CRUSHERS OR CARP?
By Robert Laidlaw
The inaugural Super League Baseball season finishes tonight with the grand final, and as it opened, with Carp playing Crushers.
Through the season all four teams have beaten each other at least once, which highlights the evenness of the competition, with all teams in the running for a finals berth up to the final round.
Carp started the season with two losses, then won five of the final six games to claim top spot on the ladder and direct access to tonight’s premiership-decider.
As for Crushers, they won their first three games, then had to wait to the final minor round game to finally taste victory again, against Wasps, which propelled them into second spot and last week’s knockout semi with Clippers.
And what a belting Crushers dished out last Wednesday, beating Clippers 14-2 – the highest score and biggest margin of the season, while their 15 hits was also a record.
In head-to-head clashes, Crushers beat Carp 7-1 in round one, before going down 0-2 in round four, with the round seven fixture washed out.
Now for the big game. Will it be Carp’s consistent form over the latter stages of the season that will prevail, or has Crushers built up enough momentum over the past fortnight to take out the inaugural championship?
In batting, Curtis Mead for Carp has been on fire to lead the league with a .625 average, while Crushers have two hitters over .400, Ben Andrews and Matt Hutchings.
Landon Hernandez has a league-leading eight RBIs with Crushers, and Andrews seven (the only player with multiple home runs with two), with Wilson Lee also on seven to lead the Carp.
As for pitching, Ryan Duncan has 13 K2s for Carp, while Nathan Vanderlinden has 12, while for the Crushers, Jordy Grose also has 12.
Both teams have a two-game winner, in Vanderlinden for Carp and David Carroll for Crushers.
Signs to watch for the grand final: Carp like to score early and restrict the opposition, while Crushers can build big innings quickly.
These teams can mount a rally, with Carp scoring multiple runs in an inning nine times, and Crushers 10 times (plus another three last week), while Carp’s highest two frames, of four and five runs, came in the final dig – so it’s never over until it’s over!
Strap in for a roller-coaster ride to the end of an expected thrill a minute seven innings of high-octane baseball.