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2019/20 VSBL Season: Division One Round 21

Sunshine maintains top spot as plenty of teams push for a finals birth in the 2019/20 VSBL Division 1 season. Blackburn and Cheltenham are battling for top spot in the reserves while the top four in the thirds could go any way but is lead by Blackburn. In the fourths, Melbourne has cemented top spot while Essendon continues to make a statement.

Division 1 Firsts - Round 21

Fitzroy Lions 4 v Sandringham Royals 10

The Royals got the jump on the Lions at the start of this game and managed a 3-0 lead after five as a five-run eighth inning exploded their lead to a 10-2 margin.

Fitzroy scored two runs in the sixth and seventh before the Lions' bats put up another two in the ninth as they were tasked with a big margin to reach.

Riley Hill picked up the loss for the Lions when he went through six innings for 11 hits and five runs with three strikeouts.

Fitzroy's James Little picked up a double RBI in his one at bat, Gavin Juchnevicius getting a run from his one hit of the game too. Tyler Trevaskis got himself a double and Brock Pawley picked up two hits and two RBIs.

Cody Anderson for the Royals got the win, going the full nine innings, only giving up seven hits and three earned runs with a whopping 10 strikeouts. It's the fourth time in five games that Anderson has scored 10 or more strikeouts.

Anderson also worked the bat, getting a hit that he converted into a run as Jai Lyttleton batted 1.000 with an RBI in his second game. Zac Skinner had three hits from five at bats that included a double as he had a run and two RBIs mixed in there.

Branden Stenhouse was another standout for Sandringham who went 2-for-4 including a huge home run with two RBIs. Declan Ferguson went  3-for-4 as he picked up two doubles to go along with three runs and an RBI. Harrison Wills collected two hits, one run and an RBI while Paul Rutgers picked up an RBI double. Will Tucker had two runs off two hits, one of which was a double while Declan Crocker had the same amount of hits and runs with an added RBI. 

The Royals got one back on the Lions, who they lost to in the midweeks to keep ninth spot, one place above Fitzroy.

Sandringham and Fitzroy will face each other at Melbourne Ballpark in the final series game between these two as midweek fixtures continue on Tuesday night.

Cheltenham Rustlers 4 v Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 3

The Tigers gave themselves every chance of winning this one but fell short at the last hurdle.

Upwey Ferntree Gully got the first run of the game in the opening dig, and the score stayed that way through four. It was until the fifth that the Rustlers added two runs, and they followed up with two more in the seventh to take a 4-1 lead.

Shutting the Tigers out since the first inning and heading into the final chance to score for the home team, the Rustlers almost lost all that they'd worked up so far.

Upwey Ferntree Gully scored two runs before Cheltenham closed the game for good to get back at the Tigers for the one-all draw last round.

For the Tigers, Donovan Hendricks picked up the loss as he lasted 6.2 innings for 10 hits and three earned runs. Jarrod Turner closed it out for the Tigers in 2.1 innings, allowing just one hit and zero runs.

Nicholas Rice had an RBI single, Justin Swanton an RBI double which he came home on later while Jordan Elliot had a double also. Michael Oxworth got himself two hits including a double and an RBI from it. 

Cheltenham plays Upwey Ferntree Gully at home in a midweek fixture as the Rustlers keep pushing for a top-four spot. The Rustlers are oh-so-close, sitting at 11-9-1 while fourth-place Blackburn is 11-8-1. Upwey Ferntree Gully isn't far off either, with a 8-8-2 record keeping the Tigers in sixth place. 

Photo: Donovan Hendricks of Upwey Ferntree Baseball Club - Baseball Victoria

Berwick City Cougars 16 v Melbourne Demons 3

Berwick claimed a huge win over Melbourne to improve to a 9-10-1 record.

The Cougars took an early 4-1 lead, adding another in the third before a massive 10-run fourth inning. Melbourne mustered just two more runs in the sixth, giving up one more to this hard-hitting, fast-finishing Berwick side as the game drew to a close.

Jordan Bradley got the win for the Cougars, giving up five hits and two runs with two strikeouts. He was helped along by Matthew West and Aaron Ouwehand who combined for five innings, three hits and one run.

