By SALLY HEPPLESTON
HEATHMONT Baseball Club has made it back to back Melbourne Winter Baseball League premierships with a hard
fought 2 to 1 victory over Ringwood in the A grade grand final on Saturday.
The neighboring rivals were one win a piece from their two encounters during the season, but Heathmont were able to find premiership winning form
late in the season, which included an 11 to 1 win over Ringwood in the first week of the finals.
Played at La Trobe University in front of a huge crowd, scores were locked at nil all after two tight innings before Heathmont put two runs on the board
at the bottom of the third after a Daniel Mack single.
Ringwood were able to score off a Pete Schroeders single in the fifth innings, but that was it for the game, in what was a tight pitchers dual.
Tom Kerr-Chapman started on the mound for Heathmont and put on an outstanding pitching display before being relieved by Jon Kennedy in the eighth inning when he went off injured.
Adam Bright pitched the entire game for Ringwood and was classy again all day but wasn’t able to hold off the strong Heathmont offence.
Elated Heathmont player and president Daniel Mack said after winning the A grade premiership in 2012, their first as a club in 19 years, his club really “stepped it up a notch” this year.
“Our A reserve team won today as well and we’ve just dominated the league at the top end. As a club, you just couldn’t ask for any better,” he said.
“Last year was really a stepping stone to this and everyone has joined in – members, supporters – everyone.”
Bright praised the strong Heathmont team but said he was proud of his “homegrown boys”.
“We are all homegrown Ringwood boys and we play for the uniform and we’re proud of that,” he said.
“We just couldn’t get our bats going today, that was some really classy pitching. That’s one hell of a team out there, I think they could compete in the ABL. To go toe to toe with them today, I couldn’t have predicted that,” he said.
“Six months ago, I didn’t think we’d be one of the last two teams standing, it seemed out of our reach. It hasn’t taken us 14 players to this point, it has taken us 30 and I couldn’t be more proud,” he said.
After the match, Research pitcher Leigh McKay was again named the MVP for the league.
In the B grade grand final, Essendon got over the top of Waverley 5 to 4 and dedicated their win to Australian baseballer Chris Lane who was killed in the United States last month.