Northern Pirates gave their Illawarra baseball semi-finals hopes a huge boost and inflicted Wests Cardinals first defeat of the season with a stunning 4-3 victory at Dalton Park on Saturday.
Cardinals would have virtually sealed the minor premiership with a win, but were shot down by Todd Southcombe's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.
Southcombe, who had three hits in second grade and came into first grade in the eighth innings, drove in Brendan Lower to break the 2-2 deadlock.
The momentum appeared to have swung Cards' way when in the eighth innings and two men out, skipper Trent D'Antonio made an amazing play to steal home base and tie the game 2-2 in the top of the innings.
D'Antonio drew a walk, then stole second and third base before tagging home base prior to relieving pitcher Lower's throw to his Pirates catcher.
Pirates put aside the biggest play of the game to maintain their grip on a top four spot by scoring the winning run in the ninth, after Lower began the dig with a lead-off double.
Pirates starting pitcher Ben Gibson was one of the stars, throwing into the seventh inning for just two hits, four walks and one run conceded.
Cardinals starter Blake Handley was also solid, throwing seven innings for six hits, six strikeouts and only one earned run.
Meanwhile, Kiama Braves remain in finals contention after a 4-3 away win over Berkeley Eagles.
In a titanic pitching duel, Braves' Jamie Simon and Eagles rival Josh Doyle threw all nine innings.
Simon threw 150 pitches, giving up 10 hits and two earned runs with six strikeouts, while Doyle hurled 136 pitches for 11 hits and four earned runs.
Braves led 3-0 after five innings and with Matt Sneddon (3/3) and Evan Hayes (3/5) combining for six of their 11 hits, they did just enough to win.
In the other game, premiers Dapto Chiefs embarrassed Shoalhaven Mariners with a 26-4 thrashing at IBL Field.
Mark D'Antonio (3/6) had 5RBIs and Ben Garvey (3/5) also 5RBIs for Chiefs.
Ladder (win/losses/draws): Cardinals (10-1-2), Chiefs (10-1-2), Pirates (6-7-1), Eagles (5-6-1), Braves (6-8-0), Mariners (0-13-0).