By Lance Jenkinson
A late season surge has secured Werribee Giants promotion to Baseball Victoria’s top flight.
The Giants will take the elevator straight to the top tier irrespective of their finals outcome after finishing the division 2 regular season on top of the ladder.
Giants player-coach John Curnow was delighted to tick the first box on the to-do list.
“We are going to let our hair down a fair bit,” he said after the game.
“But everybody knows there’s more work to do, so tomorrow will be recovery and then we’ll focus on what we’ve got to do for the first semi-final.
“The good thing is we can focus everything on winning now, rather than trying to get promoted to division 1.”
Werribee took hold of top spot on the penultimate weekend of the season.
The Giants did not let it out of their grasp, securing first place with a sweep of Bonbeach in a three-game series.
A 3-1 win in game three at President’s Park on Saturday was the clincher for the Giants. “I’m rapt with how we performed today to get over the line,” Curnow said.
“We had a couple of blokes out, but we’ve got enough depth that we didn’t even notice that today.”
The best part for Werribee is that its top two pitchers were shielded from having to work on the mound.
Trent Pantalleresco did the bulk of the pitching, throwing seven quality innings for the concession of one run, while Curnow pitched in relief.
It meant Wes De Jong, who will start game one of the semi-final series against Malvern, and schedule game two starter Josh Lee, will be fresh entering the finals.
While Pantalleresco is considered third in the depth chart, his performance against Bonbeach shows he is 100 per cent free of the hamstring injury that dogged his summer and makes him a viable pitching option in the finals.
“He threw real good today,” Curnow said.
“He had pretty good control and all of his off-speed was working. He’s pretty much at 100 per cent fitness going into finals.
“He should be a pretty good performer for us in relief and even running bases he showed no signs [of his injury] and his swing is pretty good at the moment.
“He’ll be a real threat to the opposition.”
With only three runs on the board and the blowing wind to aid the pitchers, there was not a whole lot of highlights in the batters box for Werribee.
The big moment belonged to Reece Haywood, who blasted a double to right field to send home the third run.