Sandringhams Winter team played their semi-final at home on Saturday 31st August against Dingley in good conditions before a nice sized crowd.
The Royals attack , much hyped by this correspondent, made good on its’ potential as we ran out 10-1 victors. Backed by a miserly defense based on the accurate and pacey pitching of David Housden and Josh Smith the Sandy hitters made scoreboard progress in 5 of our six innings.
A slightly shaky start saw the first Dingley hitter walked on four pitches followed immediately by a wonderful running bunt by Luke McKinley the Dingley catcher. What was in store for us for the rest of the day we thought. David Housden knew – as he struck out the next two then induced a pop fly which he also calmly snagged to quell the danger.
Back in his regular lead-off batter role Josh “Giraffe” Smith hit safely to centre field then easily stole both second and third to set-up our first run on Rob Anthonys’ fielders choice to second base. A good start which looked even better after the top of the second. A fly into centrefield , a great play at third base by Scott McLaughlin to beat the runner and then after a walk Dave Mo and Robbie nailed the runner at second in a team lifting moment to end the dig. The Royals added one run in the second after hits to Dave Ho and Dave Mack alongside walks to Scott ‘Sparky’ McLaughlin and Marty ‘Scooter’ Smith.
The Royals went to their array of talented pitchers and brought in the Giraffe who had been working up to this occasion over a number of bullpen sessions. Well the first pitch ‘hit the mascot’ in Bull Durham speak scaring little kiddies playing behind the net….disgraceful really. So Josh struck out the next two hitters on 8 more pitches and after a small glitch with a single to centrefield induced a fielders choice to Rob Dog at short who strolled over the bag to end the dig.
The Sandy boys put the foot down in their third with single base hits to Rob and DMack and when split by a walk to Dave Mo with Johnny ‘Mild Dog’ McLoughlin in running for him we had another 2 runs on the board. Josh continued to throw lots of high paced strikes and with Cae pulling off a ripper play at second and one more strikeout Sandy were on their creeping their way toward GF qualification.
A quick Sandy dig was only highlighted by an excellent Sac Bunt by young Ben Kaplin sadly to no end as we failed to add a run. Dingley struck back in their 5th dig with two hits including a double to score their one run for the day, but tick up one more strike-out to Josh.
With one out and the opposition sensing a way back into the game our engine room lowered the boom with three doubles on end to Rob, Dave Mo, Dave Ho and then a single to Dave Mck to add three killer runs to the tally.
The Royals defense then shut the game down with another strike-out and two simple plays through first base. A Dingley pitching change virtually signaled the end of resistance as singles to Ben ‘Curly’ Kaplin, Scooter Smith and then doubles to Josh and Steve ‘Earl’ Lester added three more runs before the umpires finally put a halt to the carnage.
The Royals supporters had a fantastic afternoon in the sun with Fuzzy’s BBQ in operation and Streety’s Bar doing a roaring trade. Thanks as always to Geoff Francis, Paul Housden, Greg Street, Janet and Joel Kaplin , Andrew Gluth and all our supporting friends and family.
The club is hopeful the team can repeat this fantastic performance in two weeks at Dandenong in the Grand Final. Games time is set at Saturday 14 Sept , 2.30pm
Hits: Josh 2, Rob 2, Dave Mo 1, Dave Ho 2, Dave McKinnon 3, Ben 1 , Scooter 1
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