By Lance Jenkinson
Werribee Giants endured some hairy moments en route to a 5-3 victory over a Bonbeach team with only two wins from 25 starts in the Baseball Victoria summer league division 2.
The Giants reaped the ultimate reward for their toil at Bicentennial Park on Sunday, finishing the day on top of the ladder, but it was far from a comfortable experience for the visiting side.
Giants coach John Curnow complimented Bonbeach for continuing to fight in a season that was destined to end with a wooden spoon weeks ago.
It was only the first game of a three-game series between Werribee and Bonbeach in the regular season-ending series, so the Giants will need to remain focused if they want to avoid a slip up and keep hold of top spot. “It was a tight one,” Curnow said.
“They’ve been doing pretty well against the top sides.
“They gave [second-placed] Williamstown a run for their money over three games and they’ve developed well this year.
A few of the young kids on their side are really going well.”
The story of the day for Werribee were the performances of starting pitcher Josh Lee and closer Wes De Jong. Lee produced a marathon 8.1 innings on the mound, conceding just two runs.
It will be Lee’s last start for the regular season and he is likely to be shut down until finals – though might pitch an inning or two of relief if need be.
The tough outing was exactly what Lee needed to prepare for a tough finals series.
“He worked hard on the mound for us,” Curnow said.
“He threw a lot of pitches early, but he said ‘I’m good to keep going’.
“He got better as the game went on and was able to get us deep into the eighth and hold them to a couple of runs.”
While Lee pitched a quality game, he left his closer De Jong with some work to do in the eighth.
De Jong entered with Bonbeach having bases loaded and gave up a run before picking off the final five outs.
It was a typically confident effort by De Jong, who thrives in pressure situations.
“He wanted the ball,” Curnow said. “It wasn’t someone coming in nervous.
“He had a job to do and got in there and did what he did.”
Jon Lowe was the pick of the Werribee batters with three hits, while Justin Gil had two.
Andrew Christou owned the big moment in the game, delivering a crucial bunt to move two runners over, which turned into two runs later in the inning.
Werribee and Bonbeach will play game two at Bicentennial Park on Thursday night, followed by game three at Werribee’s President’s Park on Saturday