Heathmont wins 10-4 against Research to start 2014 on a winning note
By SALLY HEPPLESTON
HEATHMONT has started their premiership defense in winning form, getting over Research 10 to 4 in round one of the Melbourne Winter Baseball League.
Heathmont Coach Matthew Gourlay said their two new pitchers were standouts with Josh Silvi from Perth and Ryan Bean from Seattle in the USA both performing “fantastically”.
He said home runs from Josh Hendricks, Brad Harman and Chris Nicholas capped off the great win.
“Everyone else contributed today as well though,” he said. “it was “a feel good day for the club”, with the 2013 premiership flag unfurled before the match, and the first pitch of 2014 for the club thrown by State MP and Heathmont’s Number 1 ticket holder Heidi Victoria.
“Our guys all played a lot of baseball over the summer. We’re aiming for finals again this year, and we hope to be hitting our form then. We’re hoping to finishing first or second, to get the advantage in the finals,” Gourlay said.
Research coach Tom Dicker said it was tough to come up against the reining champions from the past two years.
“They really are the benchmark and they have two excellent pitchers who I’m sure will be the best we’ll see this year. It was a good test,” he said.
He said the Heathmont batters hit the ball hard but that his players showed good early signs.
“We were missing 16 players from across the club, so we had a lot of players stepping up.
“Leigh McKay, who is our stand out pitcher, prefers not to play summer, so he’ll only get stronger once he gets going.”
Research were runners up in 2012 and Dicker said they were hoping to make finals this year after winning their last 11 games in 2013 to then finish outside the top four by just half a game.
“We were on a bit of a run and we think if we’d have made the finals, we would have done well,” he said.
Baseball breaks for Easter next week. Heathmont are away to Essendon the week after in round two, who have come up to A Grade after winning the B Grade premiership last year.
“They’ve recruited well and have a new, very well respected coach, so we’re going to have our hands full,” Gourlay said.
Research are at home to North Balwyn.
In other round one results, GMBC defeated Greensborough 6-5 in the traditional heritage round one season opener.