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Round 15: Ringwood v Forest Hill

By SALLY HEPPLESTON

AFTER looking like they might be relegated to B grade just a few weeks back, Ringwood have turned their 2019 Melbourne Winter Baseball League A grade season around with a convincing win over Forest Hill in round 15 on Saturday.

Ringwood coach Adam Bright said he didn’t remember a season where it had been so close, with top four positions so hotly contested and changing from week to week.

Forest HIll and Ringwood were sitting fifth and sixth respectively before the game but Bright said the 9 to 4 win, along with other results from the round, would put them in to the top four.

“It was a really good convincing win for us,” Bright said.

“Wes de Jong was again brilliant for us on the mound and Luke Papanicolaou closed for us and was looking very sharp and back to his old self, which is very promising for us.”

Bright said it was hard to believe that just a couple of weeks ago, they were looking at possible relegation to B grade, being so close to the bottom of the ladder. He said the focus of their season had now very much changed.

“We were just a couple of losses away from relegation. Now with two wins in a row and Waverley beating Heathmont yesterday, we’ll be in the top four. We play bottom of the ladder Research next week so we hope to win there but finish with the two top sides, Monty (Greenhills Montmorency Baseball Club) and North Balwyn, so if we can nab one of those as well we’ll be in with a good shot.”

Bright said Nick Unwin was brilliant with the bat with three hits and that Jacob Sheldon-Collins and Jimmy Bent also hit the ball well.

He said Anthony White, who had come up from the thirds, was also brilliant as catcher, filling in for their regular pitcher who was sidelined with an injury.

Forest Hill coach Adam Blackley said despite three losses in a row and dropping out of the top four, their season wasn’t over yet.

“We didn’t pitch well yesterday, but it’s not over yet. If we win the next three, we can still scrape in,” Blackley said.

Forest Hill will face Greensborough, Heathmont and Waverley in the final three weeks of the season.

Blackley also said key pitcher Andrew Russell would be back next week, which would make a big difference to their chances.