Cats claw Dragons in late surge

A wild and weird game that ended in fittingly bizarre fashion resulted in a Doncaster loss after an entertaining contest at Geelong. 

The Baycats won 13-10 in a game in which the final out was recorded AFTER the players had shaken hands.

It was a wild one right from the start, a slugfest in which the Dragons collected 16 hits and posted their highest score of the season – against highly credentialed pitching -- but still came away empty handed.

Andrew Reeves and Javan Williams had magnificent days at the plate. Reeves had four hits including a late-game home run, and Williams had four hits including two doubles, plus an intentional walk.

After Geelong had got on the scoreboard on a wild pitch in the first inning, the Dragons struck back hard. Facing Minnesota Twins professional Sam Gibbons, the Doncaster hitters were not overawed. Marcel D’Avoine led off the second inning with a single, went to third on Williams’ double, then both scored on Sam Lethborg’s triple. Reeves’ first hit of the day scored Lethborg to give Doncaster a 3-1 lead.

After the Baycats had scored three of their own in the second inning, the Dragons again hit back with interest. Another Williams double, followed by a Scott Couling single, another Reeves single, a sacrifice fly by Mitch Ellis and a double by Nic Unland added up to four runs and a 7-4 Doncaster lead.

But a two-run homer by Geelong second baseman Keli'i Zablanin in the bottom of the inning narrowed the gap, and another two runs in the sixth gave the home team the lead.

Just when it looked like the game might fizzle out, Reeves launched a two-run blast to left field that scored Lethborg.

But a combination of strong hitting, wayward pitching and sloppy fielding allowed the Baycats to score five runs in the eighth inning and put the contest beyond Doncaster’s reach.

Even then the drama was not over. After Ben Utting’s leadoff double in the ninth inning and Williams’ fourth hit of the game, the Dragons had reduced the deficit by one. Lethborg then singled to bring up Reeves as the potential the tying run.

What followed had many veteran baseball-watchers scratching their heads. The home plate umpire called a ball foul, but the Geelong infield played it out, throwing Reeves out to seemingly end the game. After the players had shaken hands and were in their post-game huddle, the umpires met and decided to overturn the out call, resulting in a protest by Geelong. Reeves was called back to the plate but struck out on the first pitch after the break, this time ending the game for good.

The Dragons have one last chance this season to chalk up a win against the Baycats when the two teams meet in the late game at Altona tonight.