Dragons 0ver Brewers in tight contest

One big inning was enough for the Doncaster Dragons to overcome the Ballarat City Brewers and hold on to top spot in the standings.

The Dragons won 7-3 on a picture-perfect day at Deep Creek on Saturday in a game that marked the first time the two teams had played against each other.

The game was more or less even apart from a five-run sixth inning, which gave Doncaster the lead for the first time.

With Ballarat import Rob Shaw pitching impressively and putting his team in front with a solo home run in the fourth inning, this looked set to be a tight contest to the finish.

But all that changed in the bottom of the sixth inning, when the Dragons turned a seemingly harmless situation into a game-changing charge.

With two outs in a 2-2 game and Callum Lethborg on first after a base hit, Nic Unland kept the inning alive with a single. Scott Carr followed suit, driving in Lethborg to put the Dragons in front.

From there, it all went south for the Brewers. Ben Utting’s pop-up somehow fell safely despite the shortstop and left fielder converging on it, allowing two runs to score. Tyler Cooklin reached base on a dropped third strike, Utting scored on a wild throw and Billy Findlay hit an RBI triple to give his team a 7-2 lead.

The five-run cushion made the job easier for Doncaster starting pitcher Simon Fitzmaurice, who continued his solid form with a seven-inning outing in which he allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks, wit three strikeouts.

Any hope Ballarat had of staging a late comeback was snuffed out by Carr, who switched from the outfield to the mound and did not allow a run in two innings of relief, striking out three and allowing just one hit and a walk.

Doncaster (8-1) head to Malvern on Wednesday night to take on the Braves (1-8).

- John McDonald