FACED with elimination finals in both grades on the weekend, the Bellingen Brewers fought hard but failed to advance, falling to the Coffs Harbour All Stars in B grade, 4-3, on Saturday, then 14-4 to the Woolgoolga Blue Sox on Sunday.
The All Stars got on the board first on Saturday, plating two runs in the first inning. After the Brewers failed to score, they added another run for a 3-0 lead.
Bellingen’s comeback began in the top of the third inning. Cam Rutherford led off with a single, Charles Wolfson walked and Dave Wolfson singled in Rutherford to get the Brewers on the scoreboard.
The teams traded zeroes, with Brewers pitcher Scott Hansen shutting down the All Stars, Bellingen stranding JP van Schie and Rutherford after two-out hits, and Hansen shutting down the All Stars again, before the Brewers erupted in the top of the fifth inning to level the scores. They loaded the bases with one out, then Joel Northcott ripped a single, scoring one run, but they were denied a second run by a laser-like relay throw home. However, Mick Nelson followed with a clutch two-out double to make it a 3-3 game.
Hansen quickly retired the first two All Stars batters in the bottom of the fifth, but a triple on a two-strike pitch, followed by a single on a 3-0 count, put Coffs back in front, 4-3. The Brewers were held scoreless in the top of the sixth, and needed to retire the All Stars in five minutes or less to force another inning.
With Hansen working quickly and firing strikes, Bellingen did just that, and came to bat in the top of the seventh full of confidence, when the heavens opened. The teams attempted briefly to play on, but the downpour was so intense that the umpire was forced to call a halt to the game, ending the Brewers B grade season.
The downpour also forced a postponement of the A grade semi-final between the Brewers and Blue Sox to Sunday.
In the final juniors regular season match, the Brewers topped the All Stars, 10-3, with Aiden Oliver and James Cecil each pitching two dominant innings. The two teams meet for the final time on Saturday in the grand final.