Dragons down Bombers in walk-off thriller

Doncaster has upset the Essendon Bombers winning 4-3 at Deep Creek Reserve on Sunday.

The Dragons went into the game as underdogs with just two wins under their belt compared to Essendon’s seven wins.  What made things worse is that the Dragons were coming off a sweep against Newport, where they failed to cash in on opportunities.  However, the “Dragons Baseball” fighting spirit from its players turned up.

Justin Lawrence made his second start for the Dragons.  

It was Essendon that scored first in the top of the second, after a routine throw home from Glenn McColl went wide, allowing the runner on third to score.     

Ben Utting got things rolling for the Dragons in the fifth, with a lead off walk and stolen base.  Billy Findlay slow chopper to shortstop moved Utting to third, but a bad throw to first base from the Bombers shortstop allowed Utting to score to tie the game.

Lawrence would finish after six innings of work, three hits, three walks, one hit by pitch, six strikeouts for zero earned runs.  Marcel D’Avoine would come in relief and Essendon took control plating two runs from a handful of hits, putting the score to 3-1. But the Dragons continued to chip away at the Essendon pitching.

In the bottom of the seventh, Nic Unland hit a one out single and then was driven in by Utting to put the score to 3-2. 

Although Essendon batted patiently and got base runners in the final innings, D’Avoine held his nerve and didn’t let the Bombers extend their lead.

The ninth inning rally started, once again by Unland, with a one out walk. Michael Mazzocato walked to put runners on first and second with one out and Utting at the plate.  A vital double steal from Unland and Mazzocato, forced Essendon to intentionally walk Utting.  The next batter up Findlay, drove a hard grounder to second that bounce up through the second baseman, allowing Unland and Mazzocato to score and give the Dragons a vital victory.

Although, just a handful of supporters stuck around to the end, it was clear that it was a special win for the entire club.

Utting said it was a great victory for the team.  “A wins a win, there good. We’re struggling for wins at the moment, so that was outstanding to beat Essendon,” Utting said.  “I don’t think we’ve beaten them once since I’ve been here coaching, We’ve lost a few one run games against them over the last few years. So to have that last play go our way, was a great result and good feeling” Utting said.

Utting said that it’s important to back it up on Wednesday when they verse Essendon again for game two of the two game series.  “Same again, we’ll go at their pitchers with good at bats. Fitzy [Simon Fitzmaurice] is on the hill, as long as he’s throwing plenty of strikes and mixing it up we should go ok,” Utting said.

The Dragons will tackle Essendon at La Trobe University on Wednesday at 8:50pm.  It will be an important game for the Dragons (3-7) as they travel down to Geelong (8-1-1) next Saturday against the Western Conference leaders.

- James Bennett