By Lance Jenkinson
Jon Lowe was the central figure late in the Werribee Giants’ thrilling 6-5 win over Port Melbourne Mariners in the Baseball Victoria summer league division 1 clash at President’s Park on Sunday.
Lowe played both the villain and hero roles in a roller coaster ninth inning where his emotions would have swayed dramatically.
With the Giants leading by one run entering the ninth, Lowe misjudged a ball in the field and allowed the Mariners their equalising run.
It is not often that a player gets a chance for redemption so soon after, but luck had it that Lowe was due to bat for the Giants in the bottom of the ninth.
With the game on the line, Lowe smashed the ball to the outfield.
“Unfortunately he let the ball go through his legs to let them tie in the top of the ninth, but he came through with a big hit to walk it off in the ninth,”
Giants player-coach John Curnow said. “That’s how baseball goes sometimes. “It was quite nice to have all the boys jumping around at the end of it.”
Werribee compiled its runs by committee on a big day for the bats. Leading the way for the Giants were Oliver Box with two hits and Ryan Balzer with a hit and two stolen bases. It was an interesting day on the mound for the Werribee pitchers.
Starter Trent Pantallaresco rode his luck, putting a number of Mariners on base, but did not concede.
Pantallaresco got stronger as the game wore on, but his high pitch count forced him out of the game after six innings.
“He had a very high pitch count, so we had to get him out of there, otherwise we would’ve kept going with him,” Curnow said.
“I think he put eight runners on through six, but his fifth and sixth innings were lights out.”
Josh Lee had a wild time in his three innings of relief.
While not helped by a Giants fielding error, Lee recorded a blown save.
However, Lee can take credit for the win. “He threw well, but they got a few ground balls that got in and a couple of bloopers over the infield, which tends to happen when he pitches because they don’t hit them too well off him,” Curnow said.
“They were able to tie it up and take us into the bottom of the ninth, but Jon was able to come through. “Josh gets a blown save and the win in the end.”
Werribee is among the leading pack with a 6-3 record. Winning the series over Port Melbourne and holding that tiebreaker is huge with both clubs in the finals mix.
“It was pretty handy to get wins in two out of the three because they’ve been tracking pretty well,” Curnow said.
Werribee will turn its attention to a three-game series with St Kilda Saints, starting at President’s Park on Saturday.
It will be a special day for the Giants on Saturday with the club holding its annual pink day to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer.
“All four teams will be playing at home on Saturday and there will be a bit of a function on Saturday night to raise some money,” Curnow said.
“There’s a couple of people at the club who have been affected by it, so we really make a point to raise awareness.”