Rusty Sunshine gets the win after early scare

Riley Barr got the start on the mound for Sunshine Eagles. Picture Luke Hemer

By Lance Jenkinson

Sunshine overcame an early fright before powering away for a 7-3 win over Melbourne to kick-start their new year in the Baseball Victoria summer league division 1 competition.

The Eagles were the stand-out team prior to Christmas, finishing phase one of the campaign on top of the table, but there is always a worry that momentum can be lost over the mid-season break.

Any early concerns were put to rest when the Eagles finally took the lead in the game with a three-run sixth inning blitz.

“It was a little bit scary early when they got three runs in the first,” Eagles coach Stuart Clayton said.

“They got two or three nice hits and then we made a couple of fielding errors.

“We just sort of pegged them back one run an innings and then we put a three-spot up in the sixth inning and another one in the seventh.

“They were a bit rusty the boys and they’ll be better for the run. “It was a good win just to get the season back going.”

Clayton lauded the baseball smarts of his Sunshine team.

Bit by bit, the Eagles edged their way back into the game after staring a three-run deficit in the face, scoring runs in the first, second and fourth innings.

“No one panicked,” Clayton said. “We did a good job of moving runners over and pretty much everyone had a hit.

“It was good team batting, good team play.” Clayton praised the efforts of his lower order batters. Josh Bryne, Russell Letts and Jason Tutt regularly got on base to give the top of the order chances to put runs on the board.

“It’s a key to us that if our seven, eight and nine hitters can get on the bases for our top order hitters to bat them in, that makes us a better side,” Clayton said.

“We did that today.” Import Bryce Aldridge has a profound influence on the game, both as catcher and in the batters box.

“He had two hits for the game and caught really well,” Clayton said. “He also threw a couple of runners out on base.”

Riley Barr overcame a first inning hiccup on the mound for Sunshine to throw five strong innings. Jeremy Young was flawless in the remaining four innings to ensure the Eagles held their advantage.

While it was far from a complete performance from Sunshine, it did the job of getting rid of the cobwebs from the mid-season break.

“When you’re going so well and you have three weeks off, you just never know how you’re going to come back,” Clayton said.

“We worked our way into it and I think we’ll be better for the game.”

Sunshine will round out its short two game series with Melbourne away at Surrey Park on Saturday