THERE was bad news and good news for the Shoalhaven Mariners heading into their first ever semi-final appearance against the Berkeley Eagles last Sunday.
At 4pm on Saturday the Illawarra Junior Baseball League took the decision to cancel all Sunday games.
The ground was unplayable.
Fortunately due to a superior position on the u12s ladder at the end of the regular rounds, the league rules indicated that the Mariners would move through to the final this Sunday, March 9 and play the second placed team Cardinals Gold.
The winner of the final this Sunday goes through to fight Cardinals Maroon for the under 12s title on Sunday, March 15.
Should the weather again intervene the Mariners will be left marooned.
The same rule that saw the Mariners proceed to the final would work against them.
The eight players who make up the Mariners u12s vary in experience, but have all vastly improved this season.
Double trouble Josh and Lucas Scott-Branagan are 12-year-old students at St John the Evangelist High School.
Josh prefers to play first base, is a fan of the New York Yankees, and loves tacos.
Lucas is a relief pitcher, reliable hitter, and his favourite MLB team is the St Louis Cardinals.
He also loves a good pizza.
Their younger brother, Ethan “Little E” Scott-Branagan, is eight-years-old. He recently represented the Illawarra in an under 10s tournament in Sydney.
His favourite fielding position is third base where he demonstrates a throwing arm beyond his years,
possibly fuelled by a good serving of macaroni.
Little E. is excited that the LA Dodgers will be visiting Australian shores this month.
Ethan “Big E” Harpur, the team’s gun catcher, is 12-years-old.
He loves chicken chow mein, crispy bacon and two minute noodles, but not all at once.
He is a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays, the new club of Sydneysider Grant Balfour. He is a tough cookie, which he proved when he cracked a tooth during warm up at the beginning of a game and still completed the game.
Robert Coleman has grown in
experience as the Mariners’ closing pitcher.
Robert, 12, attends Nowra High School.
He has also proven as a reliable first baseman this season.
He supports the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and his favourite after game meal is a calzone.
Jayden Brain has become a powerhouse opening pitcher this season.
He is turning 12 this month, and is happy playing any fielding position.
Fuelled by hot dogs, Jayden has an interesting ritual during his pitching where he habitually tugs on his baseball cap before he throws the ball.
Andrew and Stephen Pearson round out the side.
Students of Nowra Anglican College, both boys are dedicated ball players, having represented Illawarra at the NSW Country Championships in 2013.
Sundays in the Pearson household have started earlier than the rest of the team this season.
Twelve-year-old Andrew and nine-year-old Stephen both played for the Kiama Braves in the 8.30am game.
Andrew is the catcher for the u14s and Stephen is the catcher for the u10s. Stephen toured the home of his favourite team, the San Francisco Giants last New Year’s Eve.
Andrew is a keen Seattle Mariners fan.
He is hoping to catch them at home in July before he joins the Razorbacks Junior Baseball team on their tour to Pennsylvania.
The Mariners have defeated both Cardinals sides during the course of the season so are hoping to have the chance to play each side one more time this season.