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The first three rounds of the 2020/21 VSBL Division 1 season are complete, with Sunshine and Upwey Ferntree Gully leading the way. The season resumes on 16 and 17 January 2021 as teams look to start the year off strong.

Division 1 Firsts

Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 0 v Waverley Wildcats 5

The Tigers came into this game with a 3-0 record but they ran out of steam this weekend at Waverley.

Jordan Ley started things off with a sacrifice fly scoring the first Waverley run. The Wildcats scored another in the third, followed by three runs in the eighth all while holding Upwey Ferntree Gully scoreless.

Waverley's Jamie Papanicolaou was the winning pitcher, giving up just one hit in his scoreless three innings along with one walk and two strikeouts. Liam Evans and Andrew Russell contributed in relief. Darcy Longstaff had started the game, covering the first three and two-thirds innings with one hit, one strikeout and no runs.

Jarrod Turner took the loss, throwing five and a third innings with eight hits and two runs given up. He walked one and struck out six. His teammates Peter Schroeders and Jordan Elliot had the only two singles of the day.

Waverley's hits included base hits from Ben Aslett, Mitch Wilhite and Damon Hill. Mitchell Homfray singled twice and walked. Mohi Kahui had a pair of singles and an RBI while Jordan Ley brought in two runs. Reece Longstaff had an RBI with a single and a double and Andrew Russell had an RBI single. Jacob Sheldon-Collins singled and walked twice as well.

The Tigers are in second place with a 3-1 record, sitting just behind Sunshine as Upwey Ferntree Gully has scored 32 runs and given up 15. The Tigers host Malvern in the new year while 2-2 Waverley hosts Sunshine.

Malvern Braves 1 v Geelong Baycats 14

Geelong scored two runs in the first, five in the second and three in the third to put the game out of reach for the Braves.

Three more Geelong runs followed in the fourth with one more in the sixth, all while Malvern got just one the board in the top of the fifth.

The five-run spot in the second was led by RBIs from Ryan Darcy, James Wood and Rudy Jaramilo as the Baycats went on to collect 12 total hits in the game. Darcy, Jaramillo, Wood, Kelli Zablan, Samuel Thomas and Tyler Luther-Wilson all ad multiple hits while Josh Davies knocked in three RBIs.

Sam Gibbons took the victory on the hill with just one run and two hits allowed during his quality five inning start with three strikeouts. Lachlan Hockey threw two innings in relief with no hits or runs and three strikeouts.

Henry Jones, Mitch Kennedy, Tyler Dale, Geoff Holland and Ryan Othen contributed on the mound for Malvern, while Scott Ashton and Gavin Woolger had the team's two hits.

Geelong currently sits sixth with a 2-1 record while Malvern has three losses and a draw. Geelong visits Berwick on 16 January 2021 while Malvern visits Upwey Ferntree Gully that Sunday.

Essendon Bombers 1 v Blackburn Orioles 8

The Orioles cruised to their third straight victory with a great start from Andrew Jones. He gave up one home run to Jared Cruz in the first, but settled in from there, going on to throw six quality innings with just two hits and no more runs allowed, including six strikeouts.

Essendon's Christian Caminiti and Jarryd Rogers had the team's other singles for the day as Blackburn racked up eight runs - two of them unearned - against starter Michael Formisano. During his five and a third innings, he gave up eight hits and struck out three. Sam Street came on for two and two-thirds scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Blackburn had nine hits compared to Essendon's three as the Bombers also made three costly errors in the field. Blackburn scored two in the first, two in the third, one in the fifth and three in the sixth. The team had four home runs on the day to Tim Holland, Nick Rossell, Luke Hughes and Steven Bookluck.

Hughes went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Orioles as Jacob Evans took the most chances in the field with 11.

Blackburn has climbed up the ladder in the last few weeks, currently sitting fourth with a 3-1 record with an away game at Sandringham coming up in the new year. 2-2 Essendon visits Melbourne for round five.

Melbourne Demons 1 v Cheltenham Rustlers 3

Cheltenham took out another close victory, following up on the 4-3 win over Sandringham the week before. The game was scoreless through two before Cheltenham scored one in the third.

The middle innings were quiet on both sides and it wasn't until the eighth that Melbourne got on the board, followed by two more runs for Cheltenham to secure the win.

