Strong Tigers too hot to handle

Mother nature did its best to ruin a full round of baseball with only one of the four scheduled games going ahead.

The heat rule stopped any games being played on both Thursday and Friday nights, only allowing the majors game between Panthers and Tigers going ahead.

Panthers have started to settle a starting nine and have had competitive starts since the Christmas break, and this was no different.

Tigers were near to full strength, with only Jaikob Mathews missing, so this was going to be an interesting affair.

Tigers had Jake Brooks starting, looking to improve on his eight hit start from the week before,  throwing to Kris Nankivell.

All went to plan for Tigers, with only one running threat, dealt via a full count walk.

Young Whyalla prospect Daniel Vines got the nod to start on the bump, hurling the ball at another youngster in Jack Williams.

Vines also had the start he would have liked, retiring the side in order, mainly through strong fielding from the Panthers young side.

The second dig went the same way with only a base runner for either side.

It had all the signs of a pitching dual between two young quality pitchers.

The third innings saw Tigers hit the scorebook with five runs.

Hits to Crosnier and Paul Galpin scored the opening two runs.

While it was once again Kris Nankivell who smashed a home run with two runners on, scoring three.

Two home runs in back to back games for Nankivell.

Panthers were fielding well, it was just that Tigers were starting to find gaps in the field.

Panthers were retired in the top of the fourth, with Paul Steff able to find a gap in the field and grab Panthers an important base runner.

Panthers were unable to put any more pressure on Tigers and failed to score, leaving the score at five to nil.

The fifth saw Tigers tag a couple more runs in with hits to Nankivell, and a couple of sacrifice hits to White, and Lynch had the score line at eight for Tigers.

Panthers were able to grab one run late in the sixth to get on the score book, but the eight run lead was too much to peg back.

Tigers kept their unbeaten record intact, while Panthers have once again shown that they are competitive for some of the game, it is just one or two innings where the opposition sneak away from them.

It was a fair outing from Daniel Vines, recording seven hits for two strike outs and three walks.  

Paul Steff came on in relief and threw to three batters sitting them all down.

Panthers defense behind the pitchers worked well, recording a clean sheet for errors, only one wild throw allowing base runners extra bases.

Panthers batting was well controlled by the Jake Brooks and Jordan Fuller combination, allowing Panthers only three hits for the game, making it hard for Panthers to hit the score line.

Tigers would be pleased from the start from Brooks, striking out six for only two walks, while Fuller came in to close with a couple of strike outs.

Kris Nankivell went three from three, including a home run, while four other Tigers batters registered single safe hits.

Tigers defense was solid, without being outstanding, with a few errors, but nothing that hurt them on the scoreboard.

Fianl score was eight to one, Tigers way.

JUNIORS

This week’s games see Tigers take on Cats in the Juniors on Thursday night.

Cats have a chance for an upset here, as Tigers have yet to play since Christmas, so they may be rusty.

Cats will rely on the pitching on Aiden Rich, Brodee Fogden and possibly Blair Paynter to control the Tigers offence.

Tigers will be looking to use Cameron Brame, Flynn Crispin and also Micheal Crombie to lead the charge.

Tigers to win, but it won’t be a one sided affair.

MINORS

The Minors game will see Cats White play Tigers.

These two teams matched up two weeks ago and Cats White got the chocolates on that occasion by three runs.

Cats White have had the wood on Tigers of late and will be out to get one back, so this will be a very interesting game.

Panthers take on Cats Blue also on the Friday night and Panthers would go in as slight favorites.

The last time these two met, Panthers shut them out and didn’t allow Cats to score a run.

Cats will be out to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and may welcome players back to strengthen their side.

MAJORS

The Majors game sees Panthers and Cats go at it on Saturday night.

Panthers have been competitive in the first half of their games, and if they get their batters hitting they could cause an upset.

Cats pitching is their strength.

In-form Ashley Brook, reigning Rice medalist Scott Smithand young flame thrower Jayden Gonsalves all have the potential to quell any offence.

The batting depth of Cats is also a major factor, led by Marcus Stephens, who is leading the league in home runs hit.

Cats to win, but it won’t be one-way traffic.

The forecast is looking good for the week, so all games should be going ahead as planned.

Come out to the beautifully presented Leonard Park for some great baseball entertainment.