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The VSBL Division 1 finals picture is shaping up with two games to go as Waverley and Upwey Ferntree Gully lead the way.

Essendon Bombers 5 v Geelong Baycats 0

The Bombers bounced back after a tough 2-0 loss to Sandringham the week before.

The majority of the game was quick and quiet, as Essendon scored one in the top of the first and there was no scoring for the rest of the game until the Bombers got four in the ninth.

Geelong had eight hits while Essendon had seven, but the Baycats were unable to capitalize in the same way the Bombers were, leaving nine on base compared to just four for the Bombers.. Rudy Jaramillo threw 8.66 innings, striking out 15 and giving up seven hits, two walks, and five earned runs. Hayden Peoples came on in relief and collected two singles.

Josh Davies and Hayden Peoples each collected multiple hits as Jaramillo, Jordan Baumann, Kelii Zablan, and Tyler Luther-Wilson had one each. Baumann laid down a great bunt to get runners into scoring position but they fell just short.

Essendon's Gareth Formisano gave up six hits in six innings with two walks and four strikeouts. He had 17 first pitch strikes and Jaramillo had 23. Sam Street covered three innings with nine first pitch strikes, two hits, and three strikeouts.

Jarryd Rogers plated three runs with a home run and a double while Jared Cruz, Darby Sexton and Christian Caminiti singled. Michael Formisano walked and singled for two RBIs and Jack Giles tripled.

Davies, Sexton, and Rogers led the way with quality at-bats. Sixth-place Essendon has a 7-5 record on 54 runs for and 43 against while eighth-place Geelong sits at 6-6 with 88 runs for and 52 against. The Bombers hosts Upwey Ferntree Gully and the Baycats host Melbourne next.

Fitzroy Lions 6 v Berwick City Cougars 13

The Cougars were the first on the board with one run in the second. They put one on the board in the next two innings too, but by the end of the fifth inning, Fitzroy led 4-3. The Lions added two in the sixth but gave up six to the Cougars as Berwick turned the game around. The Cougars went on to add one in the seventh and three in the eighth.

Warwick Purchase threw four innings for Fitzroy, giving up four hits, five walks, and three earned runs with one strikeout. Riley Hill covered 1.33 innings with five hits, three walks, and six earned runs. Ryan Mitchell handled 1.66 innings with one hit, one walk, and an unearned run. Danny King gave up four hits and three runs in an inning of work.

Craig Barnett pitched five innings with eight hits, two walks, four runs, and five K's. Aaron Ouwehand gave up two runs, one of them unearned, with four hits, two walks, and a strikeout as Cain Bumpstead threw a scoreless inning.

Berwick's winning offense included a home run, single, walk, and three RBIs for Barnett. Bumpstead plated two with a single and a walk while Andrew Gibbens doubled and Aidan Willis walked three times and had a base hit for an RBI. Marcus Graham doubled twice with a walk and two RBIs, and Matthew Homfray had a single, double, walk, and two RBIs. John King and Ouwehand had two singles each and Perry Wilkinson singled too.

Fitzroy's Gideon Van Twest Smith singled twice and walked as Purchase had three singles and a walk for two RBIs. Ethan Epifanio, Jordan Hill, Riley Hill, and King had singles while Tyler Trevaskis plated a run and Thomas Wilson had two RBI singles.

Berwick sits ninth with five wins and seven losses with 74 runs scored for and 63 against. The Cougars play Waverley on the road next and Fitzroy hosts Sandringham.

Melbourne Demons 4 v Sandringham Royals 9

The Demons struck first with two in the second, and it wasn't until the bottom of the third that Sandringham got on the board with three. Melbourne retook the lead with two more in the fourth, but when the fifth inning was over, Sandringham led 5-4. The Royals went on to score three in the seventh and one in the eighth while keeping the Demons from scoring anymore.

Declan Croker started for Sandringham, throwing 4.33 innings with seven hits, two walks, four runs, and two strikeouts. Grant Irving kept the Demons from scoring in 4.66 innings of relief, giving up just one hit and a HBP with five strikeouts.

Mitchell Bowen threw 1.66 innings for Melbourne, giving up four hits and two runs with a strikeout. One unearned run scored during Nicholas Cleland's inning on the mound where the Royals got two hits and a walk. Mitch Ellis also pitched an inning, giving up just one hit with two strikeouts. Sandringham got three earned runs off Hayden Godbold, who gave up two hits, one walk, and one HBP during 2.33 innings with a strikeout. Kye Stehr gave up three runs - two of them earned - with three hits and a walk during two innings.

Irving had three RBIs with a double and a home run while Sam Skinner recorded a single, a double, and an RBI. Matthew Blackmore had an RBI single, Harrison Wills knocked in another run, and Will Tucker doubled. Sandringham's other base hits came from Timothy Lane, Zak Skinner, and Brandon Stenhouse.