Russell Ferguson kept things under control for Cheltenham through eight innings on the mound. He gave up four hits, four walks and one run with five strikeouts. Andrew Campbell gave up one hit in his scoreless inning on relief.

Melbourne had Hayden Godbold on the mound for five innings. He gave up one run with three hits and three walks, striking out two. Mitchell Bowen pitched two innings with two hits and no runs allowed and one strikeout. Kurtis Smith threw one scoreless inning too.

Melbourne's hits included an RBI double by Jarrod Belbin and singles from Finn O'Connell, Ethan Scalzo, Slade Squire and Smith. Cheltenham's Dante Caruso doubled, singled and walked as Jack Daniels had an RBI single and Jack Dunn walked and singled for an RBI. Sam Michael also had an RBI base hit as Conor Myles singled and doubled.

Melbourne will look for a win to start 2021 off at home v Essendon, while 3-1 Cheltenham looks to protect a fifth place position after the break at Fitzroy.

Fitzroy Lions 0 v Sunshine Eagles 4

The Eagles stay undefeated after scoring two runs in the fourth and fifth to seal the shutout win. Billy Parsons dominated on the mound in seven innings with Griffin Weir and Jeremy Young throwing an inning each in relief.

"It was a tough day for the hitters with the wind," Sunshine Club Coach Stuart Clayton said. They got their in the end as Jason Tutt and Allister Lovelock had two hits and RBIs. Bryce Aldridge, Jordan and Jeremy Young, Parsons and Josh Byrne all had one hit.

Sunshine sits atop the ladder with three wins and a draw. Round five sees Sunshine play Waverley and Fitzroy play Cheltenham.

Sandringham Royals 16 v Berwick City Cougars 8

The Royals were a force to be reckoned with on Sunday, racking up 14 hits while the Cougars had 12.

Sandringham did a better job of converting base runners than Berwick, although both sides put together some impressive rallies. Five errors proved costly for the Cougars as the Royals made two mistakes in the field.

Grant Irving pitched the entire game for Sandringham - giving up 12 hits, two walks and two HBP with eight strikeouts. Seven of the eight runs allowed were earned. Berwick's Matthew Homfray, John King, Matthew West and Perry Wilkinson shared time on the mound.

Andrew Gibbens knocked in three Berwick runs on a single and a double, while Cain Hillier had two RBIs on an extra-base hit. Brad Kmet and Aidan Willis also knocked in runs, with three singles to Willis and doubles by Aaron Ouwehand and Craig Barnett.

Sandringham's offence was led by two doubles and two RBIs to Declan Ferguson, as well as a pair of hits by Tim Lane and an RBI single by Charlie Pierson. Sam Skinner doubled and walked for an RBI with doubles from Zak Skinner and Will Tucker too. Harrison Wills had three singles and an RBI as Jack Wills had a pair of base hits and a walk for an RBI.

Sandringham is in third place with a 3-1 record and 31 runs scored with 19 given up. The Royals host Blackburn to start the new year while 1-3 Berwick hosts Geelong.

Division 1 Seconds

Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 4 v Waverley Wildcats 1

The first inning was scoreless but the second saw the Tigers get two and the Wildcats get one. Upwey Ferntree Gully was able to keep Waverley off the scoreboard for the rest of the game.

Keeley Ronalds-Greatbatch pitched four and two-thirds innings for Upwey Ferntree Gully, giving up just one hit and one run with three strikeouts. Mitch John pitched in relief.

Cody Caulfield pitched five innings for Waverley, giving up two runs on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

Mitch Thomas and Luke Papanicolou entered the game in relief, covering two-thirds of an inning and one-third of an inning respectively.

Will Richardson went 2-for-2 at the plate to lead the Tigers, while Waverley's Ned Hargreaves went 1-for-2. Mark Jones, Pat Gawith, Michael Oxworth and Randy Senn all contributed with hits.

Upwey Ferntree Gully is in second place with a 3-0 record on 18 runs scored and three given up, while Waverley is one spot behind at 2-1 with 18 runs scored and 11 allowed.

Upwey Ferntree Gully pays Malvern next and Waverley hosts Sunshine.

Malvern Braves 7 v Geelong Baycats 5

The Baycats battled hard with Jack Fielden and Dan Anson on the mound, but the Braves had the upper hand in this matchup.

