Baseball — 19 March 2014

Gawler Rangers Baseball Club’s under 17s have won the premiership, coming from behind to win the grand final 8-6 in extra innings against Goodwood Indians at Colonel Light Gardens last Sunday.

It was a sensational comeback, as not only were the Rangers trailing 6-1 after three innings, just three weeks ago in the final minor round game, Gawler lost 21-0 to Goodwood!

Over the premiership-decider’s first three frames the Rangers batters only had one infield hit and one run, while being struck out seven times. Goodwood collected six hits and six runs for three K2s.

But over the next five frames, Gawler picked up nine hits and seven runs for just two strikeouts, while the Indians had just one more hit, no runs and seven K2s.

The fourth inning could have created a nightmare for the Rangers as three outs were made from pick-offs, although one run scored. Then in the sixth frame Leighton Mells tripled and scored on Jake Rodda’s sacrifice fly to make the score 6-3.

With time running out, Gawler had one more at bat to stay in the game, the top of the seventh and final inning.

Zac Allen batted one run in, then with two out, Ben Mayfield belted a two-run double to tie up the ball-game.

Thomas Norley pitched the first six innings, but was replaced by Leighton Mells in the bottom of the seventh, who retired Goodwood three-up, three-down, including two strikeouts.

And then there were extra innings.

With one out Brandon Zinner walked and stole two bases in the top of the eighth frame, before scoring on Adam Hirschausen double, for the Rangers to lead for the first time. Norley then hit safely for Hirschausen to score.

With all the momentum, Gawler finished the job, retiring the Indians with another three-up, three down frame, and Mells struck out another two batters.

After a good start to the season this team struggled with a few bad losses and had a coaching change, with Trevor Norley leading the side admirably through the finals.

The Rangers have now won three flags, under 14s in 2009, LL Minors two seasons ago and now under 17s. The club has also played in two losing grand finals in its seven year history.

Gawler  0 1 0 1 0 1 3 2 – 8
Goodwood 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 – 6
Hits: Zac Allen 2, Ben Mayfield 2, Robert Gill 2, Thomas Norley, Leighton Mells, Chris Mayfield, Adam Hirschausen.

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Continuing its tradition of having high-placed juniors in medal counts, Gawler Rangers Baseball Club has another medallist among its ranks, with Jacob Allen winning the Little League Minors award as the competition’s best player.

Jacob played every game for his team this season and twice filled in at the Little League Majors level.

With a 529 batting average he led the side, while he also scored 10 runs and batted in 14, and collecting 13 walks.

Mainly a catcher, Jacob also pitched in half the games, restricting the opposition to two runs an inning while striking out 11 batters in 7.1 frames.

The 10-year-old’s brother Zac has played state baseball and was the successful under 17 team’s catcher in the premiership win over Goodwood – a good weekend for the Allen family.

Gawler also had some high-place finishes in other grades, with Wyatt Ryan and Seb Heintze-Unger sharing third place in the Little League Majors award, while former medallist Thomas Norley was third in the under 17 count.

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Paul Barnet

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