By Lance Jenkinson
It was the victory the Werribee Giants had to have.
The Giants had dramatically stalled since the start of the new year in Baseball Victoria summer league division 2, putting a major question mark over their contender status.
All the Giants had to show from the whole month of January was one win – not the kind of return you would expect from an outfit that went to the mid-season break as one of the teams to beat.
Is a nailbiting 6-5 win over Malvern Braves at President’s Park on Saturday enough to bring Werribee back to life?
Giants coach John Curnow will not have the answer until the rest of February plays out, but he sure is happy to get back on to the winners’ list.
“It was a bit of a scrappy game,” he said. “We just got over the line in the end, which was handy because we’ve been playing a bit ordinary lately.
“We copped a couple [of losses] that we didn’t want to and we really needed to get this one on the board today.”
Werribee had to fight back from deficits on three different occasions.
The Giants trailed by a run in the first inning, two runs in the third and two runs in the fourth.
Not helping their cause was a rare off day from starting pitcher Josh Lee.
Lee as good as volunteered to be taken out of the game after 3.2 innings because he was just not feeling it on the day.
“He had one of his bad games – hopefully it’s the only one for the year,” Curnow said.
“He just couldn’t throw enough strikes and threw a few walks.
“He sat a few over the middle of the plate and gave up some hits, so they got on top of
“I went out during that third inning to try and settle him and he was telling me how bad he was going.
“I just said try and get us out of this dig, but he was handing me the ball before I got out there.”
While it was not ideal having Lee leave the game so early, the trust in Wes De Jong to steer the team back on track is what makes Werribee a good team.
The Giants showed, in this sticky situation, that they are not reliant on a single ace.
De Jong came into the game on short notice and was there to throw the winning pitch at the end.
“He battled for us for the rest of the game,” Curnow said.
Catcher Oliver Box and Wade Balzer were standouts in the batters’ box for Werribee with three hits apiece.
Andrew Mackie was the game changer though for the Giants, lining a ball up the middle with two outs to score two runs in the sixth and then producing the go-ahead hit in the eighth.
Werribee is now locked into the finals, though Curnow knows the side needs to lift between now and then.
“We’ve got plenty of improvement to make before finals,” he said.
“It’s just about everyone getting down to training and getting their work in, working on the little things. We’re sort of starting to prepare ourselves for finals now.”
Second-placed Werribee will continue its series with Malvern on Thursday evening at President’s Park.
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