Malvern led 2-1 after the second, adding three in the fourth while Geelong tied it up with four. The game stayed five-all through the fifth and sixth before the Braves pulled ahead with two in the seventh as they kept Geelong off the board.

The Baycats had solid defensive contributions from third baseman Nick Hau and catcher Will Brennan as the team colected eight hits, including one to Brody Stokoe in his debut in the reserves. He also smashed a line drive to left field as James Renouf picked up a hit and two RBIs. Hau, Brennan, Angus McNee, Lachlan Hockey and Lewis Weldon all had hits as well.

Malvern remains at the top of the ladder with a 3-0 record on 31 runs scored and 11 given up, as Geelong sits eighth at 1-2. Malvern hits the road to play Upwey Ferntree Gully in round four and Geelong takes on Berwick.

Sandringham Royals 3 v Berwick City Cougars 11

The Cougars jumped on the board early and never looked back, scoring two in the first and six in the second.

Sandringham got two in the third and one more in the fifth, but with three more Berwick runs coming around to score, the game was out of reach.

This marked Berwick's first victory as the team sits seventh with a 1-2 record on 23 runs scored and 22 given up.

Sandringham hosts Blackburn to open 2021 and Berwick hosts Geelong.

Melbourne Demons 3 v Cheltenham Rustlers 6

The Rustlers had a slightly better day offensively and defensively to take out the win, their second on the season.

Cheltenham led 2-1 after two, while Melbourne took a short-lived 3-2 lead in the top of the third.

The Rustlers powered back with one in the fourth and three in the fifth to seal the deal on the victory as they improved to fourth place. Cheltenham is 2-1 with 17 runs scored and 12 given up while Melbourne has two losses and a draw.

Melbourne hosts Essendon in round four and Cheltenham heads to Fitzroy.

Essendon Bombers 3 v Blackburn Orioles 1

The game was scoreless through the first three innings before Essendon scored once in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Blackburn only scored in the fourth as the team slipped to fifth with a 2-1 record.

Essendon is 1-2 in tenth place with an upcoming game at Melbourne while Blackburn plays Sandringham.

Fitzroy Lions 14 v Sunshine Eagles 4

The Lions looked good out of the gate in this matchup, scoring eight runs in the first and a further six across the next three innings before the Eagles managed two in the fourth and another two in the fifth.

Jordan Hill, Darcy Mills, Ryan Mitchell and the rest of the hard-hitting Fitzroy lineup will take a 1-2 record into round four at home v Cheltenham while sixth-place Sunshine is 1-1-1 with a game at Waverley next.

Division 1 Thirds

Waverley Wildcats 11 v Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 8

The Wildcats lost a close one 14-11 to Geelong last week but they bounced back in this matchup, coming back from a big deficit to win over Upwey Ferntree Gully.

The Tigers scored seven to start but they didn't get on the board again until the sixth with just one runner coming home. Meanwhile Waverley scored one in the second, two in the third and three in the fourth. Two more runs followed in the fifth with a final three in the sixth.

Waverley moved up a spot to seventh with a 1-1-1 record while Upwey Ferntree Gully is third with a 2-1 record as the Tigers have scored 30 and given up 17.

The Tigers are off to Malvern for round four and Waverley plays at Sunshine.

Geelong Baycats 6 v Malvern Braves 7

Malvern was first on the board with a run in the bottom of the second, although Geelong quickly answered with two in the third.

The fourth was scoreless but the Braves battled back with three in the fifth. The final result came down to the sixth inning as Geelong put up four and Malvern brought home three to secure the win.

This marked Malvern's first win of the season while second-place Geelong is 2-1 with 30 runs scored and 22 given up.

Geelong hosts Berwick and Malvern plays Upwey Ferntree Gully at home next.

Sunshine Eagles 10 v Fitzroy Lions 13

This high-scoring matchup saw Sunshine lead 3-0 going into the bottom of the second before Fitzroy scored nine.

The Lions would score four more across the next two innings while Sunshine scored one in the fourth and the rest of the runs in the fifth as the Eagles put up a six-spot.

Fitzroy is eighth with a 1-2 record on 23 runs scored and 31 given up while Sunshine is ninth with the same record but 20 runs scored and 27 allowed.

