Outlaws impress as baseball returns to Armidale
With almost eighty owners across Australia and internationally, new grassroots club Armidale Outlaws has taken baseball in north-eastern New South Wales by storm – already translating off-field enthusiasm into playing success.
Tamworth Baseball Association action returned to Armidale for the first time in nearly twenty years and the new kids in town gave their supporters cause for real optimism as the Outlaws posted their third win in four games – with founding member Mick Alldis earning the distinction of hitting the first A Grade home run at the club’s new baseball field.
A crowd of around 200 saw the new SportUNE baseball diamond looking an absolute treat as the Opening Ceremony got underway with Adam Marshall MP, Brendon Webb (Community Mutual) and Pat Gurr (Whitebull Hotel) all throwing ceremonial first pitches – followed by the two teams being announced and University of New England student Will Smidt singing the National Anthem.
The visiting Cougars A Grade team began the day looking very sharp, with Richie Bullock hitting a double to right field and singles to Kris Bird and Josh Daley scoring a run early. Fortunately for the Outlaws, though, Josh Shaw settled into his duties and only allowed another two hits for the opposition in the next six innings of quality pitching.
The Outlaws struck back in the bottom of the first inning with leadoff hitter Cam Beat getting on board with a single that was followed by hits to Alldis, Jeremy Bird, Greatrex and Turner that translated into three quick runs.
Alldis smacked a solo homerun in the top of the third, while team mates Ben Greatrex and Liam Garty were also very close leaving the yard in the fourth and fifth innings – both legging out doubles as the Outlaws applied the pressure by adding a run in each of these innings and subsequently holding their lead throughout the contest.
The Cougars were never out of the game though, challenging in the last inning with the tying run on second base with none out. However, the Outlaws infielders held steady with an out at the plate, a caught line drive and a great play by short stop Cam Beat to close out the game.
Bird had another great day in offence with two hits, along with Alldis (two), Greatrex (two), Turner and Garty (one apiece). Josh Shaw threw 86 pitches (56 strikes/30 balls) for the Outlaws’ first win on home soil.
The Outlaws now sit second on the A Grade ladder, with three wins and a loss.
Images: Anna Guerrini
On a huge day for the new club, lower grade teams also gave supporters plenty to cheer about. Playing the Cavaliers in what was a see-sawing game, the young B Grade Orange side levelled the scores in the last innings through a single base hit from Alex Rivas after Shane Wolfenden earlier cleared the fence for the first Outlaw homerun for the season. The game ended in a 9–9 draw.
The B Grade Black team had to come from three runs down early in their game against the Cougars, who came out with their bats blazing. Ray Nickson, Ryan Semple, Ollie Grimble and Jeremy Bird gave the home team solid hitting support in the middle of the game and the Outlaws ran out comfortable winners 10 – 5 in the end.
Next week’s Round Five action will see the Outlaws play at home again. The B Grade teams will go head to head for the first time in what should be a very entertaining game. They will play at SportUNE, starting at 11.30 AM, to be followed by the A Grade clash between Outlaws and Warriors (starting at 2.00 PM).
Last season’s premier, Warriors have inflicted the Outlaws only loss for this season – back in Round Two.