The Hastings Baseball Association's B Grade grand final was on Sunday, September 17 at Wauchope's Blackbutt Park between the Minor premiers & 2017 premiership favourites, the Port Macquarie Spartans, against an underrated Middle Rock Magpies side.
The Spartans have been the benchmark side all year in the B Grade competition, while the Magpies have had an impressive re-introduction into the local league. With the two sides having clashed a total of five times throughout the regular season and with the Spartans winning 4 of the 5 games, the stage was set for an intense final showdown.
The Magpies were first at plate and were soon sent into field, having scored only a single run in their first innings. The Magpies however, showed through their pitcher Warren Collins, that they had come to challenge the Spartans for the title and showed their competiveness that has held them in good stead throughout the regular season. Backed with tenacious fielding, the Magpies were able to defend their lead, and continued to build on their early momentum. The Spartans experience however, soon took control of the match, through solid batting performances from Jamie Tait and a consistent and menacing pitching effort from Andrew Taylor. By the bottom of the 3rd innings the Spartans were up by 3 runs and lead 6 – 3.
A focussed Magpies side were determined to keep the Spartans within reach were able to claw their way back. Through the outstanding batting performances from Leigh I'Anson, Kye Dures, Rod Dures and Warren Collins, the Magpies fought their way back into match. Warren Collins was, again, outstanding with his pitching and had created the platform for his Magpies to lift. At the bottom of the fifth innings, the Magpies were still within reach but trailed 6 – 10.
In the end, 6 innings were played, in what could only be described as an exciting and entertaining game of local league baseball, fitting for a grand final. The final dig was the Magpies finest, scoring 6 runs, and befitting of a team that had all season demonstrated incredible teamwork, self-belief and who had dared to dream of winning. The score was now Magpies 12 to Spartans 10. The Spartans left to bat their final dig needed at least 2 to draw or 3 win the grand final.
The Spartans scored an early run in their last innings plus had a man on base to who would draw the game but a strike out by Magpies pitcher Warren Collins, then a great put out by Rod Dures at short stop and lastly, the catch of the year by right fielder Jason Kirkpatrick sealed the Magpie’s victory.
The Magpies scored an overall total of 16 safe hits to the Spartans 10 and also snatched 4 outfield catches. The Middle Rock Magpies becoming the Hastings Baseball Association's B Grade 2017 premiers. Final score Magpies 12 - Spartans 11. Player of the match went to the Spartans - Andrew Taylor.