Newport dulls Dragons in dark

A game that started badly for the Doncaster Dragons ended in bizarre circumstances as they lost to Newport at Altona on Wednesday night. 

The scheduled two-hour game was called 20 minutes early after a power outage at the stadium, giving the Rams a 3-0 win.  The power failure was not limited to the stadium lights -- it also extended to the Doncaster hitters, who were shut down by Newport left-hander Eric Kline.  Kline dominated through five innings, allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out nine.

Teenager Matz Schutte made his first start for Doncaster and ran into early trouble, giving up a lead-off triple in the first inning. Helped by another hit and a Doncaster error, the Rams scored two runs to give Kline a lead he would not surrender.

Against such quality pitching, the Dragons could muster only two hits -- to Nic Unland in the first inning and Andrew Mazzocato in the second. Both successfully stole second but could advance no further as Kline tightened the screws.

The brightest spot for Doncaster was another impressive performance by reliever Andrew Chesterton, who pitched three innings and allowed just one unearned run, with three strikeouts and three walks.

Would the Dragons have made a late-game comeback against Kline or the Newport bullpen if the lights had not blown? We'll never know. But if they are to return to the winning list, they will have to overcome a powerful Essendon line-up at Deep Creek on Saturday.