The 2020/21 VSBL season is heating up as we enter the final month of games with Waverley leading the pack in Division 1 and Cheltenham and Upwey Ferntree Gully not far behind.
Division 1 Firsts - Midweek Games (Tuesday, 2 February 2021)
Cheltenham Rustlers 2 v Waverley Wildcats 3
Cheltenham got on the board early, bringing its first run in at the top of the first. It wasn't until the third that Waverley fought back, and took the lead, with two runs in that frame.
Cheltenham drew level once again in the following inning but the Wildcats defense kept the Rustlers scoreless for the remainder of the game while its offence picked up the winning run in the sixth.
Luke Papanicolaou was the winning pitcher for Waverley who allowed one hit and one run in four innings with five strikeouts. Cody Caulfield pitched three innings on the mound for the Wildcats also.
Conor Myles was the losing pitcher for Cheltenham, pitching six innings for four hits, three runs (one earned) and five strikeouts.
Waverley's Damon Hill, Mohi Kahui, Jacob Sheldon-Collins and Finn Weichard each picked up a hit with runs credited to Ben Aslett, Kahui and Weichard.
Andrew Gribben and Michael Leslie each made contact with Gribben going deep with a home run, also scoring the Rustlers' second run after Leslie's RBI.
Fitzroy Lions 9 v Melbourne Demons 10
It was a high-scoring affair between Fitzroy and Melbourne in this midweek matchup with the Demons edging out their opponent, walking it off in the sixth.
Fitzroy got off to a blinding start, leading 8-0 after two innings after a mammoth seven-run inning to kick off the game in the first. The Demons didn't bat in a run until the fourth where they picked up two.
In the fifth, the Lions added one more to their score but the bottom of the fifth is where Melbourne fought back strongly, adding six and bringing the margin to one run. They were able to contain Fitzroy to zero in the seventh before securing two runs at the bottom to take the win.
Kurtis Smith pitched four innings for Melbourne and gave up nine hits for eight runs (six earned) with Mitchell Bowen and Nicholas Cleland contributing for the remaining two innings, the latter taking the win for the Demons.
Warwick Purchase pitched 4 and 2/3 innings for Cheltenham but took the loss as he gave up 13 hits for eight runs (six earned) and three strikeouts. Cooper de Hann also spent time on the mound and gave up three hits and two runs in 2/3 innings.
The Melbourne bats were strong with Harvey Mitchellhill picking up three hits including two triples while Oliver McMahon, Bronson Neave, Slade Squire and Ethan Scalzo each made it on base twice. McMahon, Mitchellhill and Scalzo came home two times each with Finn O'Connor and Ryan Pahos scoring too. Scalzo had two RBIs.
Tyler Trevaskis made it on base three times for Cheltenham including a triple while Jordan Hill and Purchase collected two hits apiece. Jordan Hill and Riley Hill scored two runs each with Gideon Van Twest Smith racking up four RBIs.
Berwick City Cougars 3 v Sandringham Royals 5
Sandringham got on the board first but by the end of the second, the scores were tied at one-all before Berwick took the lead at the top of the fourth. Sandringham scored three at the bottom and never surrendered the lead again as each team added one more to their totals in the fifth.
Grant Irving pitched six innings for the Royals to get the win, giving up five hits and two earned runs along with six strikeouts. Aaron Ouwehand and Matthew West combined on the mound for the Cougars, the latter credited with the loss.
Irving made contact to send the ball over the fence for one of Sandringham's runs. Timothy Lane and Sam Skinner had two hits each with Will Tucker picking up two RBIs and run.
John King had two hits for Berwick, one of which saw the ball sail over the fence for a home run. Brad Kmet had one hit and two RBIs while Andrew Gibbens had one of Berwick's hits also.
Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 6 v Blackburn Orioles 4
Blackburn had a big task ahead of them at the bottom of the sixth, down by five runs after Upwey Ferntree Gully were on point early with both the bats and their fielding efforts.
The Tigers brought two runs across in the first and lead 4-0 until Blackburn got a score at the bottom of the fifth. Upwey Ferntree Gully improved their score by two at the top of the sixth and despite a spirited fightback from the Orioles, their three runs at the bottom wasn't enough to prolong the game.
