Hitting through the order sees VOB U18 accumulate runs steadily (W 4 – L 0)
After a two week break, with a potentially strong Van der Stel U18 forfeiting, and the SA v France Senior Series bye, VOB U18 faced the pitching depth and top order hitting strength of unbeaten Crusaders U18 this Saturday past. Many of the athletes on both teams have trained and played together on regional teams, and during the P2P series, and know each other’s game well.
Again Luke Budler started well with a strikeout, then walked the next batter. A stolen base, a K and another walk seemed to pose no particular threat, but an infield error on a straightforward ground ball saw Crusaders capitalise and score a run. A third K, after third walk, saw the now bases loaded threat put to bed. Two walks and a Hit By Pitch laid the table for cleanup hitter Jordyn Riffel. The first run came as leadoff Luke November scored on a passed ball, and then Jordyn’s sac fly duly brought in Budler for the second run to give VOB U18 the lead. Seth Beukes followed with a right hand side of the infield ground ball rbi scoring Keegan Hickley. 0 – 3.
“Bud” was quickly through the bottom of the Crusaders order with two K’s. But the strong Crusader’s top order would not go quietly, and two hits, some sloppy fielding and a couple of walks, saw four runs scored in an innings the VOB U18’s would rather forget. The rust of two weeks off, and multisport athletes being available for their first game was showing. Quick to put it behind them, the team bounced back. Alex Japhta won a the battle of a long at bat, doubling to centre and scoring Shakeel Jattiem who had walked. That forced a pitching change. Matthew Blows responded immediately with an rbi single to score Alex. The game was tied at 5 – 5.
A well taken pop fly by Alex Japhta at catcher saw Budler set up to close out the bottom order again. 2 K’s later – job done. VOB U18’s showed good focus as Jordyn did his job as innings lead off and got on with a walk and stole second. Seth advanced him with a hit, and Josh Adonis’ sac fly scored him. Tight fielding and overambitious coaching saw a potential run wasted with an out at third, but the pressure was beginning to tell as Shakeel walked again and worked his way to home on three passed balls. 5 – 7.
Lefty Kian Afrika then replaced Budler on the hill, and worked his way efficiently through the Crusader’s dangerous top order, despite an infield error on a softly hit blooper. 2 runs ahead, VOB U18 then consolidated their lead as Blows got his second hit and advanced on passed balls, and Luke walked. Budler then doubled to score both. 5 – 9.
Kian got ahead with a K in what was likely to be the final frame with time running down. Two walks followed with as he then worked too fine. A double steal saw the ball thrown through third base, with the run scoring. The recovery saw the second runner thrown out at 3rd. Kian then finished the game with a full count pickoff, resulting in a textbook run down. 6 – 9 win.
Coach’s comment – Again we hit the ball hard and saw results.
Batting: Matthew Blows – 2 -2, 2 rbi’s; Luke Budler 1 – 1, 2 rbi’s, 1 bb, 1 HPB; Alex Japhta 1 – 2 (double); Seth Beukes 1 – 3, 1 rbi; Josh Adonis 0 – 1, Sac Fly, 1 rbi; Jordyn Riffel 0 – 2, Sac Fly, 1 rbi
Pitching: Luke Budler (W) 3 innings, 6 K, 2 hits, 6 bb, 5 runs, 2 earned; Kian Afrika (S) 2 innings, 0 hits, 3 bb, 1 runs, 0 earned.