It was the Warriors’ weekend as the VSBL Women’s Division 3 East team prevailed in a shutout win over Moorabbin.
The two teams faced off as part of Women’s Super Saturday at Essendon Baseball Club, with the Warriors beating the ladder-leading Panthers 10-0.
During the season, Moorabbin was the team to beat, staying undefeated in 10 games while the Warriors only lost two games, both to the Panthers.
However, when it came to the final game that counted, the Warriors were in control from start to finish, limiting Moorabbin to a small number of hits and striking out the side in critical moments. The winning side was clean in the field with no real mistakes made.
Warriors player Penny Donnelley reflected on the incredible win and how the side came together on the final day of the season when it mattered most.
“Us and Moorabbin are pretty similar on the field but the team was working together really well," Donnelley said. "We were a comprehensive unit out on the diamond. At the end of the day, it was the result we wanted and a good way to end the season."
The win was headlined by Warriors pitcher Emma ‘EJ’ Pastowski who pitched a shutout, a remarkable feat considering Moorabbin had scored 156 runs during the home and away season – 45 more than the second-best Warriors.
“Emma was awesome on the mound. We hadn’t really shown Emma and her pitching to Moorabbin before," Donnelley said.
The Warriors had a full squad make themselves available for Women's Super Saturday, so coaches worked to best utilise their players, even if that meant they played out of normal position.
“Everyone on the team was doing their bit, especially the defence. It was a really good effort," Donnelley said. "We had a few coming down to training to work on a few things and get better."
The training paid off as the Warriors made crucial plays and catches in the field, with constant contact at the plate putting pressure on Moorabbin's defense.
Remembering back three years ago to an agonising 2018/19 VSBL Women’s Division 3 Grand Final loss against a combined Melbourne/Doncaster side, Donnelley says it was a great feeling to celebrate a premiership. That season, the Warriors were undefeated all year until they lost the grand final, much like Moorabbin this time around.
“It comes down to one game at the end of the season, so you’ve just got to do your best in that one game.," Donnelley said. "Whatever happens prior to that doesn’t really count."
Speaking about the ever-changing scenario surrounding COVID, Donnelley admits it was hard to stay motivated amidst the uncertainty of when play would resume and even then, the potential for it to be stopped at any moment.
“It was a challenging season, a little different than normal because of the pandemic but to go out there and play when we could play was what kept us going," Donnelley said. "We kept doing what we were doing and got the result we wanted to finish off a successful season."
With a premiership now in the record books for the women’s program, the Warriors will be setting new goals for next season.
“We want to retain players, new girls we’ve picked up this season and help them improve and get better,” Donnelly said. “Down the line, we’d like to keep having women’s teams and keep growing those new players. They want to stick around so we will keep them and continue to practice and play together by playing winter.”