Donavon Hendricks pitched six innings for 10 hits and three earned runs with four strikeouts to take the win. The Orioles trialed three separate pitchers on the mound but it was Charlie Collins who took the loss, giving up three runs from three hits from two innings.
Harvey Chinn picked up a hit and three RBIs, scoring a run himself while Donavan Hendricks had two RBIs from one hit. Riley Light scored twice after getting on base twice.
Sunshine Eagles 3 v Geelong Baycats 1
The defensive efforts from both Sunshine and Geelong were strong but the Eagles took the lead at the top of the third and never looked back, leading 2-1 after that inning, securing the win in the seventh with their third run of the night.
Billy Parsons was on the mound for five innings, the Sunshine pitcher giving up five hits and one run with two strikeouts. Jeremy Young came on as relief for two innings and gave up two hits as well as two strikeouts.
Kelii Zablan saw the most time on the mound for Geelong, pitching six innings, taking the loss after giving up five hits and two runs with three strikeouts. Rudy Jaramillo pitched the remaining one inning and gave up two hits for one run.
Bryce Aldridge and Jordan Young had two hits apiece for the Eagles, Young rounding to second base on each occassion and making it home each time while one of Aldridge's was a double. Aldridge has two RBIs while Allan de San Miguel batted in Sunshine's third run, Cameron Deeble the other runscorer.
Sam Moon had three hits for Geelong and batted in the team's only run, Ryan Darcy. Jaramillo had two hits for the game with singles to James Wood, Darcy and Zablan.
Essendon Bombers 3 v Malvern Braves 2
After each side scored two runs in the first inning, the defense were in control over the next five innings until Essendon broke through in the seventh with a run that Malvern couldn't peg back at the bottom.
Gareth Formisano pitched the whole seven innings and picked up the win after giving up four runs and zero earned runs along with two strikeouts.
Simon Pole also went the whole way on the mound for the loss. In seven innings, he gave up eight hits and two earned runs with two strikeouts.
Two of Essendon's three runs came via home runs, one each to Jared Cruz and Darby Sexton. Ross Bament scored the other run for the Bombers after a two-hit game.
Chris Burke and Henry Hayman each had one-hit, one-run games with Jack Hanger and Gavin Woolger collecting the RBIs.
Division 1 Firsts - Weekend Games (6 - 7 February 2021)
Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 5 v Geelong Baycats 6
It was a walkoff win for Geelong at home after the Baycats came back from four runs down to beat Upwey Ferntree Gully. Geelong got on the board first with one run during their first chance in the batters box but Upwey Ferntree Gully piled on five runs across the next three innings, the score 5-2 to the Tigers after four.
Geelong's defensive efforts were on the money from then on, limiting Upwey Ferntree Gully's bats to zero for the rest of the game while clawing back the deficit. The Baycats scored one run in the sixth and again in the eighth, needing two runs for the win in the ninth, which they achieved.
Rudy Jaramillo pitched seven innings for Geelong and gave up eight hits for zero earned runs along with one strikeout but it was Hayden Peoples who got the win for pitching two innings with zero hits, zero runs and one strikeout.
Jarrod Turner saw seven innings on the mound for the Tigers, giving up 11 hits for three earned runs with four strikeouts. San Meldrum got the loss though as he gave up two hits for two runs across 1 and 1/3 innings.
Lewis Weldon was the best of the Baycats offence, collecting three hits including a home run and two doubles, along with three RBIs. James Wood had two hits with a triple while Josh Davies, Tyler Luther-Wilson and Jaramillo had two hits each too.
Jordan Elliot, Donavan Hendricks and Ashley Winton each collected two hits for the Tigers, Winton making it to second in one instance. Wade McKinnon scored two of his team's runs with Donavan Hendricks, Joshua Hendricks and Winton coming across the plate too.
Upwey Ferntree Gully has a 7-3 record this season and sit third ahead of a weekend matchup against Blackburn at home. Geelong is away to Sunshine next weekend and will need some wins as the club sits seventh with a 5-4 record.
Fitzroy Lions 2 v Blackburn Orioles 12
Fitzroy got off to the start it wanted with a run scored at the top of the first but after the inning was complete and Blackburn scored two, the Lions were on the backfoot.
