Wayback Whensday – Cheltenham

9/1/16 – Cheltenham 5 were defeated by Springvale 6
Having been promoted from Division Two Springvale was still learning how to play against Division One opponents. With just three wins before the holiday break, and staring down the traditional post-Christmas slump, Springvale travelled to Kingston Heath Reserve for the first game of the New Year.
Batting first, and facing a young Lachlan Madden, Springvale scored early when the lead-off batter for the game, coach Scott Wearne reached first on an error from 1st baseman Brett Curnow. Always competitive on the bases, Wearne stole 2nd , unsettling Madden who balked to advance Wearne to 3rd . While Glenn Mascoll popped up foul in the infield, import Freddy Flores doubled to right-field, allowing the unearned run to score, and Springvale took the early lead. Madden came back hard, and ended the inning striking out Glen Richards.
With Scott Baillie on the mound, Cheltenham could not manage a base-runner in the opening two innings. Springvale had chances. Madden had been relieved after one inning, and Matthew Hayle’s running bunt off Jack Enciondo took the Cheltenham infield by surprise, earning him a safe hit to 3rd, with another balk putting Hayle in a scoring position. But three outs followed. In the third inning, from one down, two walks gave Springvale a chance, but a double play through shortstop George Cahill choked that off.
This gave Cheltenham an in. Baillie gave up only five hits in his seven innings, but three of them were in the third innings, and so Cheltenham were able to tie the game, but a difficult flyball from Matthew Hayle left bases loaded, so the damage was limited. And Springvale had another unearned run in the next dig. First up, Richards had struck out again, but Matthew Hayle’s surprising speed had induced a wild throw from shortstop George Cahill. Scott Baillie helped himself out with a hit. There was a third balk for the game, meaning Hayle could then score on Tim Hanson’s ground-ball.
So Springvale had two unearned runs to Cheltenham’s one earned. Baillie continued his impressive performance, allowing no baserunners over the next three innings. Meanwhile, Springvale had put a further run into the lead when Scott Wearne opened up the fifth with a solo home-run from the first pitch of the inning. Glenn Mascoll followed with a hit, Flores walked, and Lucas Price had his first hit for the night. Enciondo was replaced by Kane Hogben, with immediate effect; it was Glen Richards’ turn – his third strike-out slowed the momentum, and no further runs were added from such a promising start.
Springvale did score again in the seventh, with hits to Mascoll and Flores giving Price the opportunity, in a close game, to bun. Richards was the second out – yes, another K. But Hayle hit truly, and both runners were able to cross the plate.
There were signs of trouble for Baillie in the seventh – he gave up his second walk and his fourth hit to successive batters. But three fly-balls to left-field Tim Hanson saw the lead protected. Springvale failed to take advantage of another infield error in the eighth, with a young Lucas Anderson hitting into a double. Cheltenham was more ruthless. Dylan Trevorah opened with an infield hit, before a pop-up to Price at 1st was recorded as the first out. Unfortunately, Richards, having not one of his very many fine games for Springvale, dropped a fly-ball at centre-field on the next batter. With 2nd and 3rd occupied, and one down, Baillie walked Hogben to load the bases. An error off his own pitching put another run over the plate, Cheltenham inching closer, before Flores came on pitch. He struck out Cheltenham’s Sam Michael for the second out. But another muffed fly – this time in the infield – saw a further two runs come in, and Cheltenham were only one run behind.
By the end of the ninth, Cheltenham tied the game. Flores and Price had opened the ninth with two hits. Richards followed, and filled his card of strike-outs for the game, with his fifth K2. The inning whimpered out, but Springvale had only to shut out Cheltenham for the win. Trevorah opened the bottom of the ninth with a single – not too concerning. But Cahill followed with a double, putting the lead runner on 3rd . Flores walked the next batter to load the bases. And then, agonising, he walked the next batter, giving Cheltenham the tying run. He struck out Curnow the second out, and Cheltenham did not score again, sending the game into extra innings.
With the game tied, and tension high, teenager Mackenna Hura came in to bat lead-off. He hit a single, but was out at 2nd on the next groundball. Wearne flied out for two outs. A wild pitch from Cheltenham’s Adam Blackley put the go-ahead run at 2nd , but with two outs, would Springvale be able to convert? Mascoll’s third hit, a single, saw Anderson streaking round the bases, giving Springvale the narrowest lead. Again, Flores had his chance to win the game. This time, he had two outs for two batters, before wild throw from hero Glenn Mascoll gifted Cheltenham a chance, with Trevorah, who had three hits already up to bat. Trevorah did the expected and hit, but the runner could not get past 2nd, and then Flores took the game for Springvale with a final strike-out.
Scott Wearne – Catcher
Glenn Mascoll – Shortstop
Freddy Flores – 3rd base
Lucas Price – 1st base
Glen Richards – Centre-field
Matthew Hayle – 2nd base
Scott Baillie – Pitcher
Tim Hanson – Left-field
Lucas Anderson – Right-field