Baseball: Warriors make it five in a row

Warriors: Warriors with their spoils from grand final day after winning both the first and second grade premierships. Their Seconds edged out Armidale Orange in a thriller before the first grade side beat Cougars by nine runs.

Warriors: Warriors with their spoils from grand final day after winning both the first and second grade premierships. Their Seconds edged out Armidale Orange in a thriller before the first grade side beat Cougars by nine runs.

Warriors hit their way to a fifth straight Tamworth Baseball first grade premiership at the Field of Dreams on Saturday.

A blistering start paved the way for the defending champions as they accounted for long time rivals Cougars 12-3.

The second innings was where it was essentially won with Mark Gallaher, Ryan Handsaker, Robert Chandler, Mick Martin and Mitch Holt getting home to give them a 6-nil lead.

“We were just lucky to get a few lucky runs. A couple of hits fell in between the infield and outfield,” Warriors coach Chris Dyson said. 

They added another run in the fourth innings, and two in the fifth off a high hit to the outfield from Andres Bello that fell between two Cougars fielders to make it 9-nil.

All the while Cougars struggled to make a hit.

“Johnny (Warren) made it pretty hard for them. To throw nine innings for three runs is a great effort. Until the fifth innings they hadn’t had a hit against him,” Dyson said.

Cougars finally got on the board in the sixth innings, Kris Bird hitting two home. But Warriors hit back with Robert Chandler sneaking home on a missfield on first base.

That was one of the telling things, with Warriors able to pick up runs when they needed to to keep Cougars at bay.

It was double delight for Warriors with their second graders edging out Armidale Black 8-7 in what was a titanic battle. The game went over the two hour allocation after scores were locked at 7-all at the bottom of the sixth innings. 

Nathan Ardill and Brad Redshaw combined to break the deadlock, with Ardill smacking the ball to the left outfield to bring Redshaw home.

Dyson said watching that gave them a lot of confidence, and spurred them on.

They did suffer a set-back with Ryan Handsaker injuring his shoulder and getting taken up to hospital. Backing up from second grade Dave Ardill came in for him and was one of nine batsmen to register a hit.

Holt topped the list with three singles and a double, while Dyson hit two singles and a double, Martin three singles, Chandler two singles, Bello and Gallaher a single and double each and Warren a double.

Cougars assistant coach Andrew Ferris said some fielding errors certainly didn’t help them, but thought they were a bit unlucky.

“A lot of things didn’t go our way unfortunately,” he said.

That wasn’t to take anything away from Warriors.

“The biggest thing was they got runs early and after that we struggled to get back into the game,” he said.

“Full credit to Johnny, he pitched well.”

He was still pretty happy with everyone’s effort, particularly Bird, who pitched six innings and had two hits. Richie Bullock and Josh Daley also hit well.

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