Berkeley Eagles have emerged as favourites to take this season's Illawarra Baseball League title with a hard fought 6-5 win against Wests Cardinals.
With only one regular weekend to play Berkeley have now beaten last year's premiers Wests and grand finalists Northern Pirates in the past two weeks to stake their credentials.
Eagles took an early lead, scoring two runs in the first, after Tim Atherton launched a two-run home run over centrefield.
Atherton then pitched four shut out innings for eight strike outs, no hits and just two walks. The Eagles rallied, out-fielder Travis Xeureb able to bring home runners on his infield hit to tie the scores. The Red Birds then went ahead after Jeremy Bec's lead-off walk and stolen base was brought in on Murray Lugg's single in the sixth.
Eagles regained control in the seventh, before Cardinals scored two runs in the ninth to just miss out on forcing Eagles to bat again. Cards' Alex Osborne was the only player with multiple hits (2-4, RBI) with Eagles' Atherton continuing his season of dominance on the mound, proving the difference.
Meanwhile, a Pirates rally ensured an 11-9 victory over Dapto Chiefs at Nowra.
With the minor premiership wrapped up, Pirates piled on five runs in the first innings, only have their lead evaporate and Dapto take over at 8-5.
But the Pirates repsonded, their bats firing in the seventh and eighth innings scoring six runs, Asa Schuster hitting a double to bring in two runs and Henry Groth's triple proving crucial.