Creating scoring opportunities wasn’t a problem for the Doncaster Dragons when they took on Cheltenham on Sunday - taking advantages of those opportunities was.
The numbers told the story of the game, which Cheltenham won 4-2 on a cool, breezy day at Farm Rd.
The Rustlers did most of the scoreboard damage with one swing of the bat — a two-out bases-loaded triple in the fourth inning.
But it was a vastly different story for the visitors. The Dragons reached base a total of 17 times, with nine hits, seven walks and a hit-by-pitch. But only two of those base-runners scored.
For three innings the teams traded zeroes before Doncaster opened the scoring in the fourth. Rhys Aldenhoven led off with a double and was driven in by Travis Cutt’s double. But the lead didn’t last long, as the Rustlers pulled out a big hit when it was needed most, scoring three runs on that aforementioned triple.
It was the only inning in which Doncaster starter Justin Lawrence allowed a run, but it was enough for the Rustlers.
The Dragons edged closer in the top of the eighth inning when Nic Unland’s bases-loaded walk forced in Marcel D’Avoine, who had singled to lead off the inning. Lawrence kept his team in the game through five innings, allowing only those three runs on five hits and three walks, with five strikeouts. He was relieved by Simon Fitzmaurice, who pitched three innings and allowed just one run on two hits, with three strikeouts.
The two teams meet again on Wednesday at 6pm, this time at Doncaster’s Deep Creek Reserve. .