Given that many of us among the ‘Waverley Nation’ considered that this could have been a “season defining” game, we should all he happy and proud that our boys showed plenty of resilience to come away with a huge 8-3 result. There was a fair bit of warmth in the clubhouse after the game at the end of what was a slightly cool but pleasant day at our Napier Park heartland.
Of course a glance at the line scores will remind us that it wasn’t always trending that way after Doncaster broke through in the top of the third with three runs and they maintained that 3-0 advantage until the bottom of the sixth. Our Wildcats had threatened in each of the first two innings but, after that, our batting innings flashed by all too rapidly with not much sign of the uprising that finally arrived. The “big inning” has been scarce for our Firsts Wildcats so far this season and it was a very welcome sight for nervous Waverley supporters in attendance.
As it often does, the breakthrough inning came for our boys following a leadoff error by the plucky Dragons who will no doubt feel that the mood of the game swung at that decisive moment. Suddenly our energised bats sprung to life with a double by J.J ‘Initials’ O’Connor, a RBI single from ‘Mighty Mitch’ Glasser, a two RBI double from Jamie ‘J-Pap’ Papanicolaou, a RBI single from Andy Hayes and a single from Ben Aslett. Aslett then stole second and two more runs scored via a throwing error to add some extra padding to our turn-about inning. When the flurry of action finished and the dust had settled we had reversed the three run lead into our favour.
Andy ‘Very Handy’ Hayes complimented another sterling performance with the catcher’s glove by headlining our offence with a three hit game – his two RBI triple in the bottom of the seventh effectively put the game on ice – this young fellow continues to grow in stature and he already appears capable of going a very long way in this game. So too first baseman Matt ‘Holliday’ Homfray who has hogged these reports lately and he cannot be overlooked once again after batting 2-4 with another eleven defensive put outs. It really was a day for team offence and most contributed to a stunning comeback victory.
While all that was going on, ‘Big Unit’ Jon Kennedy steadily went about his business of keeping our Wildcats in the contest after a minor wobble in the third frame when Doncaster applied the pressure to post a “three spot”. In a remarkable performance Jon kept his pitch count just below the 100 mark through a mighty eight innings of dealing for the club. In the end he allowed only one more hit outside of the third inning and he richly deserved the WIN that often seems to elude him. In typical fashion the laconic big guy wasn’t looking for any adulation, but he earned plenty!
With what appeared to be a lower arm angle, Jarrod ‘JET’ Turner seemed to add some additional zip and movement to his pitching while cleaning up the final inning clinically. He sat down the three batters he faced in order with six of just eight pitches thrown for strikes while facing the meat of the Dragons’ lineup. Jarrod has already been an asset to the Wildcats yet, on first impressions, the subtle change to his pitching style may take his game to another level. At the very least it should provide him with a significant confidence boost – nice work!
In fact, the entire Wildcats’ team should take a renewed energy boost from this positive result and use it as an impetus to really get their teeth into what has been a tough season so far. There is clearly no lack of fight among our young players and the type of persistence they demonstrated in this game is a tremendous sign after taking some tough losses. Let’s keep the ball rolling!
With this vital win in the bank, it is now equally important that we maintain the momentum for our first twilight midweek fixture when we host the Dragons again on Tuesday evening 12 November – Firsts only 6:00pm. The upcoming Sunday 17 November we are at home again to host the Sunshine Eagles who always seem to save their best for clashes with our Waverley Wildcats – Reserves 1:00pm – Firsts 3:30pm.