RAINBOW Warriors upset the senior Warriors to win Saturday’s Tamworth first grade baseball grand final on John Carter Diamond at the Field of Dreams thanks to a pinpoint pitching display from skipper Robert Chandler.
The 41-year-old arborealist threw an amazing 90 strikes in his nine inning-121 pitch performance for the young Warriors in their 3-1 victory.
He formed the side earlier this year from Warriors club to ensure there would be four first grade sides and on Saturday he was able to reap the rewards for his hard work.
He was also named the first grade grand final MVP as he celebrated his 18th grand final success with the Blues since he began in 1988.
Ironically John Warren, who pitched for the senior Warriors side in its 1987 first grade win, also pitched another strong eight innings for the senior Warriors.
He was also named the MVP for the season.
Warren threw 68 strikes in his 97 pitches and received plenty of accolades from his coach and captain, Mick Martin.
“They (Rainbow Warriors) deserved it. They trained a lot more than we did,” Martin said.
“They trained twice a week whereas we’d have a hit every other Friday.
“We hit the ball hard today but, unfortunately, straight to them and they did pull out a few from behind their backs but they were just too good for us.
“Johnny pitched well enough to win any number of games for us.
“The way he pitched we should have won but Robert threw pretty well too.”
While Warren pitched well, Martin also came up with three hits.
“Our biggest problem was we had runners in scoring position but couldn’t score, couldn’t convert our opportunities,” Martin said.
Chandler deflected the accolades and thought the lower order of the Rainbow Warriors, led by Sam Holt, helped win Saturday’s grand final.
“Sam had a couple of hits. When the lower order hits, it helps you win big games,” Chandler said.
Mitch Holt also had two safe hits as every Rainbow Warrior recorded a hit.
Chandler thought the young players “played back a bit early” but gained confidence as the game progressed.
His pitching also improved.
After five innings he had struck just one senior Warrior out.
In the next four he struck out eight as he finished with nine K2’s in all.
“I just got luckier than Johnny,” he said of his pitching opponent who came up with four strikeouts in the game.
While Chandler won the grand final MVP, and Warren the season MVP, young Warrior Will Burke received the season MVP for second grade.
Cougars Cavalier starting pitcher Nathan Smith received the grand final MVP for his performance against Warriors in their 11-10 triumph.