The VSBL Division 1 season is closing in on finals with teams looking to finish strong in the last few weeks.
Geelong Baycats 2 v Cheltenham Rustlers 4
The Rustlers won their eighth game of the season with a strong pitching performance over the Baycats.
Both teams had six hits and although Cheltenham made three errors, they scored late to take out the win. Geelong was the first to score with two runs in the second, and the rest of the game was quiet aside from one Cheltenham run in the sixth and a three-spot in the eighth.
Russell Ferguson gave up just two earned runs during seven innings of work with five hits, one walk and three K's. 19 of his first pitches were strikes. Jack Enciondo pitched two innings with one hit, one walk and one strikeout.
Rudy Jaramillo pitched six innings of one-run baseball with five hits, three walks, and four strikeouts on 16 first pitch strikes. Hayden Peoples pitched the last two innings, giving up three earned runs on one hit, three walks and a HBP.
Michael Leslie had two walks and two RBIs while Jack Dunn knocked in another run. Dante Caruso, Mack Turley and Ben Fierenzi singled and Conor Myles doubled. Sam Michael singled twice too.
Josh Davies had four quality at-bats for Geelong including a big double, while Tyler Luther-Wilson collected two singles and an RBI. Jordan Baumann had an RBI single and Kelii Zablan had a base hit.
8-3 Cheltenham has scored 77 runs and given up 53 while 5-5 Geelong has scored 71 and allowed 44. Cheltenham hosts Upwey Ferntree Gully this upcoming weekend and Geelong hosts Essendon.
Sunshine Eagles 2 v Upwey Ferntree Gully Tigers 4
The Tigers and the Eagles faced off in a big matchup, with Upwey Ferntree Gully holding on for the win.
The Tigers got on the board in the first with an RBI single from Jordan Elliot on the first pitch of his at-bat. They scored another in the third as the middle innings were quiet. Sunshine broke through with one run in the eighth, but Upwey scored two more in the bottom half. One more run in the ninth wasn't enough for the Eagles to fully catch up as the Tigers came away with their eighth win.
Jarrod Turner took the win with just one run allowed on six hits and two walks in 7.66 innings. He struck out eight while teammate Donavon Hendricks threw in relief, giving up two hits, a walk and a run with a strikeout.
Billy Parsons took the loss for Sunshine, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks with seven K's in six innings of work. Jeremy Young threw two innings in relief with two runs on three hits and a walk as well as two strikeouts.
The Tigers racked up seven hits with two apiece from Elliott and Hendricks. Riley Light, Staci Rogers, Peter Schroeders had one single each, with Light's big 2-RBI single in the ninth extending the lead.
Allister Lovelock singled twice and doubled for Sunshine while Bryce Aldridge also collected an extra-base hit. Cam Deeble and Allan de San Miguel knocked in runs as Jordan Young had two singles and Parsons had one.
8-3 Upwey Ferntree Gully has scored 74 runs and given up 45 while Sunshine has a 6-4-1 record with 65 runs for and 46 against. The Eagles host Blackburn and the Tigers visit Cheltenham next.
Waverley Wildcats 7 v Blackburn Orioles 3
Blackburn scored first with one in the second, but Waverley quickly tied it up in the next frame before tacking on four in the fourth.
The Wildcats scored another in the fifth but gave up two to Blackburn in the sixth. Even so, they were able to score another in the final frame and maintain the lead to secure their ninth win with the best record in the league.
Luke Papanicolaou covered five innings for Waverley with just two hits, two walks and one run as well as five strikeouts. Andrew Russell pitched 2.33 innings, giving up just one walk and no hits with three strikeouts. Blackburn got two runs against Darcy Longstaff and two hits but no runs off of Kynan Jones in 1.33 innings.
Blackburn couldn't quite match Waverley's dominant pitching, with six runs - three of them unearned - scoring against Andrew Jones. He gave up nine hits, one walk and one HBP in 4.66 innings with three strikeouts. Scott Mitchinson handled 4.33 innings with two hits, one walk, one run and three strikeouts.
