It was a very strong start for the Middle Rock Mariners against competition leaders the Port Macquarie Spartans in round 9 of the Hastings Baseball A grade competition.
The Spartans batted first but were immediately in trouble, with 3 up and 3 out through strong and accurate pitching from Mariners' Tim Harris, together with excellent fielding from the infield.
When the Mariners came in for their first bat Nathan Ellul smashed a safe hit to right field and was quickly in a scoring position.
Bases were soon loaded due to walks from Kye Dures and Tim Harris. The pressure was mounting on the Spartans.
The Mariners' Ellul crossed home plate due to a Spartans' wild throw and they were soon taking the ascendancy with none out.
Alas, the next Mariners batters were sent back to the dugout leaving the bases loaded and the Mariners leading 1-0.
In the second innings, the Spartans crossed home plate due to an error from the Mariners and the scores were now drawn 1-1.
The next innings saw great baseball played from both sides. Excellent pitching by Harris from the Mariners and Ryan Frost from the Spartans together with good support from their respective teammates made for a very tight struggle.
For the Mariners the every safe glove work of Todd Reid and Warren Collins were again putting on a great show.
As the game progressed into its second hour, the Spartans began to dominate with the bat.
A combination of powerful hitting by the Spartans' Donnelly, Forster, Robinson and Frost and the always dangerous Green and Apps meant the score was now 8-1.
The Mariners batting was not helped with their batters being struck out watching the third strike across the plate. A certain gift to the opposition.
The Mariners final innings commenced like their first with a determined battery, hungry for a comeback.
Immediately Warren Collins, Tim Harris and Kye Dures were on base through great hits and then followed it up with two crossing the plate.
This was a fantastic start and a real upset was on the cards. Sadly, the next three Mariners batters were quickly out leaving the final score 8-3.
In B grade, the result was an 18-7 loss. The Spartans were dominate with the bat and in the field. For the Mariners safe hits were recorded by Mali Boller, Matt Lindsay and Leigh I'Anson who continues his great form.