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Ballarat 8, Berwick City 3 

Pitching his first game for the Ballarat Brewers, southpaw Ricky Howell spun a quality start against a visiting Berwick outfit that opened the scoring but was unable to withstand an offensive assault that delivered the home side a decisive break with a four-spot in the fourth. Scattering five hits over seven innings of work, Howell conceded a solitary earned run before handing the ball to Seth Haehl in the set-up role before Tom Harrington closed out the last, with the Brew Crew having stretched the lead with a flurry of late runs. 

A progressive club with a wealth of emerging young talent, Berwick entered this contest undefeated after two rounds and with a reasonable expectation of producing the goods against the new kids on the Division 2 block. It was never going to be easy for the Cougars, however—playing on an unfamiliar field against a vastly experienced opposition approaching full strength after a poor showing in its loss to Williamstown last Sunday.

While Berwick starter Mark Surtees went scoreless through the first three, he ran into strife in the fourth, when Ballarat mounted a two-out offensive assault that resulted in four runs and what translated into an insurmountable lead. Despite not having pitched in a game for seven weeks, Howell appeared to get stronger through the contest to post an impressive win—one that his club will be hoping is the first of many for a multi-skilled player already with a solid existing record at Division 1 level.

Looking to its relievers in Matt Chilcott and the rangy Cameron Gibbens, Berwick remained an ever-present threat but was unable to hold off a Brewers offence that amassed 13 hits to seven as it edged away in the seventh and eighth innings.

Eight players posted hits for the Brewers in a strong team effort, with Ethan Etheridge, Stewart Jeffery, Scott Kerr, Scott Jones and Haehl among the multiples while Leigh Ashmore and Matt Jones both drove in two of their side’s runs. Berwick City, meanwhile, was paced by Ryan Shane (scored two runs) and six other players who contributed singles to the cause. Sam Beasley and Andrew Gibbens also knocked in runs for the Cougars. 

Now at 2-1and still finding their legs in the higher divisionBallarat will start Seth Haehl against Williamstown at Altona on Wednesday evening before making the trek to Werribee for what shapes as a blockbuster against the Giants next Saturday.  

Moorabbin 10, Williamstown 0 

Consistent in all facets of the game, Moorabbin tallied once in the first, five times in the fifth, added another in the sixth, and completed their bravura performance with three runs in the seventh to shutout Williamstown 10-0 in a mercy-rule shortened contest. 

Fitzroy 5, Port Melbourne 1 

The host Lions scored once in the first, twice in the fifth, and added two more in eighth to combat the Mariners only marker in the top of the sixth inning. In a losing effort, Port Melbourne’s Nicholas Coy had two hits (including a double and the lone run batted in) and Will Musson and Jordan Osborne also contributed two baggers. 

Werribee 2, Upwey FTG 1 

In a nip-and-tuck back-and-forth affair the Giants eked past the Tigers, 2-1. With the victory, Werribee improved to 2-1 on the season while Upwey fell to 1-2. In mid-week tilts, Werribee and Malvern square off on Wednesday and Upwey takes on Fitzroy on Thursday. Both games will be held at the Melbourne Ballpark with first pitch slated for 6.30 p.m. 

Bonbeach 4, Malvern 2 

It took an extra inning, but the Bonbeach Blue Jays outlasted the Malvern Braves, 4-2, in a spirited contest. The winning runs were scored on a bases loaded hit and the victory secured when hurler Jon Bannister (who earned the win) struck out the side to end the game. Despite leadoff men reaching base in both the fifth and sixth innings, Bonbeach couldn’t push a run across. 

Instead it was Malvern who struck first, scoring once in the bottom of the sixth. The Blue Jays answered in the seventh with a double by Ben Donald (one of two in the game) plating Andy Webber before coming home himself on a sacrifice fly. The Braves tied it in the bottom of the seventh before the extra innings heroics.

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