Baseball: Warriors win a thriller

Smack: Nathan Ardill scored the match-winner for Warriors as they edged out Armidale Black in a thrilling second grade grand final. Photo: Peter Hardin 170916PHC009

Smack: Nathan Ardill scored the match-winner for Warriors as they edged out Armidale Black in a thrilling second grade grand final. Photo: Peter Hardin 170916PHC009

Warriors clinched the Tamworth Baseball competition second grade premiership in thrilling fashion on Saturday.

The decider went past the allocated two hours after they and Armidale Black were locked at 7-all at the bottom of the sixth.

With two out Nathan Ardill stepped up to the plate and smacked the ball to the left outfield to bring Brad Redshaw home, and give Warriors the win 8-7.

“I think the difference in the game was we were able to come up with those clutch hits when it was really close,” Warriors’ James Ardill said.

“The innings before we had to score two in the clutch to draw level.” 

David Ardill and Claire Brown got home on that occasion.

There was nothing in it all game. It was 1-all after the first innings. Warriors got out to a 2-1 lead in the second but Armidale erased that in the third as the scores reverted to level again (4-all).

“It’s been us and them all year,” fellow Warriors life member Robert “Shaky” Handsaker said.

“We’ve been undefeated all year but there’s only been a couple in it.” 

Both sides had had a disrupted last month with wash-outs, Ardill said, and probably weren’t at the top of their game, but they “fought right to the end”.

“Not taking anything away from Armidale, we gifted them a few of their hits with our errors,” he said.

Ardill’s (Nathan) match-winning hit was his third for the game. Redshaw and James Ardill both had two apiece while most valuable played for the grand final Vali Orcher had a single and a double, and Matt Swain one hit.

Orcher was also the mvp for the season for second grade.

Armidale coach Dale Smith echoed Ardill’s thought’s that Warriors hitting was the difference.

“They out hit us ten hits to five,” Smith said.

Other than that the stats were pretty even.

“Both sides made some errors at crucial times,” he said, adding that they made a couple of “thinking errors”

“The guys were really disappointed to come so close,” he said.

Strong throw: Warriors Dave Ardill throws in this ball during Saturday's second grade grand final, which Warriors won by a run. Photo: Peter Hardin 170916PHC122

Strong throw: Warriors Dave Ardill throws in this ball during Saturday's second grade grand final, which Warriors won by a run. Photo: Peter Hardin 170916PHC122

But as Handsaker said that has been the way all season.

“They’ve just seemed to get us all year,” Smith said.

Still it was a “really wonderful effort” to make the grand final.

Only the two Bird’s – Keegan and Jeremy, who pitched the whole six innings, had played the last couple of years.

“We had two or three first year players and four or five that hadn’t played in a number of seasons – up to 20,” he said. 

Handsaker said it was great to have Armidale back in the competition.

Jason Goodwin had three hits for them with Luke Turner and Keegan Bird picking up the other two.

Out: Jason Godwin makes the play at 2nd base ahead of Warriors' Nathan Ardill during Warriors one-run grand final win on Saturday. Photo: Peter Hardin 170916PHC024

Out: Jason Godwin makes the play at 2nd base ahead of Warriors' Nathan Ardill during Warriors one-run grand final win on Saturday. Photo: Peter Hardin 170916PHC024

Pitching in:Jeremy Bird had a busy day on the mound for Armidale Black in Saturday's grand final pitching the entire game. Photo: Peter Hardin 170916PHC086

Pitching in:Jeremy Bird had a busy day on the mound for Armidale Black in Saturday's grand final pitching the entire game. Photo: Peter Hardin 170916PHC086

Armidale's Luke Turner makes it safely to base.

Armidale's Luke Turner makes it safely to base.

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