A five-run effort in the third for the Orioles put them in a strong position, adding one more in the fifth. Fitzroy picked up its second run in the sixth but consecutive two-run innings in a row from Blackburn in the seventh and eighth ensured an Orioles win.
Sam Bucello pitched five innings on the mound for the Orioles and got the win after giving up five hits, one run and a strikeout. Jacob Evans and Rowan Johnstone each pitched in relief as the latter gave up one run from one hit.
Warwick Purchase took the loss for the Lions after pitching three innings for three hits and three earned runs with two strikeouts. Brock Pawley and Callum Stevens helped out on the mound for the Lions also.
Charlie Collins got four hits for Blackburn that included two doubles as he scored three times and had two RBIs while Liam Hopkins also tallied four hits with one run and two RBIs. Steven Bookluck got two doubles and Luke Hughes drove in two runs from one hit, a double.
For the Lions, Danny King and Purchase each had one-hit, one-run games. Ryan Mitchell and had an RBI single while Gideon Van Twest Smith brought in Fitzroy's other run.
Blackburn sits within the top four with a 6-3-1 record, just ahead of Sunshine on runs for. The Orioles take on Upwey Ferntree Gully next week while Fitzroy go into a matchup against Waverley with a 1-8 record.
Berwick City Cougars 4 v Cheltenham Rustlers 5
Cheltenham buckled down and claimed a come-from-behind win against Berwick in this game to improve their season record.
Berwick scored the first run of the game in the third before Cheltenham came back hard with three runs in the fifth. Those runs were cancelled out as Berwick then scored three at the top of the seventh and it was a tied game at four-all after the seventh when the Rustlers scored. The Rustlers held Berwick to zero runs in the eighth and ninth, their run in the eighth helping them to the win.
Russell Ferguson pitched eight innings for Cheltenham to pick up the win with 11 hits and one earned run given up, along with two strikeouts. Andrew Campbell came in for the ninth and collected the save, not giving up any hits or runs.
Craig Barnett was on the mound through six innings for Berwick, picking up the loss after giving up seven hits and three earned runs. Matthew West pitched the remaining two innings, giving up two hits and zero runs, with two strikeouts.
Michael Leslie racked up two hits and an RBI for the Rustlers, as did Mack Turley. Andrew Gribben scored two runs while Dante Caruso scored after hitting a double. Sam Michael batted in a run as Jack Dunn and Conor Myles scored also.
For the Cougars, Andrew Gibbens had two hits with an RBI double while Aiden Willis collected three hits and a run. Cain Bumpstead, John King and Barnett scored a run each too.
Cheltenham hold onto second place with a 7-3 record, just ahead of Upwey Ferntree Gully on runs for as the Rustlers prepare to meet Sandringham at home. Berwick sits ninth with a 3-7 record as they head to Mulgrave for a meeting with Essendon.
Malvern Braves 4 v Essendon Bombers 9
Essendon's defensive efforts were strong in the back half of the game after the scores were tied at four-all after three innings. Each team scored three runs in the second inning with a run to each team either side of that.
The Bombers got the lead after the fifth inning by scoring one and the next two innings were both two-run frames that saw them all the way to end of the game.
Sam Street pitched five innings for the Bombers and picked up the win, giving up nine hits and two earned runs with nine strikeouts. Gareth Formisano pitched four innings for three hits and zero runs with four strikeouts.
Tyler Dale pitched four innings for Malvern and gave up eight hits and four runs with two strikeouts but it was Eddie Gibbs who was credited with the loss after pitching 1 and 2/3 innings, giving up three hits, three runs and five base on balls.
Ross Bament tallied three hits on the day including a double and an RBI for the Bombers while Michael Formisano, Darby Sexton and Jarryd Rogers each had two hits. Rogers had two runs and two RBIs with his game. Michael Formisano, Jack Giles and Shoma Ikehata each had one-run, one-hit, one-RBi games.
Malvern's Scott Ashton, Justin Burke, Jack Hanger, Geoff Holland and Ryan Othen each tallied two hits, Ashton and Burke coming home for one run each. Lachlan Fuda had an RBI as well as Hanger, Holland and Othen.
The Bombers are sixth with a 6-4 record and take on Berwick next weekend while Malvern sits 11th with a 1-8-1 record and meets Melbourne at home next.
