GAME ONE: Wasps (3-3) 10 def. Crushers (3-1-2) 2
A seven-run second inning propelled the JSR Wasps to a 10-2 win over the Dunmark Crushers, bringing the yellow-and-black level with the Crushers on three wins for the season, with just three rounds remaining.
Both starters pitched through a quick first inning before the Wasps exploded behind two hits from Tyrone Hambly in the second, and four hitless innings from Tom Fitzgerald and Matt Watkins.
The middle of the Wasps order did the damage with Hambly, Austin Gallagher and Brad Torkington collecting two hits each
Torkington also cleared the left field fence with a deep bomb that beat Matt Hutchings as he tried to scale the fence and take a spectacular grab.
In the second Hambly had a lead-off single and scored as Joe Gluyas hit a double past a diving Gary Owens in centre field.
A flurry of action saw the score blow out, with a dropped catch by Ben Andrews in right field proving costly, before Hambly finished the seven-run explosion with a single, scoring the speedy duo of Seiichiro Suzuki and Mitch Lightbody.
Starter Fitzgerald moved through the top six Crushers with ease, Watkins allowed just one walk, before the bullpen came up against some trouble from the Crushers.
Todd McDonald broke up the no-hitter bid with a single against Matt Rabe in the fifth, but he was stranded on third, but some luck fell their way as a trio of errors saw any shutout hopes dashed in the sixth.
From third, Matt Hutchings scored on a throw which deflected off Jackson Brebner-Russ, while Josh Cakebread came home on a Ben Andrews double after initially reaching on a throwing error.
Those late runs proved to have little impact, however, as the Wasps eased home for a big win.
GAME TWO: Clippers (2-1-3) 9 def. Carp (3-3) 3
The Clippers moved back into grand final contention with a 9-3 win over the Carp after Jordan McArdle mashed a three-run home in the first inning to set the tone for the victors.
They only had six hits but scored nine runs, Carp pitchers struggled to find their ranges.
Clippers starter Tim Day was all class with four strikeouts over two hitless innings while Carp reliever Ryan Duncan had three strikeouts in two hitless frames.
A combined eight runs were scored in a bumper fourth with a RBI single to Alex Carter kickstarting a spree of five runs for the Clippers.
Against Nicholas Carfora they piled on the pressure and even Tom Norley could not escape in relief, he exited with loaded bases.
There was some solace as Terrell Joyce’s sac fly was the only score on loaded bases, the Carp managing to escape their jam.
Experience paid dividends in the bottom of the fourth through Wilson Lee who slugged a two-run triple into right field to build some hope for the trailing Carp.
They could not mount a bigger comeback, however, and Chinese import Roger combined with Connor Hill to pitch two scoreless innings, Roger had two strikeouts.
Suddenly just one game separates first from last. There’s no time for mistakes next week. The JSR Wasps tackle the Clippers while the Carp play the Dunmark Crushers, with the Crushers leading the league by just one point. A loss for any team with three games to play could be the end.