On a glorious spring afternoon in Wauchope, the Port Macquarie Spartans took the field in the Hastings A grade baseball competition, confident that a win against the Middle Rock Mariners would cement them a place in the upcoming finals.
The Mariners' first two batters failed to make first base but Ryan Bray then showed great speed to beat out a hit to third base.
Bray then stole second base and was scored by Warren Collins who hit safely to left field.
When Matt Lenton also hit safely it looked like a two down rally was developing. However, the club's most reliable batsman Tim Harris caught an outside pitch and drilled it to the Spartans' Ryan Frost who ended the innings with two runners left on base.
The Spartans failed to score in their first innings after the Mariners' shortstop Nathan Ellul fired two accurate throws to get two outs to first baseman Warren Collins for the Mariners to be leading 1-0.
The Mariners failed to score in the second innings while the Spartans scored one run and looked sure to take the lead when once again Nathan Ellul saved the day when he turned and took a wonderful running catch in a short left field position leaving the score at 1-1.
The third innings once again saw the Mariners leave a runner in a scoring position.
The Spartans recorded five safe hits in a powerful show of batting and scored two runs and looked set to score more but centre fielder Matt Lindsay, who has become the club's outstanding outfielder, brought the innings to an end with a great catch, leaving the score 3-1 in favour of the Spartans.
The never give up attitude of the Mariners came to the fore when once again with two out the Mariners loaded the bases after Warren Collins hit safely and Matt Lenton and Tim Harris picked out walks. Nathan Ellul then scored a run when he picked out a walk.
With the score now 3-2 and the bases full the Mariners looked certain to take the lead but a good play by the Spartans' third baseman Stewart Brown finished the innings with the Mariners still having three runners left on base.
The final score finished at 4-2 to the Spartans in a hard fought match.
The Mariners were left disheartened knowing that leaving those three runners on base had cost them a win and that in so many games this season they had been in winning positions only to have it whisked away late in the game.
Coach Todd Reid was upbeat knowing that many players have improved during the season.
Man of the match went to pitcher Rod Dures who had batters swinging and missing his wide variety of pitches, thus keeping the Mariners in the game for a long time.
The Mariners B Grade team was soundly beaten 19-7 by the Spartans.
The Mariners gave away twelve unearned runs in an error riddled display.
The best for the Mariners were Jason Kirkpatrick with two safe hits and Boris Budiono and Damian McAnarney who each had a safe hit.
The team is full of enthusiasm and an improvement in fielding will make them very competitive next year.