Sunshine Eagles still flying high

Sunshine Eagles pitcher Riley Barr was impressive against his former club. (Damjan Janevski)

By Lance Jenkinson

Sunshine has kept its flawless record intact with a commanding 11-6 win over western suburbs rivals Newport Rams in the first of a mouth-watering three-game series in the Baseball Victoria summer league division 1 competition.

The Eagles are leading the way at the top of the ladder, owning a 5-0 record and sitting a game clear of the chasing pack.

Eagles coach Stuart Clayton has little to complain about when it comes to the performance of his team, but is pleased more so about the positive intent in the opening five rounds and wants it to continue for the remainder of the season.

“Eventually you’re going to lose one, but as long as they continue to do the right things, stay switched on and give 100 per cent each week, that’s all that I can ask for,” he said.

Sunshine produced its best offensive performance of the season in the 11-run pile-on.

The Eagles were aided by a stiff breeze that took the ball to left field.

Even though the wind favoured the batters, the Eagles stuck to their strengths.

Nikau Pouaka-Greco. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

GALLERY: Sunshine vs Newport 

“We were pretty confident that we were going alright most of the game because we hit the ball well early,” Clayton said.

“You wouldn’t get any assistance hitting the ball to right field, but if you hit it to left field, the ball just kept travelling.

“We’re not a power hitting team, we don’t hit home runs very often.

“We’re more of a contact team, we like to hit line drives, get runners on and keep moving them around one base at a time and that’s what we did.”

Russell Letts was the shining light for Sunshine. Letts had three hits – the most of all Eagles – and took care of business in the outfield in tough conditions.

Seeing Letts come through the ranks has put a smile on the dial of Clayton. “I actually coached him 13 years ago when he was under 12s,” Clayton said.

Designated hitter Daniel Wilkie and third base Nikau Pouaka-Grego picked up two hits each for Sunshine.

Pouaka-Grego and Riley Barr were the centre of attention playing against their former club Newport. Pouaka-Grego backed up his strong showing at-bat with an error-free performance at third base, while Barr did the bulk of the work on the mound for Sunshine to good effect.

Sunshine and Newport will be back at Barclay Reserve on Tuesday night for a mid-week clash before completing the three-game series on Saturday at KC White Reserve in Newport.