With the first game of the season in the books and the first match reports up here is a look back…..
November 10, 1991
Springvale 4 defeated Malvern 3
Springvale had started the 1991/92 Division One season with a string of losses, with only one win from eight games, when the team travelled to Malvern to take on the Braves. This game, too, started
with a whimper, when Springvale’s lead-off Michael Firth struck out, and Malvern’s Tim O’Meara recorded another strike-out for the inning.
US import, John Ludy took the mound for Springvale. Ludy came from Boyerstown, Pennsylvania. He had spent some time with the Milwaukee Brewers, making it as high as Triple A before a car accident cruelled his chances. He had played in an Italian league before making his way to the Lions. His only win for the season had come in a night game; having given up four earned runs in the first three innings, Ludy’s win came on the back of a five-hit, five-run final inning from the Lions’ bats.
In this game, he, too, opened his account with a strike-out, but was lucky to give up only the one run when this was followed by three walks, a double to David Buckthorpe, and a sacrifice. Springvale was in familiar territory, down early and struggling to score. Ludy, though, had steadied. With Michael Firth scooping up groundballs at second, and some strike-outs of his own, Ludy stifled the scoring. And then, in the top of the third inning, Springvale seized the lead. Firth atoned for his first at bat with a lead-off double over centre-field’s head, and catcher Mark Anderton advanced him to 3rd with a single. Young was able to sacrifice to level the scores, and then Peter Higgins singled for Anderton to score and give Springvale the lead. Occupied with Michael Wearne’s safe bunt up the third base-line, the Malvern infield allowed Higgins two bases, and it was an easy matter for 3 rd base-man Peter Marcakis to hit the second sacrifice fly of the inning.
Springvale could not score again over the next three innings, while Malvern inched closer in the fourth, frustratingly scoring a run from two down, when Andrew Harris walked, and was able to steal. A wild pitch put him at 3rd , creating the opportunity to score from Peter Bates’ single, before Ludy closed up the innings with a book-ended strike-out.
Having crept one closer in the fourth, Malvern bounded level in the fifth, again from two down. With a towering home run over the centre-field fence, Scott Neiles had the home crowd cheering.
The game continued level over the sixth, with Robert Hogan, Rick Steele and John Ludy all grounding out to shortstop. Malvern had a base-runner to lead off, with Hogan unable to take the ball on a
throw-over from Marcakis, but his error was cost-free when, after a foul fly to catcher Mark Anderton, poor base-running on a short flyball led to an innings-ending double play.
In the seventh, it was Springvale which scored from two down, Ashley Young picking a walk and Peter Higgins’ triple scoring what proved to be the winning run. From then on, it was a grim battle to
hang on for a much-needed win. Malvern had a chance to take the game further in the last, when Andrew Harris opened with an infield hit, and was advanced on a bunt up to the pitcher. Ludy put the ball past Alan Heyward for the tenth of his strike-outs before giving up another walk. With Harris at 2nd , and a pinch runner on at 1 st as the go-ahead run, Ludy came back from the four straight balls
he had thrown to induce a pop-up with his next pitch, and Springvale had its second win for the season.
Ludy had thrown 142 pitches, for seven hits, three earned runs and ten strike-outs. Peter Higgins was the outstanding batter with his two hits from four at bats, and two RBIs, including the match-winner, while Michael Firth also had two from four.
Michael Firth – 2 nd base
Mark Anderton – Catcher
Ashley Young – Shortstop
Peter Higgins – Right-field
Michael Wearne – Centre-field
Peter Marcakis – 3 rd base
Robert Hogan – 1 st base
Andrew Peulan – Left-field
John Ludy – Pitcher