The 2020/21 VSBL season recommenced after the summer holiday break as women's teams took to the field looking to start the year on a strong note. Essendon leads the way in Women's Division 1, while Springvale is on top in Women's Division 2 and Moorabbin, Sandringham and Doncaster are the ladder leaders in Women's Division 3 with seven rounds to go.
Women's Division 1
Springvale Lions 7 v Doncaster Dragons 9
The Lions lost 11-3 to Essendon in the last round and have now dropped three in a row after a close game at Doncaster.
Doncaster's Jessica Johnson pitched four innings, giving up six hits, two walks and four runs - three of them earned - with three strikeouts. Chelsea Stewart handled 1.66 innings with three earned runs scoring, while Jamie Bastian also contributed on the mound.
Springvale's Gabby Bevan was on the mound for 4.66 innings, giving up six hits and eight walks with five strikeouts and eight runs scored - one unearned. Shae Lillywhite pitched less than an inning in relief.
Walks were a big part of the game as both teams took nine. Each side had seven hits, with Erin Collins knocking in four RBIs with a pair of doubles and a single. Belinda Cannington and Rebecca Wright also doubled. Bastian and Stewart had singles on the day.
Lillywhite had two of Springvale's singles with the others from Hanami Campitelli, Lili Cavanagh and Hannah Jackson. The team is currently in third place with a 1-3 record going into round five at home v Doncaster.
Doncaster is 3-1 in second place behind Essendon, with the Dragons' only loss coming in the first round.
Newport Rams 4 v Essendon Bombers 13
Newport was forced to play catchup after giving up eight unanswered runs to Essendon across the first two innings. While the Rams put up their four runs in the third, Essendon was right there with four more in the bottom frame.
That last half of the game was quieter than the first as Newport kept Essendon off the board aside from a lone run in the sixth.
Allie Bebbere pitched three innings for Essendon, giving up four earned runs on four hits, two walks and one HBP with six strikeouts. Abbey Kelly handled four scoreless innings with three hits and two strikeouts. Defence was a strong point as Emma Davenport threw out two runners trying to steal and Tayla Weldon was solid at third base.
Newport had Bronwyn Gell on the mound for three innings in relief with four hits and one earned run with two strikeouts recorded. Morgan Doty threw 1.66 innings, giving up six hits and eight earned runs with three strikeouts. Danni Teasdale pitched 1.33 innings with one hit, two walks and one HBP allowed as four unearned runs scored.
Essendon took seven walks and recorded 12 hits, including a single, a double and a walk for Victoria Brown to collect three RBIs. Sam Deeble knocked in two with a double and a single of her own as Bebbere plated a pair too. Jasmine Bentley doubled, Davenport homered, and Kelly tripled twice. Courtney Foura and Weldon contributed at the plate too.
Gell tripled and Doty singled twice for Newport. Zoe Allen, Nicola Hogan, Holly Louise Howard, and Kira Jansen also recorded hits.
Coach Duane Davenport says the team is focused on continuing to develop their skills and keep getting better. "Our goals are for the girls to keep supporting each other and playing for each other as a team," Davenport said. "We want to continue giing our up-and-coming players opportunities to develop and grow and help them to get there games to the next level."
Newport hosts Essendon this weekend as the ladder leaders look to stay undefeated.
Women's Division 2
Essendon Bombers 5 v Footscray Bulldogs 6
The Bulldogs got win number two on the board, following up on a 16-0 victory over Preston before the break.
Footscray sits just above Essendon in the standings with a 2-1 record going into a game at Geelong, while the 2-2 Bombers have a bye this next round.
Springvale Lions 21 v Geelong Baycats 2
The Lions brought their big bats to this matchup, running away with the game early. They scored five in the first, seven in the second and another seven in the third, followed by the last two runs in the fifth. Geelong scored once in the first and once in the fourth.
Nyah O'Brien started for Geelong, followed by Lily Kevelham and Jennifer Mason on the mound. Combined they threw 70 strikes out of 144 pitches, facing 42 batters along the way. O'Brien doubled while Sarah Haouchar, Emma Hill, Jen Mason and Bri Telford singled.
Jade Hough, Bronwyn James, Emma Jenkinson and the rest of the hard-hitting Springvale lineup will look to maintain an undefeated 3-0 record when Springvale hosts Preston fresh off the bye. 1-2 while Geelong hosts Footscray.
Women's Division 3 East
Pakenham White 7 v Bonbeach Bluejays 15
On a weekend when collectively Bonbeach scored 132 runs as a club while giving up just 51, the Bluejays were a force to be reckoned.
Bonbeach scored once in the first and seven in both the second and third, all while holding the Pumas off the board except for a late seven-run surge in the fourth.
The Bluejays are 2-2 going into an away game at Sandringham fresh off the bye while Pakenham White hosts Moorabbin as the Pumas look for a win.
Berwick City Cougars 6 v Wheelers Hill Warriors 9
The Warriors came out on top in this matchup after scoring five early runs in the first and another two in the second. They scored two more in the fourth while holding Berwick to one in the first and five in the fifth.
The Cougars are in seventh place with two losses and a draw so far, while the Warriors have three wins and a loss in third place. Berwick hosts Pakenham Black next and Wheelers Hill has a bye.
Moorabbin Panthers 11 v Springvale Lions 7
Moorabbin maintained the strong momentum from before the break with a winning performance on Saturday.
The Panthers scored five in the first, three in the second, and two in the third, followed by one more in the fifth. The Lions got one on the board in the first, four in the third and two in the fourth, not quite enough to catch up to Moorabbin.
The undefeated Panthers visit Pakenham White this weekend as the 2-2 Lions head to Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Rustlers FORFEIT v Pakenham Black
Following this forfeit by Cheltenham, Pakenham Black moves up two spots on the ladder ahead of a game at Berwick. The Rustlers host Springvale on Saturday.
Women's Division 3 West
Melbourne Demons 5 v Doncaster Dragons 8
Doncaster picked up a fourth straight win with a solid performance at home v Melbourne. The Dragons have scored 51 runs so far while giving up just 21, while second-place Melbourne isn't far behind with a 3-1 record and 59 runs scored v 20 given up.
Melbourne hosts Fitzroy and Doncaster heads to Geelong next.
Geelong Baycats 6 v North Western Titans 13
Geelong gave up seven early runs to the Titans and six more in the third, putting the game out of reach. The Baycats scored one in the second, two in the third and three in the fourth.
North Western sits fourth with a 2-2 record going into a home game v Newport while Geelong will search for a win playing Doncaster at home.
Fitzroy Lions 14 v Newport Rams 2
The Lions jumped on the board right away with seven early runs. The score was 8-1 in Fitzroy's favour by the end of the second before the side tacked on six more.
Newport managed just one additional run with several hits on the day, including two from catcher Mikayla Norman and one for Caroline Mourtous, who threw two innings in her first start with two infield hits and three strikeouts.
The Fitzroy defence wriggled out of two bases-loaded situations and turned an infield fly double play to keep Newport under control.
Newport's Mackenzie Prentice-Evans pitched 2.2 innings of relief with two strikeouts while Ildi Klein closed out, striking out each batter she faced.
Fitzroy heads to Melbourne in third place with a 2-2 record and Newport goes to North Western in fifth with a 1-3 record.