Mariners stride home as real season contenders

On target: Long striding Kye Dures pitching a winner.

On target: Long striding Kye Dures pitching a winner.

The warm winter sun bathed Diamond One at Blackbutt Park Wauchope as the Middle Rock Mariners' lead-off batter Ben Williams strode confidently to home plate to face the Port Macquarie Spartan's experienced pitcher Juaques Kruger on Sunday July 18.

With the Mariners renowned for their slow starts no-one could have anticipated what was about to unfold.

Williams crunched the fourth pitch to centerfield, Brock Colley then showed great speed to get on base on error, meanwhile the speedy Williams had stolen two bases to be on third base.

Nathan Ellul was awarded first base when he was accidently hit by a pitch. Loaded bases with no-one out, a rare occurrence in A Grade, but one the Mariners were about to capitalise on.

Matt Lenton and Todd Reid both had safe hits and Kye Dures picked out a walk, A grade rookie Jye Kliendienst then hit a two base hit to right field to score two runs. At the end of the top half of the first innings the Mariners had scored six runs.

The Spartans replied with one run after a ball got away at first base but the next three runners were retired in order for the Mariners to finish the innings with a 6-1 lead.

The second innings saw the Mariners score another run when Lenton once again batted safely to make first base, then brilliant base running by Lenton saw him advance three bases and score when Todd Reid once again slapped the ball to left field.

The Spartans' second batter reached first base, but the ever alert left handed pitcher Kye Dures saw that his lead was too great and fired a pickoff to first baseman Ellul.

It started one of the most complicated run down plays ever seen at Blackbutt Park, in the end it had eight mariners cornering one lone Spartan. It reminded spectators of a startled rabbit trapped, while a streak of tigers surrounded him. In the end the runner was tagged by Colley and the innings ended with the Mariners leading 7-1.

The third innings saw the Mariners return to their dugout with no advancement to their score after an ordinary batting performance.

The Spartans scored their only earned run when a pitch got away and hit association president Michael Potts between the shoulder blades and the Spartans had two safe hits in a row.

With the score now 7-2 Dures really started to dominate in the next three innings. Dures, who was voted the most valuable player, gave up zero runs, backed up by errorless fielding by an ever improving Mariners defence.

The Mariners went on to score three more runs to run out comfortable 10-2 winners. This was the club's biggest ever win since joining the A grade competition and confirms the Mariners as real contenders in this year's competition.

The Mariners Green team scraped home with a 10-9 win in an exciting game on Diamond Two.

Nick Maxwell was the MVP recording two safe hits and making first base on 3 of his 4 turns at bat. Maxwell also had an errorless game on first base.

Marty Dures continues to lead the team with distinction picking out a walk and then finishing off with two safe hits in a perfect batting display. The team won in a scrappy way but as a spokesman said "at this stage of the season, a win is a win".

The White team continues to improve going down 11-8 after recording five runs in the final innings. Although never a threat of winning the game there are definite signs that the team is becoming more competitive in the B Grade competition.

The MVP was awarded to Mali Boller who took the mound with the bases loaded and then successfully pitched two innings without giving up an earned run.

The team boasts star batters in Frank Reilly, Tim Preston, and Jason Kirkpatrick, the secret to winning games is for the rest of the team to find ways of getting on base and allowing these batters to bring them home.