Sunshine Eagles 5 v Sandringham Royals 14
Sandringham was dominant across the board against Sunshine in this matchup, ballooning out to an eight-run lead after two innings, courtesy of a seven-run effort in the second.
Sunshine got on the scoreboard in the fifth with two runs, but Sandringham added one more also. The Eagles started to mount a comeback in the eighth with three runs but the Royals were again too strong, getting five runs in at the bottom of the eighth.
Connor Young pitched five innings for the Eagles and gave up three and one run along with four strikeouts. Young was backed up by Earl Byrne, Cameron Deeble, and Griffin Weir.
Allister Lovelock collected three RBIs from his three hits that included a home run as Rupert Fischer and Nathan Gatt had one-hit, one-run games for Sunshine.
Sunshine sits fifth, just out of the top four on runs for but hold a handy 6-3-1 record ahead of a meeting with Geelong while Sandringham is 5-4-1 going into a game at Cheltenham.
Waverley Wildcats 10 v Melbourne Demons 5
The Wildcats performed strongly in the middle innings as they managed to take the game away. It was an even game after four innings, locked at four-all before a four-run fifth and two-run sixth had Waverley with a big lead. The Demons got one back in the seventh before each side added one in the eighth.
Jamie Papanicolaou pitched three innings for Waverley and gave up five hits and one earned run along with five strikeouts. Cody Caulfield picked up the win through 1 and 2/3 innings, as he struck out two batters and gave up two hits.
Hayden Godbold had the loss for the Demons after pitching 4 and 2/3 innings where he allowed seven hits for five earned runs with three strikeouts. Kurtis Smith saw 3 and 2/3 innings on the mound where he allowed three hits and one run with two strikeouts.
Jacob Sheldon-Collins had three hits for Waverley that included a double, scoring two runs. Damon Hill and Mitchell Homfray had two hits each, the former hitting a double and coming home while the latter had two RBIs. Reece Longstaff totaled three runs.
Tim Sullivan collected four hits from five at bats including a double to score a run while Slade Squire had two hits. Charlie O'Connell had a one-hit, one-run game for Melbourne and Oliver McMahon collected one hit, a double, along with two runs.
Waverley improved their standing at the top of the table, seeing an 8-2 record ahead of hosting Fitzroy. Melbourne sits 10th with a 2-8 record and travel to Malvern this weekend.
Division 1 Seconds
Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 5 v Geelong Baycats 3
Upwey Ferntree Gully scored four runs in a bumper first innings and never surrendered the lead, as Geelong scored one at the bottom. The Tigers scored their fifth in the third before the Baycats nabbed two more in the fourth but couldn't draw ahead as the fifth innings ended things.
A double from Michael Oxworth opened the scoring for Upwey Ferntree Gully while Keeley Ronalds-Greatbatch kept things under control on the hill, giving up one run on two hits with four K's in three innings.
Cooper Rickard was on the mound for Geelong, covering three innings with five hits, five runs, and three strikeouts. Blake Witham threw two innings in relief.
Geelong left eight runners on base total. Jordan Baumann, James Renouf and Jarrod Fraim all had hits with quality at-bats from Adam Jirik and Jake Elderfield. Dan Anson, Will Brennan and Chris Durston took two walks each.
The Tigers remain undefeated with a 7-0 record and look to improve that at home against Blackburn while the Baycats have a 2-5 record, sitting ninth, as they prepare to travel to Sunshine. All but one of Geelong's losses have been by two runs or less.
Fitzroy Lions 3 v Blackburn Orioles 7
Blackburn scored a run in each of the first two innings before a three-run third from Fitzroy changed the lead. It wasn't for long though as the Orioles picked up two runs at the bottom of the third, adding three more across the final two innings to round out the game.
The win sees Blackburn hold onto second place with a 6-1 record ahead of a meeting with Upwey Ferntree Gully while Fitzroy will aim for their second win of the season when they take on Waverley.
Malvern Braves 1 v Essendon Bombers 8
Essendon got themselves into a commanding position with a four-run second and three-run third before Malvern scored a run at the top of the fourth. The Bombers would cancel out that run at the bottom though as two scoreless frames followed.
The Bombers' win sees them tied with two other teams that have a 4-3 record, with the chance for another win against Berwick this weekend. Malvern is one of those 4-3 sides and plays Melbourne at home next.
