RANGERS IN GRAND FINAL
Gawler Rangers Baseball Club’s under 17s have qualified for the grand final, after an impressive 10-1 victory over Northern Districts at Ingle Farm in last Sunday’s preliminary final.
Next Sunday the Rangers will travel to Colonel Light Gardens to take on Goodwood in the premiership decider – it is Gawler’s fourth grand final appearance in its history as it aims for the club’s third flag from seven seasons.
In the early stages against North it was a struggle, with the Rangers trailing 1-0 up to the third inning, when Zac Allen belted a long triple and scored on Thomas Norley’s groundout to make it 1-1.
Jake Rodda hit safely to lead off the fourth frame and with good base-running reached third base before scoring on Brandon Zinner’s infield grounder for 2-1 lead.
Gawler took control of the game in the fifth inning with three runs, Rodda’s two-run hit the highlight, and put the icing on the cake with a five-run sixth, helped by six free passes and Leighton Mells’ single.
The only time North looked dangerous was in the first frame, when it scored its only run, with a play by Rangers outfielder Adam Hirshausen turning the momentum with a good catch and throw to home plate to cut down the runner.
On the mound Thomas Norley pitched five solid innings, while Leighton Mells came on in relief to finish the job.
Gawler 0 0 1 1 3 5 – 10
North 1 0 0 0 0 0 – 1
Hits: Zac Allen 2, Jake Rodda 2, Leighton Mells.
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It was a different story for the Rangers Little League Majors, which led all game before Henley & Grange scored five runs in its last at bat to beat Gawler 9-6 and knock it out of the premiership race.
The Rangers travelled like winners most of the way but fell down with too many walks in Henley’s last at bat.
With two out in the first inning Gawler made a charge to score five runs, Link Ryan’s two-run hit the highlight. Henley responded with three runs in the bottom of the first and another tally in the second to reduce the margin to 5-4.
There was trouble in the third frame when Henley loaded the bases with none out, but relief pitcher Cooper Goodman, with the help of a double play on first base by Seb Heintze-Unger, diffused the threat.
Trent O’Brien, who has carried a hot bat over the past five games with a hit or walk in all but two at bats over that period, doubled in the fourth frame and scored on Wyatt Ryan’s hit to make it 6-4 Rangers.
Goodman retired Henley three-up and three-down in the bottom of the inning to give his side confidence, but Gawler could not score in the final two frames, with the victors stealing the game with five runs in its last at bat, helped by six walks.
Gawler 5 0 0 1 0 0 – 6
Henley 3 1 0 0 5 x – 9
Hits: Trent O’Brien 2, Wyatt Ryan 2, Cooper Goodman 2, Link Ryan 2, Jayden Gill 2, Zak Heintze-Unger, Thomas Richards.