So close yet so far away. Gawler Rangers came within five minutes of all but securing a spot in division three baseball next season before losing 10-8 to Henley & Grange at home in the final minor round game.
There is still hope for the Rangers to remain in the higher division, although finishing equal bottom with Port Adelaide – a draw against Henley would have put Gawler out of danger.
It was a strange game on Saturday, as Henley scored a run in the first inning and five after an error in the second frame to lead 6-0, which was extended to 8-0 in the third.
Relief pitcher Dean Richards then shut the visitors out for the next two innings, while the Rangers went on a tear to level the game at 8-8 after five frames.
In the fourth dig, hits to Leighton Mells, Thomas Norley, Dylan Winning and a big triple to Steve Van Poorten, saw Gawler score five runs.
Then in the fifth, Thomas Norley smashed a loaded-bases double to bat three runs in and tie-up the ball game.
When the final out was made in the bottom of the fifth inning, there was only five minutes remaining, with the umpire sending the players in to the field for one more inning. Unfortunately Henley scored twice and the Rangers could not answer.
Henley & Grange 1 5 2 0 0 2 – 10
Gawler Rangers 0 0 0 5 2 0 – 8
Hits: Steve Vanpoorten 2, Thomas Norley 2, Dylan Winning, Leighton Mells.
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The Rangers B grade lost 9-5 to Flinders University after leading early. Steve Cope batted 1000 with three hits.
Liam Holland pitched the complete game, surrendering five hits while striking out three batters, while Ben Mayfield threw a runner out at first base from rightfield.
In division seven, Gawler fell away after a bright start, eventually losing 21-7 to Sturt. Rob Grose collected two hits while Trevor Norley pitched the complete game.
Gawler’s under 17s fell to third place on the ladder after a 21-0 loss to Goodwood and will now meet Sturt in a knockout semi-final at Karbeethan on Sunday.
The under 15s finished the season with a credible away 11-11 draw with Golden Grove Central Districts.
It was a great opening and finish that paved the way for the Little League Majors 15-7 victory over Golden Grove Central Districts.
A two run home run from Wyatt Ryan was followed by Cameron Keon’s three-run shot, as the Rangers took a 5-0 lead in the first frame.
Then with just a 9-7 lead, Gawler broke the game wide open with a five run final inning.
Zak Heintz-Unger pitched the first three innings, conceding just two hits ad three runs while striking out seven batters to lead the Rangers.
Adding to the hit parade, Trent O’Brien led the way with three, while Zak Heintz-Unger and Cooper Goodman both belted triples.
Little League Minors finished the season off in style with a 9-2 victory over Woodville.
The big inning was the second frame, when Lochie Cunningham and Brock Dibben-Mead belted two-run doubles, while Jacob Allen and Shenay Hillier did a good job on the mound.
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RESULTS: Saturday: division five lost to Flinders Uni 9-5 (hits: Steve Cope 3, Ian Skewes 2, Liam Holland, Anthony Skewes, Toby Ryan, Glen Holland, Ben Mayfield); division seven lost to Sturt 21-7 (hits: Rob Grose 2, Trevor Norley, Alex Barraclough, Callum Borchard); Sunday: Under 17 lost to Goodwood 21-0 (hits: Leighton Mells); Under 15 tied with GGCD 11-11 (hits: Michael O’Connor, Geoffrey Barraclough, Bradley Flaherty, Brodie Ewen, Jordan Longman, Noah O’Keil); LL Majors d GGCD 14-7 (hits: Trent O’Brien 3, Seb Heintz-Unger 2, Zak Heintz-Unger 2, Wyatt Ryan 2 (hr), Cooper Goodman 2, Link Ryan 2, Cameron Ryan 2 (hr)); LL Minors d Woodville 9-2 (hits: Lochie Cunningham, Brock Dibben-Mead, Jack Tearle).
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Next games (finals): Sunday – Under 17 v Sturt at home (TBA); LL Majors v Port Adelaide or Northern Districts at home (TBA).