GAME ONE: CARP 4 def. CLIPPERS 2
After the Carp started their season with two straight losses, they became the first team to cement its place in the SLBA Grand Final on December 19.
With a 4-2 win the Carp (5-3) are the only team with five wins in the inaugural SLBA season.
The Clippers (3-1-4) play the Crushers next Wednesday for a place in the decider.
Jumping out to an early 3-0 lead the Carp faced a fast fightback from the Clippers thanks to Alex Carter’s two-run homer in the third inning.
Young prospects did much of the damage for the Carp with Highway Player of the Game Curtis Mead collecting two hits alongside Blake Farr.
Mead’s sac fly in the first opened the scoring before he brought home Chinese import Sunny in the seventh to seal the deal.
Defensively Patrick Inglis made a sliding catch at centre field in the fifth, a play which surely denied the Clippers an extra base hit.
To their credit Jordan McArdle made a reflexive catch at first base, he snapped up a line drive that could have sped into the right field corner.
Carp starting pitcher Tyler Thompson struck out a pair, Wilson Lee backed him up with two hitless innings ahead of Nathan van der Linden pitching out the final inning.
For the Clippers reliever Chris Burkholder was the first of theirs to go two innings, the American struck out three hitters.
GAME TWO: CRUSHERS 9 def. WASPS 4
The Crushers (4-1-3) scored in bursts to secure second place, eliminating the Wasps (3-5) in the process and setting up a semi-final battle with the Clippers next week.
Late controversy, courtesy of Taylor Travess’ switch from centre field straight to the mound, didn’t pay off for the Wasps as the Crushers scored two runs on loaded bases against the reliever.
Led by three hits to Gary Owens and two to Ben Andrews it was one-way traffic for most of the game, as the Crushers tallied a 4-0 lead in the first inning.
Picking out gaps across the park, they controlled the momentum against starter Tom Fitzgerald.
Quiet innings followed as Owen Wang steadied with two hitless innings, the Crushers had the pick of the bunch in terms of pitchers, though.
Jordy Grose struck out four during his start while Joel Chapman had a pair of strikeouts from two perfect innings.
The game moved through three scoreless innings in a hurry until Andrews picked up his second double in the fifth with Woods unable to make up ground on a deep hit to left field.
Dangerous top order hitting saw Owens notch an RBI single for his third hit before Bruce Wang followed with an infield RBI single, making it 6-0.
Lacking consecutive hits, the Wasps finally broke down their opposition in the fifth behind singles to Bas Nooij and Tom McGarry.
Courtesy runner Seiichiro Suzuki sped around the bases on McGarry’s hit, in place of catcher Nooij, scoring on Travess’ left field grounder.
A two-run single to Woods had the Wasps right in the game at 6-3 but they could not produce the final push they needed for victory.
Instead the Crushers plated three more runs on loaded bases in the seventh, with a late RBI single from Austin Gallagher not enough to keep his side alive.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Carp are through to the GF with the Clippers and Crushers facing off on December 12 for their place in the decider.