Waverley Wildcats 4 v Melbourne Demons 5
Each team scored runs in the first innings, Melbourne leading 3-2 as the game headed into the second. Each team got on the board again in the third, and it was the Demons who edged out their opponent by a run, taking them two runs clear in front at 5-3. Waverley brought it back by a run in the sixth but no more as Melbourne secured the win.
Waverley sits fourth at 4-3, ahead of the pack as runs for are added up. The Wildcats come up against Fitzroy at home while Melbourne travels to Malvern as the Demons look to climb the ladder from 10th.
Berwick City Cougars 7 v Cheltenham Rustlers 4
Berwick got the early start with a run in the first before both the Cougars and Rustlers scored three in the second. Cheltenham made it an even game again in the fourth but Berwick found some more runs while keeping the Cheltenham offence quiet to claim victory.
Cheltenham sits third with a 5-2 record and hosts Sandringham this weekend while Berwick takes on Essendon as they look to continue a winning run, currently holding a 2-4 record.
Sunshine Eagles 9 v Sandringham Royals 4
Sunshine shot out of blocks in the first inning, securing two runs but by the time the end of the fourth rolled around, Sandringham had drawn even at two-all. A bumper five-run fifth from the Eagles gave them a slight buffer which the Royals responded to with two runs, before the Eagles got two more in the sixth.
At 3-3-1, Sunshine is keeping in touch with the mid-table but will want a win against Geelong this weekend while Sandringham travels to Cheltenham in search of their first win of the season.
Division 1 Thirds
Cheltenham Rustlers 5 v Berwick City Cougars 9
Both sides scored two in the first and one in the second, but five runs to Berwick in the third changed the tune of the game. Cheltenham scored twice towards the end of the game while Berwick got one more in the victory.
The Cougars improved their season record to 4-3, hovering around the middle of the table as they look to travel to Essendon this weekend.
Cheltenham languish at the bottom of the ladder with a 1-6 record and will be feeling a challenge this week against Sandringham.
Melbourne Demons 3 v Waverley Wildcats 6
Waverley produced a stunning come-from-behind win against Melbourne to record its fifth win of the season.
The Demons were looking good when they scored three runs across the first two innings and still led 3-1 after three innings before Waverley got the bats working in the fourth, recording three runs and taking the lead. Waverley added two runs in the fifth.
A win would've done nicely for Melbourne who sit ninth with a 2-5 record but the Demons will be hopeful of toppling Malvern this weekend. Waverley is away to Fitzroy, holding onto second place with a 5-1-1 record.
Blackburn Orioles 12 v Fitzroy Lions 2
Blackburn started its game with two runs in the first before adding a bundle more throughout the third and fifth innings. The Orioles doubled their score in the sixth, scoring six runs to take the game away from the Lions who scored two runs at the bottom of the sixth.
Blackburn sits sixth as one of three teams with a 4-3 record, hoping for another win this weekend against Upwey Ferntree Gully. Fitzroy is 1-6 and meets Waverley this weekend.
Essendon Bombers 19 v Malvern Braves 1
This was a dominant performance all round for Essendon as the Bombers got the bats swinging and the defensive unit held their opponent to a solitary run.
Essendon sits third with a 5-2 record, ahead of Geelong on runs for, as the Bombers host Berwick this weekend. Malvern travels to Melbourne to play the Demons and will be looking to climb the ladder and improve a 3-4 record.
Sandringham Royals 13 v Sunshine Eagles 3
Sandringham stormed home to complete this win against Sunshine on the weekend. The Royals got out to a two-run lead after two single-run digs to begin their offensive game but the Eagles scored two at the bottom of the second to bring the game level.
Sandringham scored two in the third and three in the fourth for a handy buffer which was cut down by a run when Sunshine scored at the bottom of the fourth. A six-run effort in the fifth by the Royals put the game to bed.
Sandringham continues its hot run of form this year, undefeated with a 6-0-1 record as they prepare to face Cheltenham this weekend. Sunshine will be looking for its second win of the season as Geelong comes to town this week.
Geelong Baycats 6 v Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 4
The first two innings saw neither team make a dent in the score column but Geelong broke through with the first run of the game at the top of the third, which was followed up by Upwey Ferntree Gully's three-run effort at the bottom.