Mark Surtees had two hits on the day which allowed him to get a run and an RBI as Bradley had a good day at the plate too with two runs, a double and and two RBIs. Lucas Taylor had two runs from one hit with an RBI. 

Cain Bumpstead had a field day with three hits from four at bats, all converted into runs and all bringing in runners too as he had three RBIs. Craig Barnett followed suit with two hits from three at bats, as he scored two runs himself with two RBIs also. Aiden Willis went had a 2-for-3 day and was able to score three times.

Coach Shaun Surtees noted that the Cougars started this game with great pace, a valuable benefit when they're playing away from home. "We had RBIs across the board and QAB's throughout the day from the whole team," Surtees said. "Luc Taylor was excellent at SS for us on Sunday, while our outfield was flawless again."

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the Cougars are ready to finish strong. "QAB’s and executing with RISP are the keys, especially in a timed mid-week game when one run early could be the difference," Surtees added. "We are excited for the game on Tuesday against Melbourne and our two remaining series. We are getting close to achieving some of our key goals for the season but we will remain focused on the old cliché of one game at a time."

Coach Shaun Surtees noted that the Cougars started this game with great pace, a valuable benefit when they're playing away from home. "We had RBIs across the board and QAB's throughout the day from the whole team," Surtees said. "Luc Taylor was excellent at SS for us on Sunday, while our outfield was flawless again."

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the Cougars are ready to finish strong. "QAB’s and executing with RISP are the keys, especially in a timed mid-week game when one run early could be the difference," Surtees added. "We are excited for the game on Tuesday against Melbourne and our two remaining series. We are getting close to achieving some of our key goals for the season but we will remain focused on the old cliché of one game at a time."

This marked the Berwick's third win in a row while the Demons are on a four-game losing streak ahead of a crucial midweek matchup.

Essendon Bombers 1 v Sunshine Eagles 8

Sunshine won over Essendon on the weekend as the Eagles tighlty hang on to top spot, sitting there with a 16-4 record.

Sunshine scored four runs in the third to take a comfortable lead, getting another in the sixth and three in the seventh while only allowing Essendon to score that one time in the top of the seventh. 

Jeremy Young got the win for the Eagles, going eight innings and only giving up five hits and one run with four strikeouts.

Jordan Young went two from three with two runs and an RBI, Rory Meddick had a double on top of two runs and an RBI. Jeremy Young went three from four with two RBIs but could just convert one of his hits to a run. Adam Irons had three hits including a double that he converted into a run. Nikau Pouaka-Grego had an RBI double while Jason Tutt had a two RBI single.

The Bombers will look to turn things around after a three-game losing streak in the midweek game and the following series, with Esssendon now sitting at 10-11.

Waverley Wildcats v Blackburn Orioles - WASHOUT

This game was washed out between these two top-four teams who will face each other again in a midweek matchup at Waverley. Waverley is 12-8 and Blackburn is 11-8-1. The Orioles won the first game 2-1.

Newport Rams v Geelong Baycats - WASHOUT

A washout between Newport and Geelong has dampened the Baycats chances of taking the top spot, as they sit three wins behind first-place Sunshine. 

However, Geelong will hope for better weather in their mid-week game against the Rams this week as the Baycats look to bridge the gap.

Division 1 Reserves - Round 16

Essendon Bombers 3 v Sunshine Eagles 4

Essendon was on the winning end of a one-run margin last week however the Bombers found themselves on the other end this week as the Eagles prevailed in an upset.

Sunshine scored one in the second as Essendon answered with two in the thirds. It was a back-and-forth battle with both teams chipping away to a tied ball game after four. It wasn't until the final frame in the bottom of the seventh that Sunshine was able to break free and score the winning run. 

The Eagles were second-last heading into this clash with sixth-placed Essendon, however they have recorded their fourth win of the season and jumped up a spot. 

Essendon will hope to bounce back against Blackburn next week while Sunshine is away to Berwick.

Newport Rams 1 v Geelong Baycats 4

All of the runs in this game were scored in the first inning as both teams defence was the main element of the four-inning, weather-affected game.

