Kiama Braves, Wests Cardinals in narrow baseball escapes

BASEBALL

Premiers Wests Cardinals and Kiama Braves scored comeback one-run wins in round 11 thrillers in Illawarra baseball on Saturday.

The Braves trailed Dapto Chiefs 2-0 midway through the sixth innings but posted a 4-3 win, while Cardinals rallied from 4-2 down in the ninth innings against Northern Pirates to win 5-4.

Berkeley Eagles kept their playoff top four hopes alive with a 12-2 thrashing of winless Shoalhaven Mariners at Eagles Field.

At Gainsborough Oval, the pitching of teenager Luke Brown inspired Braves to their best win of the season.

Brown kept the Chiefs batters off balance, throwing seven innings for just four hits, four strike outs and only one earned run.

The Chiefs took a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth, but Braves responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to lead 3-2.

Braves added a vital run in the eighth for 4-2 and held Chiefs to one run in the ninth to seal an upset result.

Scott Tabrett was 2/2 for Braves including an RBI, while Kim McMillen had a key RBI for Braves in the eighth inning.

Ben Garvey was the best of the Chiefs hitters. His only hit a double which also scored a run for the visitors.

Meanwhile, Pirates have slumped to a third straight loss after they gave up a 4-2 lead in the ninth innings against Cardinals at Dalton Park.

Pirates had one hand on victory after three runs in the eighth inning to lead 4-2 but Cardinals showed their premiership class with three unanswered runs in the ninth inning.

Jeremy Bec only had one hit from five on the plate but it proved the key hit of the game with his double scoring two runs in the ninth to tie the game at 4-4.

Teenager Joel Thompson then drove in Bec from second base for the winning run.

Nathan Grogan kept Cards in the contest with three hits, including 2RBIs in the fifth innings.

Cardinals starting pitcher Blake Handley was a key contribution.

He pitched seven inning for only seven hits, with five strikeouts and conceding just one run.

Paul Cuthbertson was 2/4 for Pirates.

Pirates starting pitcher Brendan Lower probably threw one inning too many - he gave up nine hits, five walks and four earned runs in 8.1 inning on the mound.

Finally, the Eagles outclassed Mariners for a comfortable victory at Eagles Field.

Aaron Sloan had 2 RBIs (including a home run) while the consistent Mick Shipp went 3/4.

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