Raiders A Grade defeat Falcons in classic encounter
A-Grade Round 3: Raiders 5 d Falcons 4
We were scheduled to play a double header this week, however Syndal A Grade forfeited the 6pm game. It is perplexing that the competition enables a club to forfeit their A Grade fixture and it is also disappointing that we have now had 2 byes and 1 forfeit in our first 6 games.
However our classic encounter against Falcons more than made up for the forfeit as both teams produced an extremely high quality game of Softball, representative of the club game at its highest level. At times both teams made errors, but in the main these were due to the pressure of the tight game.
After Falcons scored in the top of the first the respective defences took over until we tied it up in the bottom of the 3rd on the back of a crushing lead-off double by seven slot hitter Emily Grisold that hit the centrefield fence on the fly. An Emma Boldeman SAC bunt moved Emily to 3rd and she scored on a third strike Passed Ball in a Kirsty Allen at-bat.
Top of the 5th Falcons scored again to take the lead, but we immediately hit back scoring 3 runs from two-out as two gutsy at-bats from the bottom of our order (Grisold and Boldeman) saw Smethurst, Wakeling and Daykin (who was intentionally walked) all score. Our 2-run lead lead was short-lived as Falcons struck back with a pair of two-out runs of their own in top of the 6th on a couple of singles and an error.
So on to the 7th we went with the scores now tied at 4 apiece. With her pitch count nudging 100 and facing the Falcons 2,3 & 4 hitters Ilsa Wakeling quickly sent them down in order and we carried the momentum into the bottom of the seventh.
Again the bottom of our batting order stood up when it counted, as Emily Grisold drew her second 6-pitch walk to lead off the inning. Emily went to second on an Emma B line shot up the middle and, following a gutsy K2 at-bat by Kirsty, Elly Trevethan stepped up and loaded the bases with a single up the middle. Justine then hit into a 1-2 force out that saw Emily out at home and the scene was set for some 2-out heroics. Ilsa did not disappoint as she smashed a 1-1 base-hit to left for a walk-off single scoring Emma B giving us a 5-4 victory.
This game typifies what we are all about this season with a wonderful blend of youth and experience that saw all players contribute to the victory. We batted all the way through the order, in spite of the fact that we left a lot of runners on-base (10). Every player contributed with either bat or ball or both. When we made a mistake or when we were challenged we dug deep and the team dynamic was exceptional. I am a big believer in doing the basics well and we executed today when it mattered, making routine plays under pressure, laying down sacrifices and with very sound contact hitting.
Defensively Ilsa was the stand out – she was challenged by a very tight & straight strike zone, which forced her into the zone – she ended up throwing 107 pitches (76 strikes). Ilsa was well supported by Juzz (1st and Short) and Ruth at 2nd base who made a couple of sparkling lateral plays.
Offensively it was a team effort, highlighted by Emily G who went 1-1 with the huge double but just as importantly drew 3 walks. Ilsa got on base four times courtesy of 3 walks and the game winning single. Elly also went 2-5 with good contact in four of her at-bats and Lauren went 1-2 with 2 walks.
It was a game that was fitting for two of the A Grade competitions leading contenders of the past couple of seasons.
HITS: Trevethan 2, Smethurst 1, Wakeling 1, Daykin 1, Addlem 1, Grisold 1 (double), Boldeman 1