By Lance Jenkinson
Werribee Giants have learnt to expect the unexpected in this young Baseball Victoria summer league division 2 season.
The Giants were odds-on to record a comfortable win over struggling newcomers St Kilda Saints at President’s Park on Saturday, but they got a huge fright in a narrow 5-4 victory.
Giants coach John Curnow believes games like this prove the competition is much tighter this summer than it was last season.
“I don’t think there’s anyone we can take lightly this season,” he said. “If you’re not on the front foot from the start, you’ll be playing catch-up.”
Werribee was somewhat lucky to escape with a victory.
The Giants were not at their best defensively and it hurt them on the scoreboard.
Curnow is not concerned by the early issues in the field with a number of Giants playing in unfamiliar roles.
“We’ve had our lapses here and there,” he said. “We’ve got guys playing out of position compared to where they were last year.
“It’s just a bit of unfamiliar territory early in the season.
“It’s just a little bobble here and there, a ball between the legs and it can cost you sometimes.
“Lucky enough it didn’t cost us this game.”
Werribee has starting pitcher Wes De Jong to thank for this win. De Jong was immense in his seven innings of work.
“He threw a lot of strikes, got them to put the ball in play, struck out about seven,” Curnow said.
“He was a bit disappointed when I told him he was done, but he threw 101 pitches, so I didn’t want to go another inning with him.”
Josh Lee pitched two innings to close out the game.
Offensively, Werribee shared the workload with Wade Balzer the only player with multiple hits.
Balzer provided the highlight of the game with a home run in the middle innings.
Oliver Box and Trent Pantalleresco were the other Giants who looked confident in the batters box.
Werribee will face St Kilda on Thursday night at President’s Park and Saturday on the road to round out the three-game series.
“We’ve seen them now, we know what we’re going to expect, so we’ll be ready for them Thursday night,” Curnow said.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Aces had an indifferent start to the Australian Baseball League season.
After losing the opening two games against the Canberra Cavalry in the nation’s capital, the Aces hit back to take games three and four to split the series.
Peter Moylan and Scott Mitchinson were the winning pitchers for the Aces.
The Aces will play their first home series against Auckland Tuatara at Melbourne Ballpark starting on Friday night.