventh place.
The Farmers shot out of the blocks early in this contest, never looking back as they scored seven in the first inning and led 8-0 after two innings.
The Farmers were held quite well by Melbourne after that point as the Demons finally got on the board at the bottom of the fourth with a singular run, adding two more in the fifth.
Melbourne's finals hopes are over as the Demons sit fifth with a 5-8 record while for the Farmers, they could take first place with a win over Berwick.
The Pumas had the bye to go over their gameplan for the final game of their season against Melbourne at home.
The 1-16 Pumas will look to end the season with a victory against the Demons.