The Sunshine Eagles have continued their strong start to the Baseball Victoria summer premier league season.
Before the weekend’s match, which was after deadline, the Eagles had six wins from their seven games and are shaping up as one of the best teams in the competition.
On Tuesday night, the Eagles beat Doncaster, 8-2.
“Everything’s going along really well,” coach Stuart Clayton said.
“We were able to get one of our young pitchers in the game last weekend, Jai [Pouaka-Grego]’s only 15 and he threw his first pitch and he threw four innings for no runs and was very good for us.
“So that gives us another pitcher going forward when we get into the tougher games.”
The Eagles defence has been one of their key strengths this season, only giving up 20 runs for the year. With six games still to be played before the Christmas break, making sure all of their pitchers stay fresh and injury free will be key to success.
“We have to pick and choose our games and you’d like to keep your good pitchers for the top sides,” Clayton said.
“But at the end of the day our pitchers have been doing a really good job and I’m confident they could come in at any situation, so it’s really encouraging.”
Two of the Eagles premier pitchers are the Young brothers, Jamie who is back from college in America, and Jeremy who’s been playing overseas in Europe.
“They’re feeling really good,” Clayton said.
“Jeremy threw the whole game on Tuesday night (against Doncaster) and Jamie will pitch for us on Sunday (against Williamstown) and we’ll have both of them for the following game against Essendon and they’re one of the top sides as well.
“So it’ll be really good and it’s a big, big game for the club.”
While the Eagles defence has been of the highest order, their offence has also been really good, recording big scores in recent weeks.
“It’s one thing that we’ve never been known for,” Clayton said.
“We’ve always been a pitching and defence side and to see that we’ve scored the second most amount of runs given up the second least amount has been really encouraging.
“The feeling around the club’s been fantastic, everyone’s been doing their role and is really enjoying the season.”
One of their big hitters is Josh Byrne who sent one over the fence against Doncaster with two on base, giving the Eagles a perfect start to the game.
“He’s been hitting the ball really well lately,” Clayton said.
“Two triples on the Sunday before against Port Melbourne and then he went the long ball on Tuesday night.
“Because it was in the first innings it gave us a jumpstart and got us three runs in the first innings which puts a lot of pressure on the opposition and they’re playing catchup for the rest of the game.”
The Eagles played Williamstown on Sunday afternoon (after deadline) and are set to play Melbourne on Tuesday night.
“Melbourne have been struggling a little bit, but they’re the games where if you relax and you’re not at the top of your game it’ll come and bite you on the backside,” Clayton said.
“We’ll give the young fella, Jai another pitch in that game and hopefully we can keep scoring runs and get some good defence behind him to keep us in the game and get us another win.”