Research outstanding winning through to the big one.
By SALLY HEPPLESTON
RESEARCH upset top-side and dual reigning premiers Heathmont in the first week of the Melbourne Winter Baseball League A grade finals.
Played at Heathmont Reserve in perfect spring conditions on Saturday, Research were able to get away to an early 4-0 lead but strong hitting from Heathmont’s Daniel Mack steered the game back in their favour. Heathmont’s Matt Wilson tied the game in the eight inning but Research were able to bounce back with a two run home run in the ninth and escape with the 7-4 win.
Research coach Tom Dicker said it was a terrific game of baseball, setting his side up for their second grand final in three years.
“It was good to win on their field, we haven’t done that in a while,” he said.
Dicker said the win was a true whole team performance.
“Leigh McKay is normally the base we build off each week but today there really were no stand outs.”
He said McKay, who threw seven innings, tired a little towards the end of the match but still managed to keep the strong Heathmont hitters off balance.
“We think we can beat anyone and Heathmont of course have a big reputation and today we took the next step. We haven’t lost now since round two,” Dicker said.
Research will use the week off next week to get as much match practice as they can.
“We’re looking to get a practice match against a summer club to get out on the park,” he said.
Heathmont coach Matt Gourlay said his side didn’t come out to play but took nothing away from Research, who they defeated in the 2012 grand final, saying they, “played out of their skins”.
“We just couldn’t produce in the last inning. But we’ll bounce back,” he said.
Gourlay singled out pitcher Ryan Bean, who had an outstanding day on the mound, throwing seven innings.
“The guys were disappointed, they were hurting. But that’s a good sign,” Gourlay said.
Heathmont have the second chance and will play GMBC next week who ousted North Balwyn in a tight 6-4 contest.