WARRIORS are Tamworth Baseball’s champs once again after breaking Cougars’ hold on the premiership with a three-run win at the Field of Dreams on Saturday.
Cougars had won the last two and Warriors the eight before that, and converted a three-run first innings lead into a 7-4 triumph to reclaim the silverware and complete an undefeated season.
“It would have been pretty hard to take had we lost the last game of the year,” Warriors coach Mick Martin said.
But they didn’t thanks to a three-run fifth innings.
It was tense though.
“We got three runs in the first innings then we went to sleep a bit and they got it back to 4-all,” Martin said. “Then we got three runs in one innings.”
Neither side was able to score after that.
Cougars came the closest and a couple of times had loaded bases but they couldn’t make it count.
They out-hit Warriors making double the hits with 14.
Two of those came at the start of their last innings and at one stage they had three runners out there.
But the next two batsmen struck out and it was game over.
“Our fielding was very good,” Martin said.
It’s been their strength all through the season and came to the fore again.
“Joey (Holt) was very good at third base and Jake (Forsyth) was good at short stop,” he said.
That was probably one of the differences between the two sides with Cougars making a few errors in the field, which Warriors then capitalised on.
“That innings where we got three runs, Jake hit into a double play, and I hit into a double play and they errored both,” Martin said.
He said Jeff Chandler was also good for them from the pitcher’s mound.
“He shut them down,” he said.
He threw the better part of three innings before Martin brought Forsyth on for the last to close the game out, which he did.
Kris Bird pitched all eight innings for Cougars and did a great job with Warriors struggling to score off him.
Nathan Handsaker and Robert Chandler were their best with the bat with Handsaker hitting two singles and a double, and Chandler two singles.
“Most of our runs came from the bottom of the order,” Martin said. “We only had one run in our top four.”
The key was they got their runs in bundles.
Cougars were ruing what could have been with their errors costing them badly.
“They really took advantage of our errors,” Cougars’ Andrew Ferris said.
“We didn’t shut them out the way we should have.”
The fifth innings was the one that really hurt them after at the top, scoring two to get it back to 4-all.
Other than that innings and the first they were pretty tidy.
“Kris Bird threw unbelievably,” Ferris said. “It was a great effort from the guys, especially the hitting.”
Their failure to turn that into scores also hurt them.
“Twice we had loaded bases and left guys out there,” Ferris said.
“The number of runners we left out on bases cost us a few times.”
Trent Ashen with three hits and Bird with three singles were good.
Billy Constable also hit well, he said.
The first grade result was a reversal of second grade with Cougars Cavaliers getting up 5-4 over Warriors White in that.