Division Three Grand Final, 2005-6 Season
Springvale 5 defeated Port Melbourne 2
Having defeated Port Melbourne in the final game of the home and away season, and then again in the first semi-final, Springvale knew what to expect when we lined up against Port again in the
The opening innings were tight. Ben Gaylard held the Port hitters well, the first base-runner coming in the second innings with a walk to Michael Crooks, before Gaylard put the ball past Ashley Meyers
for a third strike, with Novotny throwing up to 1 st base for the out. Springvale were retired in order in the first inning, Ben Bartlett usually prolific in on bases striking out, as well as power hitter Robert Hogan. In the second though, Russell Anderton reached first on an error from Port’s shortstop Chris Macey, and Gaylard followed that up with a single. But when Novotny hit back up to the pitcher a
double play snuffed out the inning. Gaylard continued strongly. Macey singled from one down, and Gaylard walked Ian McGowan, but a neat double play through 1 st baseman Russell Anderton to shortstop Myles Barnden and back again ensured the nil-all score-line was maintained. Again, in the fourth, Barnden was involved in an
inning- ending double play, this time through Matthew Hayle at 2 nd.
In the fifth, though, Gaylard gave up too many walks to bring his fielders into play, opening with a walk to lead-off David Simpson, who was then bunted round by Meyers. Gaylard induced an infield
pop-up, and with two down looked to be safely through the innings, but two walks and a HPB put the first, and go-ahead, run across the plate, before Matthew Pallant relieved Gaylard, throwing one
pitch for an outfield fly ball.
Port did not hold the lead for long, though. While Gaylard was out on a ground ball for the lead-off, Rob Novotny’s long triple at right-field gave Springvale its best chance to score. Hayle picked a walk,
and then Matthew Greene’s sacrifice fly saw scores levelled before Bartlett was out, and the balance of tension in the game had been not just restored but amplified.
Port’s Mick Alldis led off with a hit in the sixth, and, again, Port bunted effectively, with Crooks advancing Alldis. Two groundballs saw Alldis stranded though. But Springvale could only add a lonely
hit in the bottom of the frame. Pallant started the seventh strongly, with a strike-out, but then gave up two walks. Port’s Ben Burke singled to load the bases, before Pallant, too, was relieved. Robert
Hogan came to the mound with bases loaded and only one down, but three pitches later had struck out number three batter Wade Closter, and then inveigled the number four batter to pop up to the
infield. Springvale, though, could not manage a base-runner over the sixth and seventh inning, while Port continued to burn through their chances, Crooks leading off with a single in the seventh, and a
further walk in the inning wasted when Port failed to convert.
Springvale had defeated Port twice in previous weeks, but it looked as if this grand final might go into extra innings. Then it looked as if Port had won the championship. Then they hadn’t.
Hogan opened the top of the ninth with a walk. Yet again, Port bunted cleverly and effectively up the 3 rd base-line to Kelly Manzie, who made the out at 1 st , but was unable to prevent Port’s McGowan from advancing to a scoring position. Hogan could not suppress Closter this time, and his single scored the grand final go-ahead run. Another inning-ending double-play, Springvale’s third for the game, limited the damage, but we still went into the bottom of the ninth needing to score at least a run to extend the game and justify our position as favourites. Springvale had had only four hits off Port’s Mick Alldiss, but he was nearing a hundred pitches. How far could he go? Could he carry Port to an unlikely victory?
There was a tense and buzzing din from both banks of spectators, but the underdogs were snapping loudly when lead-off Hogan was struck out. With an upset loss looming, and the championship
looking out of reach, Barnden doubled, and the tying run was at second. Russell Anderton then hit a single to centre-field, too short to allow Barnden to score. Port’s catcher allowed Anderton 2 nd base, and then pinch-hitter Andrew Peulan was intentionally walked, the battery putting faith in the fielders to get the double-play done. Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, the championship-winning run at 2 nd . Rob Novotny coolly let two balls through and watched over a first strike, then lifted the ball over left-field’s head for a pennant-winning hit. This victory was the centrepiece of Springvale’s “three-peat” years.
Ben Bartlett – centre-field
Mark Anderton – right-field
Robert Hogan – 3 rd base
Myles Barnden – shortstop
Russell Anderton – 1 st base
Ben Gaylard – pitcher
Rob Novotny – catcher
Matthew Hayle – 2 nd base
Matthew Greene – left-field
Subbed into the game:
Matthew Pallant – relieving pitcher