Armidale beat Warriors to move through to A Grade grand final

OUT OF THE PARK: Warriors Nathan Handsaker looks to go big. Photo: Peter Hardin

OUT OF THE PARK: Warriors Nathan Handsaker looks to go big. Photo: Peter Hardin

A GRADE

In a classic first versus second finals match, Armidale came from 2-0 down in the first inning and from 3-2 down in the sixth to rally for a big five-run seventh inning before holding off a fast finishing Warriors to take out a 8-6 win.

Mick Alldis (6 innings; 114 pitches; 9 hits; 6 Ks; 2 walks) and Josh Shaw (2 innings; 49 pitches; 5 hits; 3 Ks; 1 walk) shared the pitching duties for the Outlaws and despite being outhit on the day, they grouped their hits when it mattered most and surged into their first ever A Grade grand final in two weekends time.

Jake Forsythe was the big threat looming for the Warriors, throwing all seven innings in a huge 120-pitch effort (10 hits; 6 Ks; 3 walks) while also picking up three hits at the plate.

Nathan Handsaker, Andy Bello, Chris Dyson and John Warren also picked up two hits apiece for the day. For the Outlaws, Brad Smith (2 hits/3 RBI), Mick Alldis (2 hits/ 2 RBI) and Masa Suzuki (2 hits) were the pick of the bunch.

The Cougars secured a convincing 18-1 victory over Gunnedah in their match.

All nine starters for the Cougars recorded a hit with Brock Ridgewell, picking up five singles, being the standout for the day. Hurn (three singles and a double), Edgecock (three singles), Bird (two singles and a double) and Ben Ridgewell (three singles) all contributed to overwhelm the Giants and proceed to the next round.

B  GRADE

Armidale was overtaken late in the game by the Cavaliers who took out an 8-5 win. Jeremy Bird threw a well controlled four innings but the Outlaws couldn't capitalise on their runners left on base and in the end didn't have the firepower to score off of crafty Cavs closer Brian Hopton who stifled any hint of a comeback.

His four innings (70 pitches; 4 hits; 5 Ks and 2 runs) along with his two hits were telling for the Cavs. Coen Hopwood-Young broke the game over with a line shot double to the left field fence that saw the Cavs take the lead and they never surrendered it.

Gavin Austin and Michael Bridge (two hits each) were also good contributors with the bat. The Outlaws now fight on with the Warriors for a chance to play in the grand final while the Cavs have the rest.

In the other match, Warriors defeated Gunnedah.

Finals week two draw on September 16 (first named team is home and occupy third base dugout)

B Grade (12.15pm start): Armidale v Warriors  (winner will play Cavaliers in the GF)

A Grade (2.40pm start): Warriors v Cougars (winner will play Armidale in the GF)