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The Hills North team thanks our sponsors for their help in getting us to the National tournament

State Tournament Wrap - Easter 2008

Download BNSW Reports ...

Day #5 - The morning after the night before ...

Thursday, March 27th 2008, 6:30pm at Kelso. History was made.

In the inaugural NSW State Little League Championship Grand Final, Hills North defeated Cronulla South 4:3 in a nail-biting 2 hour, 8-inning game under lights.

By all accounts, this was a spectacular game. Several experienced spectators commented that it was the best they had seen for a long time, all season, or just simply "ever". With a crowd of several hundred from all over Sydney, it also had a real championship atmosphere.

Just how tight was this game? A scoreline of 4:3, strikeouts 6 vs 7, and hits of 8 vs 7 gives you some idea. The fact that it went to extra innings is another clue. However, look at the pitch count. Hills threw 123 and Cronulla 121. Not only is that close, but it's an astounding 15 per inning on average. That's right up there with the sort of expectation for an U/16 State representative team, and not far away from the average pitch count in a US professional game over nine frames.

Not only that, but there was only one walk each issued by both teams the whole night! How often do we see U/12 games with that statistic?

Yes, this was a pitchers' duel.

There were many tense moments and great plays, but the one that perhaps sums up the game was the final one. Cronulla had runners at the corners with two out. Zac throws his trademark fireball to jam the hitter and get a pop fly to defend the lead and collect the win.

Congratulations to all players, but with special mention for the pitching staff:- Hayden, our starter who held Cronulla after a scary 1st dig, short reliever Morgan who was untouchable, and the mighty Zac who was dominant over the final four frames.

  R H P 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Hills 4 8 123 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 1
Cronuilla 3 7 121 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

It was a great game played in equally great spirit. The respect that Hills and Cronulla have built up for each other through recent years in U12 State Cup was very evident last night.

Hills would like to thank East Hills for hosting this fixture, Colyton St Clair for hosting the weekend tournament, and Cronulla for the sportsmanship displayed by players, spectators and coaches.

Day #4 - Thursday night

Hills North are NSW Champions !!!

It was somehow inevitable, that after such an exhausting tournament, the Grand Final was always going to be a marathon as well.

And so it did indeed come to pass.

After giving up three runs in the bottom of the first inning, Hills clawed back two in the third, and then with time running out, got the tying run across the plate in the 5th. Neither team could bother the scorers in the 6th, and so we came to the dreaded extra innings shootout.

The go-ahead run came with one out at the top of the 8th, and then Hills had that {always nail-biting} task of defending a 1-run lead in the bottom half. However, that's what this game is all about. This particular one was about as tight as they come.

We'll have more to say after our editor and spectators calm down a bit, so check back here later on Friday for more. However, early reports have several people saying this was one of the best games that they had seen in this age-group. Grant Weir, in charge of the Australian Little League programme, was among the spectators.

Day #3 - Sunday Afternoon

After a grueling tournament, two teams stood up for what might have been the last game at 3pm in beautiful weather:- the sixth for both. Cronulla South had come back from one previous loss to Hills South, and now both Associations face off to each other in the Grand Final. This time, Cronulla's opponent would be Hills North.

Although being able to hold Cronulla to just one run through much of the game, our boys simply ran out of steam and the final result was a late blowout win to Cronulla of 7:0. Because the Hills team was undefeated up until then, the rules provide for this game to be replayed under the protocols for a double-elimination format.

The Tournament Committee decided that it would not be in the best interests of the kids to force them to come back on Monday to replay the fixture, so it's been rescheduled to Thursday (time & venue to be announced). That means three clear days of rest, and therefore both teams will come out firing with their best guns on the mound and at the plate. That promises to make this game the highest-standard one we've seen. If you can be there (wherever "there" turns out to be) this game should be worth watching.

Having said that, both Hills North and Cronulla South have displayed the skill and tenacity required to get through such a difficult tournament. Whoever wins on Thursday will indeed be qualified to call themselves "the best LL Team in Sydney" and should go to Brisbane with the support of everyone in Sydney junior baseball.

Read the Cronulla view on all this by clicking here.

Day #3 - Sunday Morning

Well, the run had to come to an end sometime. Hills South exited the tournament after a one-run loss to Cronulla in the 11am game. Their campaign has been impressive, and it's obvious from the scores that the two Hills teams and Cronulla South are very evenly matched. Three of South's games were decided on just one run, including the two against Cronulla.

Congratulations to both teams for a well fought tournament.

On the other side of the pool, Hills North continued its relentless march this morning, with a mercy-rule win v Bankstown. North will now play Cronulla South in the Championship Game at 3pm. However, because Hills Nth remain undefeated, and it's a double-elimination format, a loss to Cronulla will see the Championship Game being replayed tomorrow.

If it is, it will be with a fresh crop of pitchers. Could that make a difference? Watch this space

Day #2 - "High Drama" Saturday!

Saturday brought rain, rain and more rain. Props to the people at Marsden who had the diamonds in good shape to allow the tournament to proceed. Many rain delays, but at least we were able to get through today. Eventually.

First up, the Hills North appeal against yesterday's decision was upheld. Without boring you with too much detail, the team tried to make an illegal substitution. Due to the alertness of the scorers, that substitution never took place, and thus no breach of the rules occurred. The Tournament Committee's decision on Friday was based on incomplete information. Once they were provided with all the evidence overnight, they {correctly} reversed their decision and the Hills Nth win was allowed to stand.

Hills North went on to defeat Hills South by the slim margin of 12:11 in the late game today, having beaten Greater West 21:6 in the early fixture.

In the other pool, Hills South remained undefeated until they came up against their country cousins (Hills North). They went down 11:12 in perhaps the best game we've seen in the tournament so far. Offence, defense, pitching:- this one had it all!

However, although both Hills teams have done exceptionally well so far, we can't ignore the achievement of Cronulla South. Their one loss so far was to Hills South, and only by a single run. We think this team is the "sleeper" in the tournament, and the one to beat if either Hills team wants to progress to Brisbane.

Congratulations to everyone involved. Sunday looks like being an absolute cracker.

Day #1 - Good Friday

And indeed it was a good Friday for Hills! Both our teams progressed to the Winners' Pool with wins in their first game of the day.

Hills North beat Cronulla North in Game 2, with the only glitch being a technical breach that saw Manager Greg Giffin suspended for two games. He'll be back for the second game tomorrow. The team went on to beat Bankstown in Game 9 (see the Draw), only to see this result reversed on another technical breach. We'll be appealing this second one, but it has little impact on the team's prospects - they will play Game 13 tomorrow at 9am, either way.

Hills South had two convincing wins, without any administrative problems. They beat Ryde Falcons in Game 3 and trounced Manly in Game 8 on the Mercy Rule.

Manly & Macarthur were eliminated today, having lost both their games. Cumberland had previously withdrawn from the tournament. The rest come back tomorrow to do battle again!


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