The Middle Rock Mariners were drawn to play the Port Macquarie Spartans at the Blackbutt Diamond on Sunday June, 16.
The Mariners exuded confidence as they were back to full strength for this game with the return of Captain Coach Marty Dures.
The Mariners batted first and when Warren Collins hit a booming home run out of the park, scoring two runs, their confidence seemed justified.
However, two errors in the first innings allowed the Spartans to take a 3/2 lead.
In the next two innings the Mariners scored only one unearned run. Meanwhile the Spartans put together six safe hits, scoring six runs to take a 9/3 lead.
In the next four innings the Mariners' batting let them down, resulting in only one more run.
The Spartans enjoyed seven safe hits in the same period. This included a home run to Joel Green and a ground rule double by Jarrod Taylor. Four wild throws by the Mariners allowed the Spartans to score eight runs.
The final score of 17/4 was not a true indication of the close nature of the game. The Mariners' lead off pitcher Tim Harris started the game very well but later on was unable to control the powerful Spartans' batting.
Warren Collins then pitched two perfect innings. His replacement Matt Lenton gave the Mariners a chance at winning but their batting failed to narrow the gap.
Safe hits were recorded by Marty Dures, Nathan Ellel, Warren Collins, Todd Reid and Matt Lenton which shows the depth of the Mariners' batting. It is now up to the Mariners to group these hits together in the future.
Fielding highlights were Matt Lenton's four assists from third base to retire four of the Spartans' batters and Reid Farrell's catching ability in left field.
The Mariners Reserve Grade Team was unfortunately very much under strength. Although they tried hard they scored only one run despite recording six safe hits.
Monty Moore had an excellent game on first base recording a safe hit and the teams' only run. The Spartans' batting was just too powerful for the depleted Mariners' pitching staff. This led to them scoring 23 runs in a very one sided game.