North Balwyn stay alive after beating Research in elimination final
By SALLY HEPPLESTON
NORTH Balwyn have narrowly edged Research out of the premiership race and booked themselves a spot in week two of the finals by beating them 5-4 in week one of the Melbourne Winter Baseball League A grade finals.
North Balwyn, who finished in fourth place after the home and away season, were able to keep the big bats of third placed Research quiet, and get the crucial do-or-die win on Research’s home ground.
“We played good baseball today. Tyler Dale and Jeremy Young were great for us today on the mound,” North Balwyn coach Phil Dale said.
Dale said despite being short a few players from their regular A grade line up, the players who stepped up from the twos held their own.
“It was a good win, and very exciting. We only made it in to the top four three or four weeks ago.”
North Balwyn will play Forest Hill next week, who were outclassed by Heathmont, going down 18-7 in the other A grade final. North Balwyn has drawn twice with Forest Hill this year, so the game promises to be close, Dale said.
Research coach Tom Dicker said he thought his side was well-poised to have a good tilt at a successful finals campaign, but that they unfortunately fell short.
“We left 11 on base today and didn’t get the big hits when we needed them. Things just didn’t fall our way,” he said.
This is the second week in a row North Balwyn have had the better of Research, with North Balwyn beating them 3-2 in the last round of the season last week.
Dicker said starting pitcher Leigh McKay was at his usual, outstanding best and that he was well supported by Kyle Bedford.
Dicker said while their season started slow, it was great to make the finals. However, he said it was “hard not to be disappointed” going out in week one, and especially when the score was so close.
“I don’t consider us the fourth best team of the season,” he said.
Dicker said he predicted North Balwyn would be too good for the up and coming Forest Hill team next week.