The Baycats clawed back at the top of the fourth, scoring four and taking the lead, shutting out the Tigers at the bottom. Each team scored one more in the fifth before a scoreless sixth inning.
Cameron Forbes had three singles and an RBI, while James Lappin and William Fitzgerald doubled. Jackson Viney and Matt Sage had RBI singles as Robert Hickey, Maxton Sherry, Cooper Tipping, and Dion Kirchner had base hits. Forbes, Sage, and Lappin split pitching duties for Geelong.
Geelong remain in fourth place due to the handy win and improve to a 5-2 record ahead of a trip to Sunshine while Upwey Ferntree Gully is just behind in fifth place with a 4-3 record. The Tigers host Blackburn this week.
Division 1 Fourths
Cheltenham Rustlers 10 v Berwick City Cougars 11
Cheltenham scored one run to open the game but it was nothing compared to the first dig that Berwick produced, the Cougars bringing in eight runs.
The Rustlers got another run in the second while each side scored three runs in the third inning, the Berwick lead at six. The Rustlers scored five at the top of the fourth and restricted the Cougars to no further runs but unfortunately for Cheltenham's momentum, the game ended in four innings.
Berwick sits third as one of two teams with a 5-1-1 record and travel to Essendon next while Cheltenham seeks its first win of the season in a matchup against Sandringham.
Geelong Baycats 0 v Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 9
Each team was 2-4 prior to this game but a shutout win for Upwey Ferntree Gully against Geelong sees the Tigers edging ahead in the overall standings.
The Tigers scored a run in the first and third innings, doubling the score in the fourth before adding five more in the fifth inning.
Upwey Ferntree Gully is in seventh with a 3-4 record now and hosts Blackburn this week whereas Geelong is ninth at 2-5 ahead of a trip to Sunshine.
Blackburn Orioles 9 v Fitzroy Lions 3
Fitzroy got its account started with a run in the first but a big five-run effort for Blackburn in the second gave the Orioles some breathing room.
The Lions scored again in the third before the fourth resulted in a run apiece. Blackburn finished strongly too, with a three runs across the sixth and seventh innings.
Blackburn's win sees an improved record of 5-1-1 and a fourth placing, just behind Berwick on runs for. The Orioles travel to Upwey Ferntree Gully this week as Fitzroy holds a 2-5 record ahead of hosting Waverley on Sunday.
Essendon Bombers 8 v Malvern Braves 6
Essendon managed to hold onto a Malvern fightback, securing a two-run win to continue a strong season.
The Braves got the game started with a run in the first before Essendon scored five in the second, adding two more across the fourth and fifth innings.
Malvern fought back with four runs at the bottom of the fifth, adding one more in the sixth to bring the deficit to one run. The defense from both sides reigned supreme late until the Bombers got a late run in the ninth.
Essendon continues its stronghold on the competition in top spot, ahead of Melbourne on runs for with a record of 6-1. The Bombers face Berwick at home this weekend. 3-4 Malvern travels to Melbourne, hoping to keep in touch with the top four.
Melbourne Demons 8 v Waverley Wildcats 3
A two-run first dig for Melbourne set the tone and by the time the bottom of the fifth rolled around, the Demons were up by five runs. Waverley scored its first runs at the bottom of the fifth with two before a scoreless sixth frame. Melbourne improved the margin by three in the seventh, the Wildcats heading in to bat afterwards but managing to score one more only.
Melbourne improved to a 6-1 record, sitting second behind Essendon on runs for but will be hoping for another win against Malvern this weekend. Waverley is away to Fitzroy and will need to win to enter the top four and improve a 5-2 record as the season is creeping towards the end.
Sandringham Royals 4 v Sunshine Eagles 4
Sunshine scored two runs in the first and third innings and had that four-run lead after three but Sunshine were able to shut them out for the remainder of the game while bringing in runs themselves.
Sandringham cut the deficit by one in the fourth before two scoreless innings had the side nervous. The Royals knuckled down to bring in three runs in the seventh before holding their nerve in the field to end the game and claim a draw.
Sandringham is 2-4-1 in eighth spot for the season and takes on Cheltenham at home this weekend. Sunshine is 1-5-1 on the year and will prepare for Geelong at home on Sunday afternoon.