LOADED BASES (BASEBALL)
East in the comfort zone
By ROBERT LAIDLAW
BATTER UP:ladder-leader Glenelg was the only loser in the top six in Sunday's SA Baseball league action.
East Torrens had a fairly comfortable victory over Northern Districts, although the Northerners gave the Redsox a scare in the last inning.
A four run third frame won the game for Torrens, Damien Norsworthy's three-run dinger the big hit.
Trailing 7-0, North scored two runs on Dan Oswald's triple in the ninth, and Oswald scored on a ground out.
Shayne Bennett only gave up three hits in seven shut out innings to pickup the win, while Peter Moore pitched into the sixth frame for North, conceding eight hits and striking seven batters out.
West Torrens set up an exciting last minor round game with the Tigers by closing to within one point.
The Eagles came out of the blocks against Port Adelaide with a six-run first inning, Matt Salisbury and Sam Tibbits collected two-run singles.
Simon Borlace shut the Magpies out for five digs, giving up three hits for eight strikeouts.
After West Torrens rested Borlace in the sixth frame, Port made a comeback, scoring six runs, Mark Gruetner's three-run dinger the big hit.
Although neither side can make the play-offs, both Kensington and Sturt played first class baseball, with the Cardinals coming from behind to win 6-5.
Sturt led 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh frame, with Nick Duncan's two-run double tying the scores, and then Leigh Chenoweth's double scoring Duncan for the match winner. Leigh Norman was the winning pitcher.
Southern Districts cruised to an 11-6 victory over Woodville, with an eight run third inning breaking the game open, Jason Scarabotti's two-run dinger the highlight.
Three pitchers steered the Hawks to victory. Leigh Neuage started and threw three digs for two hits and four K2's, Dylon Martin had the same stats for the win, while Adam Widdison threw the game's final three frames for six hit and five strike outs.
Todd Wirringa came on in the third innings for Woodville, and stemmed the flow of runs, only giving up two tallies in the game's final six frames.
Troy Cook picked up five hits for South, and Phil Hirschausen collected four for the Senators.
Adelaide's Taj Merrill and Henley & Grange's Russell Dixon locked horns in a pitchers' duel, with the Angels pulling away late for a 3-1 victory.
Ryan Simunsen drove in runs in the sixth and eighth innings to give Adelaide a 2-0 lead, while Matt Pace laid down a squeeze bunt in the ninth dig for another tally. David Forbes walked and scored on a wild throw in the bottom of the ninth to put the Rams on the scoreboard.
Merrill pitched nine innings for seven hits, two walks and 14 strikeouts, while Dixon lasted seven frames for five hits, 10 K2's and only one run.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Glenelg had control of its game against Goodwood for eight innings, but still lost when Scott Pratt hit a grand slam home run in the final inning.
A four run third-inning, when Dale Ziersch hit a two-run double and Ben Dixon connected for a two-run dinger, had the Tigers leading 5-0, and with another tally in the fifth frame, looking likely winners.
But a pair of runs in the sixth dig and a single tally in the eighth from the Indians reduced the margin to three. With two out in the ninth frame, Goodwood had loaded bases. Matt Dunn walked to score one run, and then Scott Pratt hit his match-winning dinger.
The Tribe used a merry-go-round of five pitchers, John Challinor picking up the win with one inning of work, striking two batters out. Ben Heagarty came onto the hill in the ninth frame and was the loser.
RESULTS: Sunday February 23 - East Torrens 7 d Northern Districts 3, Kensington 6 d Sturt 5, West Torrens 13 d Port Adelaide 9, Southern Districts 11 d Woodville 6, Adelaide 3 d Henley & Grange 1, Goodwood 8 d Glenelg 6.
PREMIERSHIP TABLE (Up until games of February 23): Glenelg 50, West Torrens 49, Goodwood 41, Adelaide 39, Southern Districts 36, East Torrens 36, Port Adelaide 26, Henley & Grange 26, Kensington 24, Sturt 21, Woodville 14, Northern Districts 8.
WHAT'S THE PITCH? (Did you know?): This season's top six teams are the same as last season's, the first time that has happened since the top six was instigated.
UP AT BAT (Question of the week): What was the finishing order of last season's top six sides before the finals began?
Last week's answer - Goodwood, Adelaide, Glenelg, Port Adelaide, West Torrens, East Torrens, Kensington and Sturt are the clubs still in existence from the commencement of District Baseball in 1931.
SCORING POSITION (Gossip around the league): The division 2 finals are hotting up, with under dogs Golden Grove Central Districts and East Torrens knocking Glenelg and Southern Districts out.
West Torrens defeated Port Adelaide to take top rating. This week GGCD will play Port and West and East Torrens will playoff for a spot in the grand final.
The Dodgers won their first A grade final by defeating Glenelg, thanks to a three-run ninth inning. Dion Mason hit a RBI double, then two out RBI hits from Shaun Moses and Jeremy Cresswell tied and then won the game.
Bodie Williams pitched eight strong innings for the win, while Brandon Diplock closed the game with a solid four-up three-down last stanza. Dion Mason collected three hits and Diplock blasted a home run.
The "Peter Shearer" 2003 Ca pps Medal Dinner will be held on Tuesday, March 25, in the Glenelg Function Centre (Glenelg Football Club) at 7pm. Costs are $35 per person.
Port Adelaide's under 14 division 2 side had its unblemished record broken on Sunday when Henley & Grange triumphed 5-4, which opens up that grade's premiership favouritism.
CRYSTAL BALL (This week's predictions):
Sunday March 2, from 3.30pm - WEST TORRENS v Henley & Grange, SOUTHERN DISTRICTS v Port Adelaide,GOODWOOD v Woodville, Northern Districts v GLENELG, Sturt v EAST TORRENS, ADELAIDE v Kensington. (Home team named first, likely winners in capitals.)
GOING ... GOING ... GONE:
Home run of the week - Scott Pratt had a memorable moment three years ago when his beloved Goodwood won its first premiership in over 40 years, and last Sunday added another highlight to his career with a grand slam home run in the ninth inning to guide the Indians to a 8-6 victory over Glenelg.
Leaders - Craig Watts (St) 10, Tom Brice (St) 9, Mark Van Pelt (WT) 9.
Team - Sturt 30, West Torrens 29, Glenelg 23.