Waverley's offense included two RBIs from Russell with a walk and a single, as well as three singles from Jacob Sheldon-Collins. Finn Weichard and Damon Hill singled while Mitchell Homfray knocked in a run with a single and a double. Mohi Kahui and Reece Longstaff also had RBIs.
Jacob Evans singled and homered for two RBIs, while Liam Hopkins had Blackburn's only double of the day. Ben Leslie and Mitchell Whiting each had singles.
Ladder-leading Waverley has nine wins and two losses on 75 runs for and 37 runs against. The Wildcats visit Malvern next while 6-4-1 Blackburn heads to Sunshine hoping to improve on 67 runs for and 60 runs given up.
Sandringham Royals 2 v Essendon Bombers 0
It was a quiet day offensively on both sides as the Royals relied on starter Declan Croker to keep the Bombers at bay.
Sandringham's two runs came in the eighth as Essendon's defense worked hard too. Croker covered 8.33 scoreless innings with nine hits, one walk and three K's. Grant Irving struck out one in relief.
Sam Street threw seven innings for Essendon with four hits and nine strikeouts. Gareth Formisano gave up two hits and two runs with a pair of K's.
Declan Ferguson had an RBI double while Will Tucker plated the other run. Harrison Wills, Zak Skinner, Timothy Lane, and Matthew Blackmore had singles.
Essendon had all singles on the day including two apiece from Michael Formisano and Jack Giles. Christian Caminiti, Jared Cruz, Shoma Ikehata, Jarryd Rogers, and Darby Sexton had base hits too.
Sandringham has a 6-4-1 record with 65 runs for and 49 against while Essendon sits at 6-5 with 49 runs for and 43 against. The Royals host Melbourne and the Bombers play the Baycats next.
Malvern Braves 12 v Fitzroy Lions 2
The Braves scored three runs in the first two innings and another three in the fourth before Fitzroy got on the board with two. Malvern kept scoring, adding five in the fifth and one more in the sixth.
Ryan Dale, Tyler Dale, Geoff Holland, and James Squire all pitched for Malvern, giving up a collective six hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
Brock Pawley covered six innings for Fitzroy while Warwick Purchase handled a quiet inning with one unearned run.
Malvern's Chris Burke had four RBIs on three doubles and a walk while Ryan Dale knocked in four of his own with a double and a home run. Jack Hanger tripled while Ryan Othen and Nicholas Parton had two base apiece. Justin Burke, Jarryd Dale, and Gavin Woolger had one single each.
Fitzroy's minimal offense included an RBI from Thomas Wilson on a single and a double, plus extra-base hits by Tyler Trevaskis and Riley Hill. Gideon Van Twest Smith had two singles while Gavin Juchnevicius had one.
Malvern has a 2-8-1 record with 52 runs for and 86 against. 1-9 Fitzroy visits Berwick for the next round and Malvern hosts Waverley.
Berwick City 9 v Melbourne Demons 1
The Cougars relied on solid pitching by Craig Barnett, Matthew West, and Aaron Ouwehand.
Barnett threw four innings with just one hit and one walk. He struck out five. West's four innings included two hits, three walks and an unearned run with five strikeouts. Ouwehand gave up just one hit with two strikeouts in an inning of work.
Kurtis Smith covered four innings for Melbourne, giving up seven hits, three walks and six earned runs with two K's. Mitchell Bowen contributed four innings with a strikeout and two runs - one unearned - on four hits. One more run scored against Kye Stehr with two walks and a HBP.
Cain Bumpstead had two RBIs for Berwick while Elliot Andersen, Andrew Gibbens, Marcus Graham, Perry Wilkinson and Ouwehand had one each. Gibbens singled and doubled, as John King, Graham and Bumpstead had base hits. Ouwehand, Wilkinson and Matthew Homfray singled twice too.
Melbourne's Tim Sullivan had two singles while Oliver McMahon doubled and Hayden Godbold recorded a base hit.
Berwick has four wins and seven losses with 61 runs for and 57 against. 2-9 Melbourne heads to Sandringham next and Berwick hosts Fitzroy.