Sydney University Baseball Club still has three teams alive for titles in the Sydney Winter Baseball League after the semi-finals at the weekend.
First Grade moved through to a grand final berth with a tight 5-4 win over minor premiers Marrickville in their major semi-final, while Second and Third grades will have to win their finals matches on Sunday to earn grand final spots.
Second Grade lost their major semi-final 8-4 to Marrickville and will meet Petersham in the final, while Thirds, the defending premiers, defeated Petersham on forfeit in their minor semi-final to earn a final encounter with Pirates on Sunday morning at Petersham Oval.
The First Grade encounter was a tense affair – a close and even contest throughout. The standard was high and neither team could close it out in nine completed innings when the score was 3-3.
It was the same after the 10th, then the 11th, and the 12th, though Marrickville had men on bases in the 12th.
The Marrickville relief pitcher, a hard throwing left-hander, with significant experience, gave up three hits in the 13th for University to load the bases and a fourth hit, a drive to right-centre field scored two. University 5-3.
Marrickville batted in the bottom of the 13th, put a man on with a walk, and with two down a strong double to left field scored a run. University led by one.
Two long flies were well run down and caught by University’s centre field and after four hours the Cynics had won 5-4 one of the longest Winter League games.
Second Grade were minor premiers but struck out in their major semi-final on Sunday. They didn’t play with their usual authority and struggled to capitalise on some scoring chances, especially in the seventh innings when bases were loaded with none out. Their final will be played at Petersham Oval, starting at 9am on Sunday.
Thirds hit the ball consistently to keep Petersham under pressure and scored at regular intervals to take a 10-2 lead into the 8th inning of the regulation game. At the top of the eighth, University put two runners on and Petersham, who had used their three pitchers, threw in the towel. Game was called! Most had never seen this before.
Sydney Winter Baseball League – Semi-finals
First Grade (Major semi-final): Sydney University 5 d Marrickville 4 at Petersham Oval. Sydney University through to the grand final on September 1 against the winner of the final between Marrickville and Petersham.
Second Grade: Marrickville 8 d Sydney University 4. Marrickville through to the grand final on September 1 against the winner of the final between Sydney University and Petersham.
Third Grade: Sydney University d Petersham on forfeit after leading 10-2 in the eighth inning. Sydney University through to final against Pirates with the winner to meet UNSW in the grand final.