Harvey Mitchelhill had two singles and an RBI for Melbourne as Stephen Lawrence, Sadi Nergiz, and Slade Squire had the other RBIs. Tim Sullivan, Ethan Scalzo, Finn O'Connell, and Bronson Neave collected hits.

The Royals sit fourth with a 7-4-1 record on 74 runs scored and 53 given up. Sandringham heads to Fitzroy and Melbourne visits Geelong next.

Blackburn Orioles 0 v Sunshine Eagles 5

The Eagles got an early start with two runs in the second, and with strong pitching on their side, they kept rolling, scoring two more in the fifth and another in the seventh.

Jeremy Young had a fabulous complete game start, giving up just two hits and no walks to last year's premiers with 10 strikeouts. He had a single and a walk at the plate and was backed up offensively by Bryce Aldridge with a single, a double, and an RBI, as well as Allister Lovelock who had an RBI and two singles. Josh Byrne had an RBI single, Allan de San Miguel plated a run, and Billy Parsons had two hits for one RBI. Jordan Young singled too.

Scott Mitchinson threw six innings for Blackburn, giving up seven hits and four runs - three of them earned - with three strikeouts. Jacob Evans contributed two innings and gave up the only two walks of the game, with two hits, one run, and a strikeout. Ben Leslie and Chris Nicholas had Blackburn's only two RBIs of the day.

Following this rematch of the 2019/20 grand final, Sunshine sits fifth with a 7-4-1 record on 70 runs for and 46 against. Blackburn has slipped to seventh with a 6-5-1 record on 67 runs for and 65 against.

Sunshine hosts Cheltenham and Blackburn plays Malvern at home in the next round.

Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 8 v Cheltenham Rustlers 5

The Tigers clinched the lead in the ninth inning to secure the win over their fellow top three team. The game was tied at five-all in the top of the ninth when Staci Rogers reached on a dropped third strike.

Donavon Hendricks got the win with two runs on five hits across three innings. He struck out two and walked none. Jarrod Turner started the game, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings with five strikeouts.

Jack Enciondo took the loss after giving up three runs on three hits in just over an inning. Russell Ferguson started the game, surrendering five runs on seven hits and three walks in four innings. Andrew Campbell appeared in relief with two hits, one walk, and one strikeout in 3.66 innings.

The Tigers scored in the first on an RBI single from Jordan Elliot as the team went on to collect 12 total hits. Elliot, Josh Hendricks, and Riley Light all had three hits while Harvey Chinn stole two bases. Peter Schroeders had a single, two walks, a HBP, and an RBI.

Mack Turley had a 2-RBI double for Cheltenham as Jack Dunn had two singles and an RBI. Ben Fierenzi did the same with a walk added in there. Andrew Gribbin doubled, Michael Leslie and Sam Michael singled, and Conor Myles had a single and a double.

Upwey Ferntree Gully sits second behind Waverley with nine wins and three losses on 82 runs for and 50 runs against. Cheltenham is in third place with eight wins and four losses on 82 runs for and 61 runs against. The Tigers head to Essendon and the Rustlers visit Sunshine.

Waverley Wildcats 11 v Malvern Braves 8

The first two innings were scoreless before Waverley got on the board with one in the third. The Wildcats collected five in the fourth before giving up two to Malvern.

The fifth inning saw Waverley get two more and Malvern add three, while the sixth was reversed. With Waverley leading 11-7, the Braves struggled to get more offense going, only managing one more in the ninth.

Waverley's Luke Papanicolaou covered 4.66 innings with five hits, three walks, and five runs - four of them earned. He struck out six. Andrew Russell pitched 3.66 innings with five hits, a walk, a run, and five strikeouts. One hit and two unearned runs came during Jamie Papanicolaou's two-thirds of an inning on the mound.

Ryan Dale pitched 3.66 innings for Malvern, giving up one earned run and two unearned runs on three hits, three walks, and a HBP. Tyler Dale gave up four hits and two walks with an unearned run in three innings. Geoff Holland gave up three hits, one walk, and two HBP, and five earned runs with a strikeout. Kennedy struck out two and walked one in his inning of relief while Ryan Othen gave up one hit, three walks, one HBP, and two runs with a strikeout during his time on the mound.

Chris Burke had two RBIs on a single and a double while Justin Burke singled and Jarryd Dale and Ryan Dale both doubled. Jack Hanger and Henry Hayman recorded RBI singles while Mitch Kennedy homered and Nicholas Parton and Gavin Woolger collected base hits.

Waverley's Damon Hill had three singles, a walk, and an RBI. Mitchell Homfray had three base hits, a walk, and two RBIs. Mohi Kahui doubled and walked for three RBIs, Jordan Ley singled, and Reece Longstaff had two hits and a walk for two RBIs. Jacob Sheldon-Collins saw the ball well, taking four walks and a single for two RBIs.

Waverley is the top team with a 10-2 record on 86 runs for and 45 against. Malvern has a 2-9-1 record in tenth place with 60 runs for and 97 against. Waverley hosts Berwick and Malvern visits Blackburn next.

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