Lachlan Hockey and Emerson Rickard shared duties on the mound for Geelong and restricted the Rams to a single run the entire game as Will Brennan was terrific behind the plate.

Dion Kirschener was a standout bat for the Baycats with three hits, all from quality at bats. Blake Witham picked up two hits for the home team while Rickard, Angus McNee and Chris Durston each picked up one hit. 

Geelong is 5-8-2 after this game as the Baycats prepare to travel to Waverley this weekend while Newport hits the road to play Upwey Ferntree Gully.

Fitzroy Lions 4 v Sandringham Royals 3

Fitzroy was out to a 4-0 lead after two innings but couldn't score after that as Sandringham pressed for runs.

The Royals scored three runs throughout the fourth and fifth innings as each side didn't give the other a sniff heading into the final couple of innings as the Lions held on to win.

Both sides were on three wins heading into this game as they look to end the final few rounds on a high, with Fitzroy now holding a 4-11-1 record.

Next weekend, Fitzroy faces Cheltenham while Sandringham is away to Melbourne.

Cheltenham Rustlers 7 v Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 2

Cheltenham had three single-run digs in a row before the Tigers scored two in the fifth. 

The Rustlers steadied in the seventh and final inning to add four more runs to their tally, a feat that the TIgers couldn't replicate at the bottom.

Cheltenham is hanging onto second place with a 13-3 record, a couple of wins in front of third-placed Upwey Ferntree Gully.

The Rustlers will take on Fitzroy this week while the Tigers host Newport.

Berwick City Cougars 0 v Melbourne Demons 5

Melbourne got a shutout over Berwick, marking the Demons' second shutout win in a row as they sit fifth with a 9-6 record.

Melbourne's runs came in the second and the third innings, with the rest of the game being pretty quiet. 

The Cougars meanwhile have a 7-7-1 record as they broke a two-game winning streak.

The Demons will host Sandringham in the next round while Berwick will host Sunshine.

Waverley Wildcats v Blackburn Orioles - WASHOUT

This washout results affects both Waverley and Blackburn as these top-four teams are fourth and first respectively, with a few teams hot on their tail to knock them out. In the next round the Wildcats host Geelong while the Orioles host Essendon.

Division 1 Thirds - Round 16

Sandringham Royals 4 v Fitzroy Lions 2

Sandringham had a four-run lead at the completion of the fifth dig thanks to a three-run third inning however Fitzroy scored two runs at the bottom of the fifth. 

The Royals didn't let that small period of Lions momentum continue as both teams defences overpowered the offences to end the game in Sandringham's favour.

The Royals have improved their season record to an even 8-8 and sit sixth but will need some more wins on the board in the final weeks, starting with Melbourne. Fitzroy is 4-11-1 and takes on Cheltenham next.

Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 5 v Cheltenham Rustlers 13

The Tigers had a good start to this game, putting two runs on the board, but the Rustlers went a step above and got seven in the opening frame. 

When Uwpey Ferntree Gully scored one more in the third, Cheltenham put up four. Both sides managed two additional runs as the game drew to a close, but the Rustlers remained far in front. Cheltenham is now on a two-game winning streak with this victory while the Tigers have slipped a few places on a back of a string of losses within the past few rounds.

Upwey Ferntree Gully will hope to get its season back on track at home this week against Newport while Cheltenham will travel to Fitzroy.

Sunshine Eagles 1 v Essendon Bombers 7

The Bombers were steady in their approach to this game as they scored a singular run in each of the first four innings before the Eagles scored their one and only run of the game in the fifth.

The Bombers ended their game with three runs in the sixth which the Eagles weren't able to come back from when they played the seventh.

Essendon is third with a 10-4-2 record ahead of a tough matchup against Blackburn in this upcoming round, while Sunshine will want to improve on a 1-12-1 record at home to Berwick.

Melbourne Demons 7 v Berwick City Cougars 2

Melbourne came out of the blocks early with three runs in the first, followed by a further three runs in the following three innings to see a 6-1 lead after four.

The Cougars scored one of their two runs in the first and the other in the fifth before the Demons took one back in the sixth.

