A sickening injury to Dapto Chiefs catcher Dean Leighton overshadowed the Wests Cardinals series-levelling 19-5 win in the Illawarra Baseball grand final at Hector Harvey Park yesterday.
Leighton was knocked unconscious for a few minutes in a collision at home plate with Chiefs baserunner Jeremy Bec in the sixth innings.
Play was halted for 30 minutes as players from both teams rushed to Leighton's aid.
The catcher was able to speak before he was taken by ambulance to Wollongong Hospital.
"It was a massive hit and a frightening moment," Dean's brother, and Chiefs skipper, Craig, said.
"He was able to speak out on the ground. We've had a message relayed from hospital which is positive too."
Earlier in the sixth innings, Chiefs coach Dom D'Antonio was ejected from the game by umpire Trent Thomas after he argued an interference call at home plate involving Dean Leighton after a Cards run.
D'Antonio will face an Illawarra Baseball judiciary hearing later this week, with his place on the Chiefs bench in jeopardy for this Saturday's Game 3 decider at Fred Finch Park.
D'Antonio's nephew, Trent, who is the Cardinals captain-coach was pleased with his side's response after Chiefs won last Saturday's Game 1, 8-7.
"We needed to answer," Trent D'Antonio said.
"We put the pressure on them early with some runs and probably had the luck that Chiefs had in Game 1 with a few hits dropping in, but it was a good performance."
Cards veteran Jim Longley played in Saturday's second grade grand final and was an X-factor in Game 2, going 4/5 with 6RBIs, including driving in the first two runs of the game in the second innings.
Chase Richardson went 4/6 with 3RBIs as Cards out-hit Chiefs 23-10 in just seven innings.
Cards pitcher Scott Sartori threw all seven digs for 10 hits and six strikeouts.
D'Antonio is now facing a dilemma whether to use Sartori or Game 1 starter Blake Handley as his starter for the decider.
For the Chiefs, Game 2 was a "write-off" according to Craig Leighton, after they beat Cards for the first time this season, in the opening game.
"It's all down to one game now," he said.
Chiefs ace Tyson Graham was solid in Game 1.
He pitched all nine innings, for 10 hits with only one walk.
Chiefs led 5-0 after three innings before Cards skipper D'Antonio hit a two-run homer in a four-run fourth innings.
Chiefs scored three runs in the seventh to lead 8-5; Cards scored two runs in the eighth and had two out in the ninth with a man on second and third bases but couldn't bring the tying run home.
In the lower grades grand finals, Chiefs beat Cardinals 16-4 in second grade, Pirates won third grade with a 10-5 victory over Cards, Panthers beat Pirates 16-15 in fourth grade and Braves beat Panthers 5-4 in fifth grade.