Gawler Rangers Baseball Club’s under 17s are just one game away from qualifying for the grand final, after beating Sturt 28-20 at home in a knock-out final last Sunday.
It was an amazing game, with Sturt leading 6-0, then Gawler 14-6, then Sturt 18-16 before the Rangers managed 12 of the contest’s final 14 runs.
With runs in all six innings, Gawler had its best game of the season with the bat, led by Thomas Norley and Robert Gill with four hits each, while Jake Rodda, Ben Mayfield and his twin brother Chris Mayfield all had three.
The first inning saw Sturt score six runs, with the Rangers answering with seven, Norley’s big three-run double the key hit.
Norley then shut Sturt out in the second inning from the mound, while his team-mates continued the batting avalanche with another seven runs in the bottom of the frame.
Sturt closed the gap with six tallies in the third dig, with Gawler keeping ahead with a pair to lead 16-12.
But the visitors were on a roll and crossed home plate another sixth times to hit the front, which was a lead short lived, as the Rangers answered with four runs in the bottom of the fourth, Jake Rodda’s two-run double the big hit.
Pitcher Leighton Mells, who came on to quell Sturt’s high scoring in the fourth frame, shut the opposition out in the fifth, while Gawler scored another six runs in the bottom of the dig, Mells and Ben Mayfield with two-run hits.
With two runs in the top of the sixth inning Sturt cut the Rangers lead to six runs, meaning Gawler needed to score twice in the bottom of the frame to end the game. Norley scored on a wild pitch and Rodda drove in another to finish the contest.
The Rangers travel to play Northern Districts next Sunday, with a berth in the grand final against Goodwood on the line.
Sturt 6 0 6 6 0 2 – 20
Gawler 7 7 2 4 6 2 – 28
Hits: Thomas Norley 4, Robert Gill 4, Jake Rodda 3, Ben Mayfield 3, Chris Mayfield 3, Zac Allen 2, Leighton Mells 2, Adam Hirschausen.
* * * * *
Like the under 17s, the Rangers Little League Majors came from behind to qualify for next Sunday’s preliminary finals, beating Port Adelaide 13-12 at home, after a three-run charge in the bottom of the sixth and final inning.
It looked like Gawler by how much when they came out of the blocks with four runs in each of the first two innings to lead 8-0.
Consecutive hits to Trent O’Brien (who batted 1000 with four hits in the game), Zak Heintze-Unger and Wyatt Ryan set up the opening frame charge, while Cooper Goodman smashed a three-run blast over the fence in the second dig.
Zak Heintze-Unger was in control on the mound for the first two innings for Gawler but struggled through the third frame, with Port scoring five runs.
Two unsuccessful pitching changes saw the Rangers fall behind 11-10 after five innings, with just one more regulation dig to go.
Port scored a run in the top of the sixth to go 12-10 up, with a simple equation for Gawler – score three times to win, twice to force extra innings or otherwise the season was finished.
With the first two runners reaching base, Wyatt Ryan smashed a long two-run double, which was followed by Goodman’s RBI single and the Rangers were through to play Henley & Grange away in the preliminary final next Sunday.
Port Adelaide 0 0 5 1 5 1 – 12
Gawler 4 4 0 2 0 3 – 13
Hits: Trent O’Brien 4, Zak Heintze-Unger 2, Wyatt Ryan 2, Cooper Goodman 2 (hr), Cameron Keon 2, Link Ryan.