High-flying Sunshine Eagles become even stronger

Allan de San Miguel is back from Melbourne Aces duty for Sunshine. (Damjan Janevski)

By Lance Jenkinson

What a luxury it is for top-of-the-ladder Sunshine Eagles to be able to reintegrate Melbourne Aces championship winner Allan de San Miguel into the team for its run to the Baseball Victoria summer league division 1 finals.

A week after playing a huge role in the Aces first Australian Baseball League championship title, de San Miguel was back in an Eagles uniform and starring in a 6-2 win over Berwick City at Barclay Reserve.

de San Miguel is noted for his power bat and the trains that run parallel to Talmage Street were not safe when he stepped up to the plate on Saturday.

The 32-year-old catcher, a long-time member of the Australian team, put the game beyond doubt with a three-run home run blast to left field in the direction of the tracks.

It was not a case of de San Miguel bullying a local player either, his big home run came off Cameron Gibbons, an ABL standard player.

“We were 3-1 up in the sixth and that put us 6-1 up,” Eagles coach Stuart Clayton said.

“It was really big at that time in the game.

“From there we were cruising.”

de San Miguel’s return to the Sunshine line-up is worth much more than his contributions on the field.

The Western Australian has bought into the Eagles’ culture since crossing from Waverley and his leadership is proving invaluable for both young and old teammates.

“He’s a ripper guy,” Clayton said. “He’s one of those guys you want to have around your club.

“He’s fantastic with the kids, runs coaching clinics and just the things that he teaches our senior guys makes a big difference.

“He’s a real positive influence.”

It was a game where Sunshine spread the workload in the batter’s box.

Jordan Young (two hits) and Nikau Pouaka-Grego (one hit and two walks) were strong both offensively and in the field. “Everyone shared it around today, so it was really good,”

Clayton said. Sunshine’s pitching was spot-on throughout.

The Eagles got strong service from starter Riley Barr, who pitched five innings, and relievers Griffin Weir and Adam Irons, who worked two innings each.

“It was a good effort from the pitchers,”

Clayton said. Sunshine will start a three-game series with Fitzroy Lions on Saturday at Barclay Reserve before turning its focus on the finals.