By SALLY HEPPLESTON
RESEARCH Baseball Club look set to secure a home final after a convincing 8-1 win over danger side North Balwyn in round 17 of the Melbourne Winter Baseball League.
Played at Research’s home ground Glenauburn Park, Research coach Tom Dicker said his club wanted to make amends for earlier in the season when they were defeated by North Balwyn, one of only two losses they’ve had for the year.
“They beat us last time so it was important for us we didn’t lose top spot and this should keep us on top,” Dicker said.
“It is important for us to finish top two and get that home final.”
Dicker again praised the super efforts of pitcher Leigh McKay, who on Saturday was awarded the club’s best player award for the season.
“Our relief pitcher was away today, so Leigh wore the brunt of it.”
Dicker also said Steven Bookluck was also hitting the ball well, after a slow start to the year.
“He’s hot at the right time,” he said.
“And Josh Davies who has been our best all year was in fine form again today,” he said.
Research take on second placed GMBC next week which Dicker said would provide a fantastic run in to the finals.
North Balwyn coach Neil Burke said they came up against the best team in the competition.
“They’re the top team and they play like the top team,” he said.
“They deserved the win. They’ve got good hitters and Leigh McKay was outstanding on the mound. We’ve got our work to do, but we still can’t miss finals and this was a good experience for our club. We were not at our best today but it wont take much for us to turn it around.”
Burke said Research were incredibly hard to beat on their own turf.
“They just know the dimensions of the ground and the play it well,” he said.
North Balwyn take on Greensborough at Greensborough next week who will be looking to claw their way in to the top four.
In other A Grade results, Greensborough beat Forest Hill in a close one 9-8, Heathmont got over Essendon 6-4, Watsonia beat Knox 6-2 and GMBC were too good for Ringwood, winning 10-6.