Round four has Fitzroy heading to Cheltenham and Sunshine hosting Waverley.

Cheltenham Rustlers 0 v Melbourne Demons 11

The first inning was scoreless before Melbourne brought home three in the bottom of the second. The Demons scored a further six in the fourth and two in the fifth to seal the deal on their first win of the year.

Cheltenham plays Fitzroy next while Melbourne heads to Essendon.

Berwick City Cougars 5 v Sandringham Royals 6

The Royals got started right away, working hard to piece together four runs in the first. Berwick got one in the second and Sandringham had two more.

Berwick wasn't done, coming back to score four in the third, but the last three innings were quiet as the Royals stayed just one behind.

The Cougars fell slightly to sixth place with a 2-1 record and 23 runs scored v 19 given up. Sandringham sits atop the ladder with two wins and a draw ahead of a game at Blackburn, while Berwick heads to Geelong next.

Blackburn Orioles 3 v Essendon Bombers 1

The Orioles led 2-1 for most of the game until they added one more in the sixth. The quiet game saw a big focus on defence as both teams worked hard, although Blackburn just had the edge to get win number two on the board.

The Orioles are 2-1 in fourth place with 24 runs scored and 12 given up, while Essendon is fifth. The Bombers host Melbourne to open 2021 and Blackburn takes on Sandringham at home.

Division 1 Fourths

Waverley Wildcats 4 v Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 3

It was a tight contest to start between these two teams with two scoreless innings before both sides got on the board in the third. Waverley scored two while Upwey Ferntree Gully scored one.

The scores were reversed in the fourth with a tied game going into the fifth when Waverley got the winning run.

The Wildcats are 3-0 and sitting third with 31 runs scored and 12 given up, while 1-2 Upwey Ferntree Gully is currently in 10th place.

The Tigers are on the road to Malvern in January and the Wildcats play Sunshine.

Geelong Baycats 13 v Malvern Braves 7

Geelong bounced back from a rough first inning where Malvern scored five and the Baycats only got one.

The Baycats got two in the second and four in the fourth to put pressure on Malvern, with six more coming around in the sixth. The Braves got two to end the game but it wasn't enough to avoid their third straight loss.

Jake Elderfield was solid in relief for Geelong, pitching most of the game with just one hit and 10 strikeouts across five innings. Jackson Viney closed out the game with a strikeout. He doubled and singled at the plate, the same as Kyle Robinson, while Nick Zhangi and Elderfield had two base hits each.

1-2 Geelong will look to improve on a sixth place position with a home game v Berwick in round four, while Malvern hosts Upwey Ferntree Gully.

Blackburn Orioles 3 v Essendon Bombers 13

The game was tied 2-2 after the first, but Essendon pulled away in the second with four runs. Blackburn got one more in the third while giving up seven.

The final inning was quiet as Essendon coasted to a third win. The Bombers have given up just eight runs while scoring 41 to assume top spot with 1-1-1 Blackburn sitting fifth.

Essendon plays Melbourne next at home and Blackburn hosts Sandringham.

Cheltenham Rustlers 5 v Melbourne Demons 6

The Demons scored three in the first but Cheltenham powered back to score five runs across the next two innings. Melbourne kept the Rustlers off the board for the final two innings while scoring the three runs they needed for the win.

3-0 Melbourne sits second with 37 runs scored and eight given up. Round four has Melbourne playing Essendon and Cheltenham hosting Fitzroy.

Sunshine Eagles 6 v Fitzroy Lions 5

The Eagles came out on top despite giving up three late runs to Fitzroy. The Lions led 2-0 from the first until Sunshine scored one in the third and five in the fourth.

Fitzroy's two in the fifth and one in the sixth kept it interesting but Sunshine held on to get win number one on the season.

Both teams are 1-2 heading into the next round with seventh place Fitzroy playing Cheltenham next and ninth place Sunshine hosting Waverley.

Berwick City Cougars 10 v Sandringham Royals 5

The Cougars got the job done against the Royals thanks to three runs in the first and six in the second. The Royals got five in the bottom frame but the Cougars scored once more and held on for the win.

Fourth place Berwick has two wins and a draw while Sandringham is 1-2 in eighth place. Next up, the Cougars play Geelong and Sandringham heads to Blackburn.

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