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Thrilling Finish to Great Ball Game

04/22/2011, 9:30pm BST
By K.T. Francis

Brentwood Stags entered their 3rd decade of baseball at Clements Park, Warley with a revamped team looking determined and slick – despite some players not being available due to holidays and injuries the Stags fielded a very competent team.

Match Report 17.04.2011 Brentwood Stags vs Essex Redbacks II

Visitors Essex Redbacks II were welcomed to Brentwood and showed good solid hitting to establish an early lead over the Stags.  With a quick fire start and 2 runs on the board, Brentwood’s reply was delayed until the 2nd inning, which saw them take the lead notching up 3 runs by base stealing and getting into scoring positions relentlessly. The Stags were led over the plate with their first run by J.C. Barralis leading the way.  The hitting by the Stags was consistent but seemingly matched by Redbacks fielding with Messrs. F. Miekle and S.Rounce turning a well executed double play from 2nd base to 1stattaining 2 outs with 2 throws.  At this point the visitors grew in confidence and subsequently extended their score to 4 – 3 by the 3rdinning, leaving the Stags with much to do. However, it was the visitors again who held their own and extended their lead with the very competent pitching from A..Mandalia pinning together the visitors assault on Brentwood.

Some minor errors slowed down the Stags who were patiently trying to show resistance and until Brentwood’s own double play by Jesus.Zurita, Brentwood’s short stop, who showed a “snap catch” and a “base tag” to turn the confidence Brentwood’s way. The Stags now had the ascendancy and clawed their way back patiently, methodically and intently to trail by only 2 runs, 7–5 going into the 7th inning. Now there was truly a hard ball game being played out intently.  The Stags pushed on again with the bat and made the ball game a 7-6 affair.  Just 1 run behind by the 8th and penultimate inning. Brentwood’s good work in coming back from 7-3 to 7-6 was held together and underpinned by the battery (pitcher & catcher) team of Ollie Millett and Brian Kulasena whose pitching was seemingly getting stronger as the game went on.  The other contributing factors were Brentwood’s Rookies: Kevin Benning, James Talbot, Ross and Adam Cook who all played a special role in the comeback and the youngest player, Marcus Brewerton, who executed an excellent tag out on the Redbacks lead runner stealing 3rd base, with an almost telepathic play between himself and Stag’s catcher Ollie Millett snuffing out any threat from the Redbacks stealing 3rd base.  The quality of baseball by both teams was that of the type that coaches and connoisseurs of the game admire the most, slick, incisive and well practised baseball.  At their last at bat the visitors smashed another run on the scoreboard to show they had more left but it proved later not to be enough as their 8-6 lead looked fragile now.  Redback’s catcher B.Taylor took the full force of the Stags base running with two home plate clashes with Millett and then by Kulasena as the pair romped home from 3rd base leaving Taylor dazed after the collisions which resembled that more akin to top level Rugby or Grid Iron.  The clash was such that the game stopped for a period of minutes until Taylor received attention and was able to continue.  Brentwood Stags levelled the score very quickly from their actions, realizing that the game was theirs for the taking. 

Brentwood Stags needed 3 runs to win going into their last at bat and Coach Tom Keegan’s input at this stage proved to do the trick as the players responded.  One of the highlights of the Stag’s hitting display was Brian Kulasena’s hit for the Stags deep and long into the outfield which many feel was the spark that Stags needed just at the right time. They methodically levelled the score to 8-8. Now only 1 run was needed to win and the 1st Stags player crossing the plate would win the match.  The fate of the game was in their hands!  The Stags obliged and hit straight past the 3rd base for the runner at 3rd to romp home.... but no, the umpire was approached by the Redback’s manager whose technical appeal that the hit ball was deemed to bounce marginally out of play was upheld.  The Stags were now left with the dilemma of re-winning the game.  Now 8-8, no outs and bases loaded, with Jon Houston at bat it was “no problem” - he waited it out.  The relief pitcher, now S. Rounce, threw a tired pitch into the dirt which the visitors catcher B. Taylor couldn’t stop.  The ball flew into “no-mans land” and Rookie Jim Talbot at 3rd seized the opportunity as Stag’s 3rd base coach Adam Cook sent him over the plate to win the enthralling nail biter 8–9 to Stags, with “a walk off the park” victory.

Tag(s): Brentwood Stags  London Mets