The two evenly-placed teams still have some way to go before entering finals calculations however Melbourne is closer with a 7-7-1 record. The Demons are hoping to make it a three-game winning streak this weekend against Sandringham while Berwick will be away to Sunshine.

Waverley Wildcats v Blackburn Orioles - WASHOUT

These top-four teams got washed out which could affect the standings come the end of the season.

For now, first-place Blackburn is just barely ahead of second before facing Essendon while fourth-place Waverley will take on Geelong this weekend.

Geelong Baycats v Newport Rams - WASHOUT

The Baycats had the chance for top spot but unfortunately, the game got washed out but it still sets up a big game against Waverley this weekend while Newport will travel to Upwey Ferntree Gully.

Division 1 Fourths - Round 16

Newport Rams 5 v Geelong Baycats 15

The Baycats blitzed through this game with plenty of runs, a nine-run second inning going a long way to claiming their eighth win of the season.

Geelong was up 12-1 after two innings before the Rams mounted a small comeback, recording four runs in their third turn at the plate while keeping the home side scoreless. 

To finish the game in the fourth inning, Geelong scored a further three runs as the Rams struggled to keep up all the way through and recorded their 15th game without a win.

Travis Duxson was on the mound to start for Geelong, going three innings as Cooper Rickard close the game out 1.2 innings.

Jackson Viney was good at the plate for the Baycats, going three from three with four RBIs. Duxson went two from three while Alex Hockey and Jake Elderfield hit a triple and double respectively. 

For the Baycats, it's their second 10-run win in a row and sixth consecutive win which has seen them shoot up the standings from 11th at round 10 to fifth at the completion of this round.

Newport plays Upwey Ferntree Gully next and Geelong travels to Waverley. 

Sandringham Royals 1 v Fitzroy Lions 4

In this matchup, it was Fitzroy that prevailed in a game that was even after four and a half innings until the home team took control.

Each team failed to score in the first two innings, but that changed in the third when each team got on the board once in their respective appearances. 

The Lions were in desperate need for a win, with their last coming in round eight, and they recorded their third of the season and moved up a spot on the ladder to 10th. It was a bitter blow to the Royals who had only lost once in their last five games as they remain in contention for a finals berth.

Sandringham will hope they can get back to winning against Melbourne this weekend while Fitzroy will be full of confidence at home against Cheltenham. 

Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 10 v Cheltenham Rustlers 11

It was a game with plenty of surprises and big hits as Cheltenham scored a walkoff win over Upwey Ferntree Gully.

The first inning ended with a 6-3 scoreline in the Tigers' favour as the sides added one more run each in the second. It wasn't until the Rustlers came to within one run at the bottom of the fifth that saw both teams desperate to win even more.

The Tigers battled hard to extend their lead to four after a three run dig, however Cheltenham refused to go down without a fight.

The Rustlers scored five runs in an epic walkoff victory as they square their season record to 8-8 leading into a game with Fitzroy this weekend. Upwey Ferntree Gully plays Newport at home.

Sunshine Eagles 5 v Essendon Bombers 15

In a largely tight game, Essendon got away in the final dig of the game which saw the final scoreline balloon out to 10 runs.

Those 10 runs that the margin ended up being were all scored in that final inning for the Bombers after Sunshine did well to come back from a 2-5 deficit after the first inning, scoring three in the fourth to even it up.

The big win for the Bombers sees them jump ahead of Waverley, up to third place ahead of a tough matchup against Blackburn this weekend. For the Eagles, they'll host Berwick, looking for a win.

Melbourne Demons 9 v Berwick City Cougars 5

Berwick never looked out of this game even as Melbourne scored five runs in fourth in reply to the first run of the game, which the Cougars brought around in the second.

The Cougars came close to evening the score in the fifth but they could just muster up three runs before the Demons scored another four runs in the sixth, leaving the home team needing six for victory. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they just scored the one as Melbourne kept their place on top.

Berwick remains in the hunt for a place in the finals and will need a win over Sunshine this weekend while Melbourne takes on Sandringham.

Waverley Wildcats v Blackburn Orioles - WASHOUT

The top-four teams got washed out on the weekend just gone, as Blackburn turns their attention to Essendon while Waverley hosts Geelong.

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