Magpies swoop on baseball title

Central Magpies completed a perfect summer by swooping to the 2020-21 Mount Gambier and District Baseball League Division 1 Sid Hosking Premiership Cup by defeating South Indians after just two games at Blue Lake Sports Park last weekend.

The undefeated Central struck the first blow in front of a big crowd on Friday night in the opening final. In the bottom of the second dig Dylan Gull’s hit to left-field was put down, Brock Keding took four balls and Koby Chant dropped a timely bunt to load the bases.

Ethan Chuck’s sacrifice fly pushed Gull over the plate, Jordan Aston’s texas-leaguer to left-field scored Keding and Chant was driven in by Alex Ridding’s two-bagger to right-field giving the Magpies a three-run jump.

The Indians returned fire in the top of the sixth when consecutive hits to Bruce Morale and Dean Hamilton put there first two batters on base, while Alex Lewis’ hit loaded the diamond. Travis Lockwood batted in Morale and Jesse Balshaw batted in the former still leaving all the bases occupied.

However, consecutive strikeouts to Central pitcher Dylan Chuck left those runners stranded. Despite both sides collecting nine safe-hits, Central sealed the 4-2 win with after Koby Chant crossed home plate on a wild throw.

The premiership was secured in emphatic style in game 2 on Saturday evening in the best of three series. Central’s first cab off the rank was Koby Chant, who doubled to centre-field and was batted in by Jordan Aston’s sacrifice fly.

But South took the lead in the third when Bruce Morale arrived at first base on a fielder’s choice and Damien O’Dine singled to right-field. Dean Hamilton’s safe-hit to right-field pushed Morale across the plate, while O’Dine was batted in by Alex Lewis.

But the game and season were both put to bed in the top of the fourth after the Magpies went berserk. Brock Keding hit safely to centre-field, Koby Chant followed with a safe-hit to left-field, while Ethan Chuck dropped the perfect bunt to load the bases prompting coach Bruce Morale to replace pitcher Ryan Placucci on the mound with himself.

But this move did not stem the flow of hits and the runs came easily from the aggressive batting and base running. Alex Ridding’s hit to centre-field scored Keding, Kyall McClean’s hit to the same spot and the ensuing error allowed both Chuck and Ridding to score.

Dylan Chuck doubled which pushed McClean home and Dylan Gull’s follow up double scored Chuck giving them six runs for the inning and a 7-2 lead. The game fizzled out to some extent with much tighter pitching and the South bullpen turning to Hamilton, while 19-year-old Ethan Chuck lasted the distance for Central.

The Magpies struck one more safe-hit than the Indians, while Central shortstop Alex Ridding was presented the Burner Family Most Valuable Player of the Grand Final Series award by Toby Burner. After winning by default last season due to the coronavirus Central easily won its first grand final series since 2014-15.

Tigers won the Division 2 decider from a competitive Central Magpies side. The game was in the balance until the sixth inning when a series of errors by the Magpies caused the game to blow out. Both pitchers, Tigers’ Toby Burner Tigers – 10 strikeouts and four walks – and Central’s Mark Kilpatrick – four strikeouts and six walks – took a lot of responsibility for the tight defensive work giving nothing away.

Going into the sixth Tigers held a three-run advantage before it blew out to an 8-nil lead. Tigers deserved the win, while Central can look forward to the future with just two players over the age of 19.

Division 3 picked up the first of Tigers’ two premierships for the day by defeating Millicent in a tightly contested game. In a low hitting and scoring affair, Tigers prevailed six runs to three.

Phil Clark controlled the mound for the victors, while veteran Sean Horrigan batted in half of side’s runs with three hits from three. Both teams only made one error each, impressive from the young Bandits team.

South Indians came from behind to win the Junior League title by scoring the winning run in the final at bat. In a low scoring and hitting game highlighted by three safe-hits to Dylan Lewis, a homerun to Deegan Habner for South Indians and two safe-hits to Central’s Blake Vause.

The game was nip and tuck though out with both teams did not give an inch, but the run in the last dig created by Lewis and Habner shows why the will be stars of the future. Minor-premier Central overran a fighting Tigers outfit for the Little League Premiership. Both teams with a large number of players and all had a turn in the batting box turned the game on for the family and friends in attendance.

The highlight was a homerun from Central centre-fielder Sam Ruwoldt as his side won eight runs to five. In the tightest of tight contests, Central won the first of the club’s three premierships for the weekend in Minor League.

In this League when batters are given a “walk” they then hit of a tee to put the ball in play allowing more players into the game, more outs, more runs not just free bases. While both teams only hit one proper safe-hit each there were plenty of the ball in play with the Magpies winning by one run.

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