CARDINALS Maroon showed why they are the team to beat in the Illawarra Junior Baseball League u12 championship after defeating a fast finishing Shoalhaven Mariners team 8–11 last Sunday.
As the away team, the Mariners led off the batting.
The Cardinals pitcher, showing competition leading form, retired the first three batters.
Score at middle of the first was 0-0.
Lucas Scott-Branagan led off the pitching for the Mariners, facing five batters. Even with some slick fielding by Andrew Pearson on second base for two outs, and a strike out in between, the Cardinals were still able to get a runner home. Score at the end of the first, 0-1.
The Mariners’ bats had warmed up by the start of the second.
Lucas scored the first run after a base hit and a steal of both second and third.
Ethan Scott-Branagan was walked, and eventually brought home by a base hit RBI by catcher Ethan Harpur.
Score at middle of the second, 2-1.
Unfortunately the Cardinals’ bats also came alive in the second innings, and despite the best efforts of Lucas and relief pitcher Josh Scott-Branagan, five runs were scored.
Score at the end of the second, 2-6.
The Mariners were unable to sail the right course in the top of the third innings, only able to bring one run home.
Little brother Ethan brought home big brother Lucas with an RBI.
Score middle of the third, 3-6.
Depleted in their pitching ranks by the absence of Jayden Brain, the Shoalhaven pitching battled to contain the Cardinal bats, despite two strikeouts by Josh and brave pitching by Ethan S, the score at the end of the third was an uncharacteristic 3-11.
The Mariners have developed a reputation of coming home like a steamboat, and that is what they did in the start of the fourth.
Robert Coleman was the first batter, earning a walk and, after some inattentive fielding by the Cardinals, was able to steal second on the walk.
The Mariners continued to work that advantage, with wild pitches allowing Ethan S, Lucas, and Andrew (in a big cloud of red dust) able to steal home.
Next to the plate was Stephen Pearson, after an excellent effort in u10s for Kiama earlier in the morning, having made a base hit, making two plays for out on second base, including a lighting attempt at a double play, and turn at catcher.
His base hit to left field brought Josh home.
Robert was the final batter, and with a great base hit was able to bring Ethan H home.
Unfortunately the voyage was too far, and the final score was 8-11.
The Mariners remain in third place, joined by the Eagles, but there is only one regular season round to go on February 23.
This weekend the Mariners will be temporarily merging with the Eagles to play in the Mark Bush Gala Day.
Mark Bush was a young u12 player when he was tragically killed in a car accident in 1992.
He was a young boy that loved his baseball and in response an u12s tournament has been held in his honour which continues to this day.
The Bush family are keen for the children to play the game in the right spirit and to love them everyday they are present.