THE final round of the 2020 Illawarra Baseball League regular season proved to be a mixed one for the Shoalhaven Mariners.
The last games at home proved well worth watching on Saturday, but Sunday saw teams drive to Cringila only to have matches cancelled due to the weather.
With the cancellation went any hope their fourth grade side had of making the grand final.
It also cost fifth grade one last chance to finish on a high - although last week's win will do.
Second grade was played on Saturday at Ison Park as Eagles two travelled to South Nowra and took the field first.
The Eagles attacked the ball and managed to open the ledger.
The Mariners responded in kind, as everyone went out to make the last game a winner.
With the team in unusual positions, the spectators were worried for the Mariners.
They shouldn't have been, as the hosts took on the Eagles with determination, shutting them down in the second dig but not before they crossed the plate.
Safe hands of Lee Lawson in the outfield complimented the work of the pitchers in subsequent innings.
A few clean infield plays also made outs reminiscent of second grade at its best.
This made it harder for the Eagles to score.
The hosts kept picking away with base hits - sharp slides by Gabe Tate, Lee Lawson and Kai Meurenon secured well-earnt runs, as the Mariners left the field victors 13-6.
In total, there were 15 hits, a mix of singles and doubles.
Bailey Biden had the most RBIs but really everyone contributed to a game played in good spirits.
Pitching was shared by Marcus Atkinson, Keiren Harris with Brenton McMahon coming in to close.
Third grade started baseball on Saturday for the Mariners at home.
The Eagles were ready early, taking the field with a strong positive start.
Two base hits early and then a two-base hits to right-field led to four runs across the plate.
The Mariners needed to bat and bat they did.
Hits by Kailey Ehrig, Ben Elliott (two bases), James Lee, Antony Lee and Stephen Pearson batted the team around, as they scored five runs.
A change of pitcher and Eagles were unable to add to their total -thanks to two strikeouts and tight fielding.
Hits continued for Mariners with Tom Box and Simon Levy leading the way.
Again Hits by Ben Elliott (two bases) and Antony Lee helped Mariners add a further six runs, as the hosts led 11-4.
The third innings was almost a repeat of the second for Eagles, except for a run scored after a couple of wild pitches.
With two strikeouts and infield fielding making the outs, the Eagles were restricted to the single run.
Next up to bat, the Mariners faced a new pitcher.
Despite a solid two-base hit to James Lee, the Mariners were only able to add two runs, to lead 13-5.
The visitors found form with three consecutive players hitting two base hits.
Strikeouts got Mariners out of gaol but not before three runs were scored.
This time the hits did not happen for Mariners, as the Eagles reduced the lead to five.
Another pitching change shutdown the Eagles.
Despite two hits, no runs were added.
In reply, the Mariners suffered at the hands of the pitcher with two quick strikeouts.
A two dead rally was in evidence when Andrew Provest hit Kailey Ehrig into scoring position.
After Ehrig got home, the umpire called time and game, as the Mariners won 14-8 and took the minor premiership.
The Mariners will next travel to Eagle Field at Berkeley on Saturday to take on Dapto Chiefs in the grand final.
The Shoalhaven Mariners seniors have enjoyed their shortened season.
Pleased, in these COVID times, they were able to get in several rounds of baseball.
The Shoalhaven Mariners Baseball Club is now taking registrations for the junior baseball summer season.
Players four to 14 years - both boys and girls - will get a game each week.
There will be t-ball and live ball available.
Online registration is the first step - please use either the Shoalhaven Mariners Baseball webpage or Facebook.
The second part will be managed at the first plate appearance.
If there is anyone out there who can help throughout the junior season to coach, score, umpire or in the canteen, the club would love to hear from you.
For more information, please contact Samantha on 0472 713 114.
Baseball is a family affair.
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