Cardinals hoping to ground Eagles, secure top-two rank

BASEBALL

The Illawarra baseball semi-finals are just a fortnight away with the premiers Wests Cardinals facing Berkeley Eagles in the standout match of round 19 on Saturday at Cringila Park.

Cardinals are second behind Dapto Chiefs but want to seal a top-two spot and the finals double chance by beating the fourth-placed Eagles.

Cards thrashed Kiama Braves 11-1 last Saturday with their pitching ace, Blake Handley, in fine form, throwing five innings for just one hit. Eagles are coming off an 8-2 home loss to Chiefs and need a win against one of the top clubs to find confidence before the play-offs.

In Saturday's other game, Pirates are back in form following a mid-season slide and take on Braves at Gainsborough Park.

Pirates belted Shoalhaven Mariners 11-2 last Saturday, out-hitting the home side 15-3, with Lachlan Crawley going 3/3 and Andrew Clifford having four hits.

The round-19 game between Chiefs and Mariners at Ison Park was declared a washout on Friday.

Ladder: Chiefs (13-3), Cardinals (11-6), Pirates (10-6), Eagles (6-8), Braves (4-11), Mariners (2-12).

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