Dragons over Royals as Westphal strikes out 100 before Christmas

JACK GUILIANO FIELD:  DRAGONS! Was the emphatic cry from the dugout upon the final out last Sunday. The 2-0 win arrested a Doncaster slide going back 4 games.  During the past 4 games the Dragons twice lost in the 10th inning and had a narrow mid-week loss. A slice of luck and the story could’ve been quite different.

The Luke Westphal show continued to roll against the Royals with another superb quality start where he bettered his season best strikeouts total by dialling up an amazing 15 K’s against the Sandringham hitters! Westphal entered the game on 85 for the year so took his total to an amazing 100 strikeouts BEFORE Christmas! It truly is phenomenal to watch as he sets about his work! He only needed to rely on the field twice for other outs as he also picked off a base runner going the wrong way - First Baseman Andrew Reeves fired up to manager Ben Utting for the tag.

Westphal's phenomal season is displayed in a summary of his pitching statistics for the season to date.....

Westphal's pitching aside, the Doncaster hitters only got 2 hits for the game and were out hit 5 to 2 by the Royals. Left Fielder Brendan McDonald led off the 4th with a booming double to left-centre then Right Fielder Scott Carr got the minimum job done and grounded out to 2nd Base to move McDonald over. Catcher and birthday boy Billy Findlay then drilled a ball to Left Field for a Sacrifice Fly to score McDonald.

Lanky left hander Andrew Chesterton relieved Westphal and worked a quick 1-2-3 inning and Sandringham followed suit in changing their pitcher in the top of the 8th. Third Baseman Nic Unland landed a single before stealing 2nd and 3rd where another Sac Fly, this time by Second Baseman Travis Cutt, scored our 2nd run. This time the 2-0 lead would prove enough unlike last week against the Baycats.

Reliever Matz Shutte threw the last 2 innings effortlessly although a lead off single in the bottom of the 9th threatened to make things interesting. The hitter was gunned down by Scott Carr as he tried to stretch it out into double. The cry of Dragons was genuine excitement but also of some relief too. We now face Sandringham in the midweek game at Altona 6.30 Wednesday and look to make it 2 in a row.

-Lachlan Craven