GAME ONE: Carp (2-2) 2 def Dunmark Crushers (3-1) 0
The Crushers saw their undefeated start end in a shutout 2-0 defeat to an improving Carp side who landed two early blows and held on from there.
Curtis Mead was the Highway Player of the Game with two hits, an RBI and a stolen base, although pitching proved to be the key factor as the Carp gave up just two hits.
Starter Nathan van der Linden allowed just one walk with two strikeouts in his two frames, while reliever Wilson Lee struck out six in a superb end.
On debut, Crusher Jacob Scott provided an early highlight, holding onto a high throw from third baseman at second, tapping the bag and throwing to first for the doubleplay.
In the second the Carp opened the scoring through Jay Sanderson, his hit through to right field bringing home Wilson Lee.
Ryan Duncan was in business in the third with his second single of the game, quickly scoring off a bouncing double from Curtis Mead, who slid into second and was safe by millimetres.
Facing a no-hitter, Anthony Herrera doubled off the fence for the Crushers in the third but they struggled for momentum, while the likes of Mead made it look easy for the Carp with his second hit and a stolen base in the fourth.
Big hitter Matt Hutchings had a lead-off double in the sixth for the Crushers, he was at sixth on a dropped third strike the catcher lost track of.
That dropped strikeout allowed Lee to rack up six strikeouts despite recording only five outs, and while he hit his pitch count and could not wrap up the game, the Carp were cruising.
On the other side of the park, David Carroll spun a gem for the Crushers with three strikeouts, but their quite offense saw the Carp take the win.
GAME TWO: Clippers (1-3) 5 def Wasps (2-2) 3
A four-run burst by the Clippers set up a 5-3 win after the McGarry brothers homered in the first two innings, the Clippers opening their account after a tough run of three straight losses.
Tom McGarry and Highway Player of the Game Sam McGarry cleared the right field fence for their respective sides in a hot start before pitching depth became a factor.
In his first SLBA outing, Matt Rabe struck out big guns Terrell Joyce and Evan LeBlanc, before Joyce finished with two hits alongside teammate Alex Carter.
The Wasps backed up Rabe’s start through a stand-up RBI double by Austin Gallagher against a struggling Tyler Chappell.
Chappell’s relief outing saw him give up one hit, four walks and two runs for just two outs, while it was Chris Burkholder who steadied for the Clippers in his first SLBA game.
The American had one hit and two strikeouts from two scoreless innings and after arriving from the Czech Republic he looked right at home in his second stint down under.
Hot offense backed him up and the Clippers were on a direct course for success thanks to a double from Joyce and a RBI single to LeBlanc.
LeBlanc quickly scored the go-ahead run with a stolen bases and a wild pitch helping him to third, a damaging Alex Carter hit bringing him home.
The rally continued as Sam McGarry reached on a dropped fly ball and Dalton Probert hit a lucky single that bounced out of the infield past Bell at second, McGarry scoring a fifth run.
Pitcher Matt Watkins stepped onto the mound and stemmed the flow with two quick outs, in the fifth he quickly worked his way through three more outs with a little resistance by Joyce’s triple.
As time ran out it was a routine win for the Clippers behind a three-strikeout sixth from Dylan Brammer.
The Clippers now have an open account and they face the Crushers who want to get back to their winning ways. Meanwhile, the Carp and Wasps are now equal at 2-2 and with just five games left a winning record will be a requirement to make the GF – this could be a decisive fixture.