What could be better than a three-game winning streak? How about a four-game winning streak! The Doncaster Dragons achieved just that when they beat Waverley at Napier Park on Tuesday night.
The hits came in bunches and the defence was perfect as the Dragons won 8-3 to take their win-loss record to 10-10.
In contrast to their recent wins, which have been pitching duels, this time the Dragons turned on some offence to complete a three-game season sweep of the Wildcats. In the first inning it looked like being a familiar story as Doncaster starter Matz Schutte and his Waverley counterpart Tyler Dale each breezed through without allowing a base runner.
But all thoughts of another pitchers' duel vanished in the second inning as the first seven Doncaster batters all reached base. Brendan McDonald led off with a double, then stole third base. Callum Lethborg and Travis Cutt walked, Billy Findlay and Scott Carr singled, Dennis Ward walked and Nic Unland was hit by a pitch. The Dragons scored five runs in the inning to take a lead they would not surrender.
But the Wildcats would not go quietly. They scored two runs in the second inning and threatened to score some more in the fourth, but a pitching change -- bringing in Andrew Chesterton -- and some stellar defence -- particularly by outfielder Michael Mazzocato -- limited the damage.
Happily, the Dragons continued to build scoreboard pressure. With two outs and nobody on base in the fourth inning, Ben Utting hit a double and was driven in by McDonald's single, with a little help from the Waverley defence with a fumble at home plate. Lethborg then singled to drive in McDonald for Doncaster's seventh run.
Chesterton pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to snuff out any chance of a Waverley comeback. And in case an insurance run was needed, the Dragons scored one when Unland doubled, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Utting's groundout.
Can the winning streak be extended to five? That will be a tough task, with an away game against powerhouse Blackburn on the agenda next Sunday.
- John McDonald