Illawarra Baseball's dominant club Wests Cardinals claimed their 29th premiership after a blowout 19-4 victory over Dapto Chiefs in Saturday's Game-3 grand final decider at a windswept Hector Harvey Park.
Minor premiers Cardinals came from 1-0 down in the series to outscore Chiefs 38-9 in games two and three.
Chiefs led 2-0 after their first at-bat, but then had pitching ace Tyson Graham re-injure his damaged shoulder and forced out of the game after conceding five first-innings runs.
"Tyson felt a twinge and then sharp pain in the shoulder and we had to get him out," Chiefs coach Dom D'Antonio said.
"We've been busted up and running on empty for a while and it finally told.
"Full credit to Cardinals, they played excellent all three games and fully deserved the premiership.
"They've been the best side and jumped on every mistake we made and made us pay like a good team does."
With Cardinals ace Blake Handley on top after the first innings, the Cards batters put Chiefs to the sword.
The blustery conditions played havoc with the fielding, particularly in the outfield with fly-balls evading fielders and contributing to a number of Cards runs.
Matt Sainsbury, who joined Cardinals from Pirates a couple of seasons ago claimed his first top-grade premiership and had a Game 3 to savour with two triples and a double, plus 5 RBIs.
Nathan Grogan had three singles, while Josh Dean, who returned to the line-up for Game 3, had 4 RBIs.
Jim Longley played in the second grade grand final then backed up to smash 6 RBIs in Game 2 and had another 3 RBIs in Game 3 to be among the top players in the series.
Cards built on their 5-2 lead after the first innings to score another run in the second, plus seven in the fourth and six in the fifth for a 19-2 lead.
Chiefs' lone highlight after their first at-bat was Jarrett Commane racing around the bases for an inside-the-park home run in the sixth innings.
But Cards out-hit Chiefs 17-9 and had the answers.
Cards captain-coach Trent Antonio downplayed the lopsided scoreline, saying it didn't reflect the evenness of the two teams.
"All year there hasn't been much between us and Chiefs and fortunately for us in games two and three things went our way and we were able to take advantage of that," D'Antonio said.
"The conditions were pretty awful for baseball and we had the better of it and turned our hits into runs. It's a great reward for a long, hard season."
Trent's uncle Dom D'Antonio announced post-game his retirement after 44 seasons in baseball as a player and coach.
D'Antonio spent 26 seasons at Berkeley, plus 12 with Cardinals and the last six years as Chiefs coach, plus stints with Canterbury and the Illawarra Flame in the Sydney Major League.
"It's the right time to call it a day," said D'Antonio, who coached Chiefs to the premiership in 2012.
GRAND FINAL WINNERS
First grade: Wests Cardinals d Dapto Chiefs 2-1 in best-of-three series.
Game 1: Chiefs d Cardinals 8-7; Game 2: Cardinals d Dapto Chiefs 19-5. Game 3: Cardinals d Chiefs 19-4.
Second grade: Chiefs d Cardinals 16-4
Third grade: Pirates d Cardinals 10-5
Fourth grade: Panthers d Pirates 16-15
Fifth grade: Braves d Panthers 5-4