Sharks put bite on Workers
BALLINA Sharks put teams on notice as they blasted their way into the grand final of the Division 1 competition of the Far North Coast Softball Association on Saturday.
In wet and heavy ground conditions, Sharks had a point to prove after last weekend's loss to Lismore Workers Condors and they came out firing from the first pitch of the game.
Sent into bat, Michelle Lucas reached first base, hitting the ball just wide
of Workers shortstop
The next two batters were sent back to the bench with a catch to leftfielder Courtney Connell and a strike out by pitcher Tina Austen.
Karen Evans reached first on an error and a safe hit to centerfield by Nicole Bruce had Lucas score before Lachlan Zimmermann ran down the ball for a catch off the bat of Danica Sattler for the third out.
Lucas continues to dominate this division from the pitcher's plate and this game was no different when she struck out lead-off batter Shay Kelly.
Zimmermann scrambled to first on error, but Lucas struck again, striking out Austen, while Coe was thrown out at first by Claire Evans.
Ballina continued to apply the pressure with the bat in the second dig with hits to Johanna Presgrave, Lucas and a nicely place bunt from Holly Cameron, which had their lead blow out to 5-0.
Again, Lucas caused havoc with Workers batters, racking up a further two strike-outs.
Both teams kept each other scoreless in the third and fourth innings with a superb catch having the ball flying away from Zimmer- mann in the outfield off the bat of Lucas.
There were two catches to Connell and a catch to Bronwyn Gibson at rightfield for Workers, and Karen Evans starred for Ballina with a catch and three assists and a catch to Sattler at second base.
Workers managed to get runners on base with Kelly hitting safely on two occasions and safe hits to Kayleen Shailes, Deidre and Mikayla Coe, but could not convert them into runs.
Sharks wrapped up the game in the fifth, scoring a further five runs and outclassing Condors, 10-0.
Highlights of the game included five catches to Connell at leftfield for Workers and Lucas lasting five innings, allowing five hits and zero runs while striking out five and walking zero.
Tina Austen took the loss for Workers. She allowed 12 hits and ten runs over five innings, striking out one.
In other games, Rous Hotel Rangers advanced to next week's final against Lismore Workers Condors after narrowly defeating Byron Bay Whitesox 7-5.
In a tightly contested game, pitchers Loris Gordon (Rous) and Shannon Knapp (Byron) were merciless on the mound, making their opposition batters earn their runs.
Byron were within striking distance throughout the game with Laura Knight at centerfield taking numerous catches frustrating Rous' batters and together with the hard-hitting efforts of Terry Curry and Tracey Johnson this was anyone's game to take.
Amy Gordon and Cheryl Nilon finally found the gaps in the outfield for Rous to get on base, then Loris Gordon hit a stand up double to score two runs and give them the win.
Jakira Toniello was solild at centerfield replacing injured Sue Clark.
Rous Hotel Warriors marched into the grand final of the Division 2 competition by defeating Casino Dodgers 6- 2.
Rous were first to score runs when Jakira Toniello scored off the bat of Libby Cramp.
Esther Denning pitched a great game for Rous and her counterpart Casino Dodgers Chris Rose was equally impressive staying on track throughout the game.
The strength on Sandy Thompson at thirdbase, Tanya Harris-Bateman at secondbase and the safe hands of Cramp on firstbase formed a formidable combination for the Rous team.
The brother-sister duo of Lachlan and Mikayla Coe took some great catches in the outfield while mother Deidre was solid at shortstop for the Casino/Dodgers.
Best with the bat were Toniello, Cramp and Betty McPaul, while Kayleen Shailes, Belinda Stratford consistently made base for the combined side.
A tight tussle was going on between Lismore Workers Wild Turkeys and Goonellabah Gunnas to see who would be playing in next week's final against Casino Dodgers.
Workers got off to a great start keeping Gunnas scoreless in the first innings with catches to Nikki Ribbon at leftfield and Carmen Thomas at shortstop, followed by hard hitting from Lauren Forrester with a two bagger and singles to Gaynor Palmer, Ribbon and Lyn McDonald saw Turkeys score two handy runs.
Both teams remained scoreless in the second with Goonellabah's shortstop Jodie Foster leading her side with two outs.
Gunnas stepped up their attacked in the third scoring three runs with Foster slamming a three-base hit and a single from Suellen Pursche saw them jump to a 3-2 lead.
From here the game seesawed innings by innings with brilliant catchers from Zac Poulton and Jamilla Pursche in the outfield and Trish Claydon at thirdbase for Gunnas, while tight fielding from Workers Lyn McDonald on the mound, Palmer from behind the plate and Whitney at leftfield stopped either side from running away with the game.
At the bottom of the fifth Workers had a 7-6 lead and with Gunnas now attacking the ball it was a sizzling ball of the bat of Suellen Pursche that was racing away, only to have Whitney pull it in for the catch and throwing a wild ball via Erin Rucker at secondbase, saw her throwing to Forrester at firstbase who caught Jamilla Pursche off base for the third out.
Goonellabah now were in front by 8-7, however Turkeys managed to get the upper hand and run out winners by 10-8.
Division 3 saw Ballina Hammerheads advane to the grand final with an impressive 8-2 win over the young Rous Hotel Rascal side.
Lismore Worker Mighty Ducks get to play again next week when they take on Rascals in the final with an inspiring 13-3 win over Rous Hotel Rogues.