The Bellingen Brewers juniors, in their first year in the Coffs Harbour District baseball competition, clinched the Minor Premiership on Saturday with a come-from-behind win, 11-10, over the Coffs Harbour Allstars.
Aiden Oliver was back on the hill as starting pitcher for the Brewers and set the tone early, holding the Allstars scoreless and striking out the side in the first inning. Bellingen then took advantage of some wayward Allstars pitching to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
The Allstars came back with three runs in their next at bat to pull within one run of the Brewers, but Bellingen answered with three runs of their own to lead 7-3
Luke Mitchell came on to pitch for the Brewers and the Allstars cut the Bellingen lead in half with two more runs, but catcher Cam Rutherford prevented what could have been a much bigger inning, picking a Coffs runner off third base. Bellingen were held scoreless in their turn at bat and took a 7-5 lead into the final inning.
With the Brewers pitchers struggling to find the strike zone, the Allstars pushed five runs across the plate to jump in front, 10-7. But in their final at bat the Brewers rallied, scoring four times for the win. Sam Perrot had the walk-off game-winning hit, driving in Connor Wear-Brodie.
Things didn’t go as well for the shorthanded seniors.
Bellingen got off to a sharp start in the B grade opener, with Dave Wolfson’s lead off double and Scott Hansen’s run-scoring single putting the Brewers up 1-0. But the Allstars claimed the lead with three runs in reply, helped by three Bellingen miscues in the field, and from there Coffs pulled away to a 14-1 win.
The Brewers played a much stronger game in the A grade fixture and looked to have it won, but let the Allstars off the hook and had to settle for an 11-all draw.
Again Bellingen grabbed an early lead, Charles Wolfson’s two-out bases-loaded infield single putting the Brewers ahead 2-0. Coffs answered by loading the bases with none out, but Scott Hansen pitched out of the jam to hold the Allstars scoreless.
With the Allstars pitcher struggling to find the strike zone, the Brewers extended their lead to 7-0 in their next at bat, with Cooper Bake-Smith’s two-run bases-loaded single the key blow. But with Hansen’s control deserting him, the Allstars answered with six runs to cut Bellingen’s lead to just one.
The Brewers responded in their next at bat, scoring four runs with two out to extend their lead to 11-6, with Jeff Wilson’s bases-loaded single the big blow.
From there, David Edgecock came on to pitch for the Brewers and held the Allstars scoreless for the next two innings. The Brewers also were held scoreless, so held a five-run lead as Coffs came to bat for the final time.
The first two Allstars were retired, but needing just one more out to seal the win, the wheels fell off for Bellingen. Two dropped fly balls, two hit batsmen and two base hits later, Coffs had tied the score, before the Brewers finally secured the elusive third out.
The Brewers will be back in action next Saturday against the Woolgoolga Bluesox.