Masters softballers fall just short

June 22, 2024 BY

The old timers of the Mount Gambier Softball League, including their dedicated supporters, survived 10 games in three days over the June Long Weekend.

The campiagn started with a come from behind 6-5 victory over Valkyrie Fire.

The battery combination of Rej Smith pitching to Chrystal Lock was instrumental in both defence and offence having a double and a single each, while team favourite Kylie Cook (nee Doll) also had two safe hits with some showy base running, and Leanne Little a single.

Chantel Macdonald took the final catch at left to seal the victory and the Mount Gambier masters celebrated like it was the grand final.

Game two was a different affair against Port Adelaide, some of the Mount team shuddering at the sight of the left handed pitching, and it was successful as our girls kept popping up much to their frustration.

The Maggies smashed Mt Gambier pitcher Leyna Bruggemann all over Berri but somehow only scored three runs with Rebekah Millowick making a number of sound defensive plays at second base.

Rej Smith was again wreaking havoc on base with another two safe hits; Bec White, Bruggemann, Fiona Finch and Kate Altschwager all singling but it was not to be with a 3-1 loss.

Game three loomed against Sunraysia and they started strongly with four runs in the first dig, matching that in the second coinciding with keeping Angela Queale’s steps up at left.

Queale hit one of three doubles for the blue and yellow team in the first, joined by Finchy and Cook, with Smith chiming in a RBI single.

She singled again in the second as did Sam Brown but it was not enough for the win, going down 4-8.

Game four was against the USC Bears juggernaut where Mt Gambier could only muster one run to USC’s 8.

Although she walked a few, Little pitched admirably against the very strong USC bats as well as wearing one that could be heard down the main street straight off her shin.

Little showed grit, doubling to score White, with Cook and Teresa Hatch the only others registering safe hits until Macdonald strode purposefully to the plate in the third.

She had her serious hitting face on and creamed one over leftfield’s head.

Macdonald was sent by Bruggemann but USC’s relay was too good and Macdonald’s deserved home run was thwarted.

Day two saw the team sporting Blue Lake Bunyip pride against the USC superheroes in the legendary and mythical round.

The Mount Gambier team was well held by USC’s pitcher who only gave up three hits (Lock, Little and Tracey Anderson) and four walks unlike Bruggemann who was getting dispatched by the powerful USC hitters and with the Mt Gambier field a bit sleepy in the field, the end result was 8-0.

Game five saw Mt Gambier going gangbusters from the get go with three runs in the first including a Finch single and a White two RBI double who was then scored by a Queale single.

Mt Gambier’s defence kicked into gear holding the opposition to nothing but then they opened their offensive floodgates in the second, scoring seven which seemed to also quell our team’s bats and the final score 7-3.

Altschwager picked an amazing walk, Brown singled and Finchy added another single against genuine velocity pitching.

Game six saw Mt Gambier score four early runs against Port Adelaide. Finchy walked, scored on a Cook RBI team play hitting to the opposite side of the diamond, Bruggemann walked, Lock singled then both were scored by a glorious triple by Little followed by a sacrifice fly by Hatch.

Remi was wrapped to see Macdonald listed as the starter and the latter settled into her pitching rhythm against some seasoned Magpie bats, making several key plays herself in the field.

Port snuck in a late run for the 5-4 victory.

Mount Gambier rolled out for their last game of the day under lights against Valkyrie Fire who were more than feeling the seven games they had already played with their team struck by injury and illness.

Although the game was awarded to Mt Gambier by forfeit but played on anyway.

Highlights were Queale registering a sac fly with Smith scoring from second on the hit, Bruggemann legged out a homer to right feeling fast in the dark, White nearly matched it with a triple to centre, Smith doubled in the second as did Altschwager scoring Brown, an E7 to Bruggemann scored Rej, and in the third Macdonald singled, Altschwager continued her hitting streak and Millowick chimed in for a single too.

Day three was finals for Mount Gambier, first up facing Port Adelaide whom they had those two tight losing tussles.

Smith and Finch had team at bats, picking walks to then both be scored by a Cook RBI single.

Little also singled prior to the next three hitters all finding rightfield’s glove.

Bruggemann gave up only three safe hits for the game which were in the first, Port scoring two by putting pressure on and forcing Mt Gambier to make a couple of fielding clangers.

The fielding of both teams tightened up, Brown, Cook and Bruggemann making the plays well guided by Lock behind the plate.

Lock led off the fourth with a single, scored by another Queale, ever the stealthily base runner, double.

Brown singled but was held on base with Queale and the score 3-2 Mt Gambier way with Port to have the last bat.

Bruggemann knuckled down, pitching a couple of strikeouts before Brown made the last catch, securing her team’s advancement to the prelim against Sunraysia.

Three innings were played without a run to either side, Mt Gambier continuing with the line-up that started the semi.

Smith led off the game with a single and was a great voice on the field, matched by Macdonald, Millowick and Altschwager cheering all day.

Lock was outstanding, catching her sixth game of the tournament, singling twice and was one of two runs scored by Queale who smashed a pitch to left.

The third base was worth her weight in gold, putting her side ahead with another display of her clutch hitting prowess.

Anderson was a great base running replacement for Bruggemann, and Hatch was in for Little after Little sprinted out an infield single.

Mt Gambier was up care of Queale 2-0 going into the fifth dig, Bruggemann had given up only four hits but the veteran may have regretted not taking herself off as she tried to close the game out.

With two outs she hit a batter with a wayward change up to load up the bases. Sunraysia’s shortstop, Carrie Barlow, absolutely pulverised a strike for a salami and the game was done, although disappointing not to come away with the win, an exciting game to finish our campaign. USC Bears went on to win the grasnd final 13-1 against Sunraysia.