Dragons crush Wildcats, but fall to Cats

Doncaster 10 d Waverley 0

It was a night for the unusual as the Doncaster Dragons crushed Waverley 10-0 in a weird contest on Thursday night.

In a game full of rare occurrences, the Dragons ventured to Altona for a scheduled nine-inning contest against the Wildcats. Have the Dragons ever played a nine-inning midweek game at Altona before? If so, no one in the current crop of players or among the few diehard fans in attendance could remember it.

And when was the last time the Dragons won on the mercy rule? No one seemed to know that either. Suffice to say it was a long time ago.

The nine-inning midweek game came about because of a rare decision to postpone a game that had been scheduled to be played after the Christmas break. 

Among the unusual events that happened in this game:

  • The same batter, Ben Utting, led off in four consecutive innings.
  • Doncaster strung together six consecutive hits on their way to scoring three runs in the third inning.
  • Waverley had two players ejected.
  • One Doncaster player, Travis Cutt, managed to get hit by a pitch and hit by a batted ball in the same game.
  • Doncaster hitters went four times through the order without a single batter striking out. In their fifth time through the order, six Dragons struck out. 

In among the weirdness, the one constant was Justin Lawrence, who was again outstanding on the mound. Despite having to spend an unaccustomed amount of time on the bench during long half-innings, Lawrence did not lose focus. He allowed just three hits and two walks, striking out six, in pitching a rare complete game shutout.

Normally, a wind blowing in at Altona is a nightmare for hitters. But the Dragons didn’t seem to mind. Billy Findlay led the way with three hits, three runs scored and an RBI. Marcel D’Avoine had two hits and a walk, and also scored three times. Brendan McDonald had two hits and a hit-by-pitch, scoring twice and driving in a run. Scott Carr had two infield hits, a bases-loaded walk and two RBIs. 

Utting, Cutt, Glenn McColl and Michael Mazzocato (double) also had base hits, making a team total of 13.

Hopefully the offensive surge will continue as the Dragons host Geelong on Saturday in the final home game of the season. 

Geelong 10 d Doncaster 6

So much for the offensive surge. The Doncaster Dragons’ bats again went quiet as Geelong won a lacklustre contest in the final game home game of the season for the men’s firsts.

In stark contrast to Thursday night’s offensive onslaught in the mercy-rule win over Waverley, this time the Dragons could manage only four hits between them as they lost 10-6.

In fact, the scoreboard may have flattered the home team, who trailed 9-1 after seven innings but scored five runs in the final two frames, mostly due to a series of walks.

Geelong starting pitcher Rudy Jaramillo seemed to have things under control from the start, allowing just one run in seven solid innings. That run came in the fourth inning, when Ben Utting singled, stole two bases and was driven in by Rhys Aldenhoven’s single. 

The game meandered along after that, with the Baycats increasing their lead in the fifth and sixth innings and the Dragons failing to make any impression. 

Only when Geelong made a pitching change did things begin to look promising for the home team. In the eighth inning, Glenn McColl got things started with a walk, Travis Cutt singled and Michael Mazzocato drove in a run with a single. Uttting’s sacrifice fly narrowed the deficit, but the Dragons still trailed 10-3.

Things got a little more interesting in the ninth inning, when Aldenhoven, Marcel D’Avoine and Scott Carr all drew walks to load the bases. The Dragons would score three runs on a combination of walks and fielder’s choice groundouts, but it was too little too late as Geelong held on for the win.

The Dragons will try to finish the season on a high note when they travel to Sunshine for the final game of the season on Saturday.