Heathmont Baseball Club make 5 from 6 beating North Balwyn Stingers
By Sally Heppleston
HEATHMONT have won their second grand final in a row and their fifth out of the last six when they knocked off North Balwyn in a 2016 grand final rematch in the A Grade Melbourne Winter Baseball League grand final on Saturday.
Played on La Trobe University’s diamond in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, the tight match was blown open by a big hit from Hayden Dingle in the sixth inning when he scored a two run home run. Heathmont were able to score again in the seventh and eight innings to run away with the premiership, 4-1.
Heathmont assistant coach Matt Tayler said it was Sam Gibbons who set the tone of the match though, remaining on the mound for nine innings and throwing 104 pitches in total.
“He only gave up one run for the day and really set the tone out there,” Tayler said.
“Then when Hayden Dingle scored the two run home run we never really looked back.”
Tayler said the match was tight and praised North Balwyn’s pitcher Tyler Dale who he said put in an outstanding performance.
Heathmont finished on top of the ladder with 13 wins and five losses and were the dominant side all year.
“We’ve had a fantastic season and this is another reward for a lot of hard work,” Tayler said.
Heathmont coach Matt Gourlay was away for the match, as were two of their regular players, and Tayler said having three “big hearts” of the club away made it tough, but that the players were also more determined to come away with the prize.
“It was really disappointing not to have those guys there but that made us more inspired to do well for them,” he said.
North Balwyn coach Neil Burke despite having a 1-0 lead early in the game, they weren’t able to hang on or convert hits to runs when they needed to.
“We could have got further ahead but Sam Gibbons was outstanding for them and really was the difference,” Burke said.
“He got the big outs when they really needed them.
“We jumped ahead and battled it out but we weren’t really quite up to their standard today.
“It is exciting though as they are the benchmark and we are closing the gap.”
Burke also said their pitching was outstanding with Tyler Dale and Jeremy Young once again sharing the duties.
He said with Heathmont’s big hitting ling up, it was impressive they were able to keep them quiet for the first five innings of the game.
“Our pitchers really gave us a chance to win today,” he said.
Burke said he was incredibly impressed with their finals series, knocking of Research on their home pitch then coming from behind to beat Forest Hill in week two.
“We were just a little short today,” he said.
In the B grade grand final, Waverley beat Westgarth 2-0.