Baseball finally returned to Blackbutt Park on Sunday (May 7) after a long hiatus caused by both COVID-19 and bad weather.
The Middle Rock Mariners played the Wauchope Giants for the Ron and Pam Dures Shield in the first game of the season. The closure of a soggy Diamond One forced the Hastings Baseball Association to play four shortened games on Diamond Two.
The game was preceded by the traditional first pitch by Pam Dures. Pam threw a lively curveball to home plate to a resounding cheer from the crowd.
The Giants started the game well, shutting down the Mariners' attack in the first two innings while scoring two runs themselves. It was not all bad news for the Mariners with both Matt Lenton and Kye Dures smashing the ball to the outfield but unfortunately not crossing over home plate before the third out.
With the Giants leading 2/0 the Mariners started their fightback in the third innings when catcher Tim Harris gained a walk. Ben Williams then hit safely to bring Harris home. A wild throw by the Giants let the speedy Ryan Bray on base. It was then that newcomer Nathan Cunningham strode into the batter's box. Cunningham clouted the ball deep into left field. This was followed by an equally impressive line drive to left field by Mat Lenton. The ever reliable Matt Lindsay then hit safely to centre field to give the Mariners a 5/2 lead.
That lead was backed up by bringing Lenton onto the pitching mound where he pitched with speed and accuracy to stop the Giants from scoring further. This masterstroke by Coach Harris allowed the Mariners to retain the Ron and Pam Dures Shield with a convincing 5/2 win.
Matt Lenton was awarded the Man of the Match for his three safe hits and outstanding pitching.
In B Grade, the Mariners cruised to an easy 14/0 win.
Pitcher Rob Borer proved to be a class above the Giants batters while the Mariners were excellent with the bat having eight players record a total of 14 safe hits. They were led by Tate Dures (3), Reid Farrell (2), Rob Borer (2).
It should be taken into account that the Giants fielded some inexperienced players, who will undoubtedly improve as the season progresses.
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