Dapto Chiefs home after pitching duel


Dapto Chiefs and Western Suburbs Cardinals turned Illawarra Baseball's grand final rematch into a pitching duel with four Chiefs combining for just three hits in a 1-0 victory at Cringila Park.

Wet weather forced the round two clash to be transferred from Cardinals home base at Hector Harvey Reserve to Cringila Park, with both clubs looking sharp in their first match of the season.

Ash Miller drove in Jarred Commane in the seventh innings for the only run of the game, with Chiefs starter Commane (three innings), Tyson Graham (two innings), Mitch Thompson (two innings) and closer Mitch Simon (two innings) combining to give up just three hits for Chiefs.

Cardinals pitcher Scott Sartori would have been the winner most other days, completing eight innings for just five hits.

Cards swamped Chiefs in games two and three of the 2013 grand final series, after Chiefs won game one.

Cards have won a record 29 first grade premierships, including six titles in the past 10 seasons.

Chiefs and Cardinals were clearly the top teams last season and will be hard to beat again in 2014.

Meanwhile, Northern Pirates have made a strong start with a 9-3 victory over Berkeley Eagles at Dalton Park.

Eagles had more hits (13-9) but made four critical errors, while Pirates starter Ben Gibson threw six strong innings for just seven hits.

Pirates scored three unanswered runs in the first innings and led 5-1 after five innings.

Catcher Brendan Lower went 3-4 at the plate, while coach Andrew Clifford was 2-3. Chad Blanch (3-4) stood out for the below-par Eagles.

Finally, Kiama Braves came from 8-1 down in the eighth innings to snatch a desperate 10-9 home win over the luckless Shoalhaven Mariners.

Braves looked beaten when trailing 8-1, but posted nine runs in the eighth innings.

Two newcomers to the Illawarra competition were the starting pitchers, with Braves' Craig Hemphill throwing 147 pitches in eight innings for 12 hits, while Mariner Brenton McMahon threw six innings for only three hits.

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