Condors through to softball grand final after beating Sharks
WORKERS Condors booked a spot in the Far North Coast Division 1 women's softball grand final with a hard-fought 4-2 win over theBallina Sharks.
In a gripping encounter at Albert Park, Lismore, on Saturday night, Ballina had more hits but failed to find the gaps and capitalise.
Solid fielding by Condors kept the game scoreless until the fourth innings.
Michelle Lucas dominated on the mound for Ballina but Condors rallied, with a Sam Green double scoring Ash Knight for a 1-0 lead.
Tina Austen commanded her own presence for the red and black, pitching a controlled game backed up by shortstop Erin Little and third base Dierdre Coe.
The Sharks rallied in the fifth to lead 2-1 after hits to Teagan Hargraves and Lucas, who was brought home by a Molly Donald bunt.
But Condors rallied with two down, led by safe hits to Austen, Green and Coe.
Fielding pressure tipped the balance Condors' way and they continued to work hard in the batter's box.
Brie McBride and Renee Blaike kept the pressure on with strong hits that led to the winning runs.
Ballina had a chance in the seventh but again failed to get through the infield.
Lucas struck out 12 for Ballina and Austen five for Workers, but Condors' disciplined fielding led by Little and Coe to first base Brie McBride proved decisive.
Condors will play Dodgers Devils in the grand final on Saturday.
Rous Warriors edged out Byron Bay 13-12 in a nail-biting Division 2 preliminary final.
In a game where both sides struggled to find consistency from the mound, Rous managed to stave off a late charge by the red and white led by some great hits from Ella Galea, Shannon Knapp and Mel Delaney.
Renee North took a match-sealing catch at centrefield for Rous.
A seven-run second-innings burst led by Rebecca Grove, Alicia Robb and North set up Warriors' win.
The Division 3 play-offs added a great deal of excitement to the finals series, with Workers Turkeys the first to seal a grand final place with an 8-1 win over D/W Demons.
Workers scored five runs in the first innings and never looked back.
Demons managed to stem the flow but could not string together their hits.
Tight fielding by third base Katie Foster and shortstop Lauren Forrester led the way for Turkeys.
Mandy Brown's brilliance with the bat helped Goonellabah Gunnas to a 21-11 win over Woodburn Wonders.
Two home runs by Brown led the charge for Goonellabah, while for Woodburn pitcher Kathy Johns and centrefield Sharon Dransfield were standouts.
Goonellabah and D/W Demons clashed in the do-or-die second game, which Goonellabah won 21-11.
Demons were without their regular pitcher and catcher but Caroline Roache stepped up and did a great job on the mound.
Consistent batting by Brown, Leanne Lovett and Lee Millward put Goonellabah in the driver's seat.
Lauren Forrester batted well for Demons, while third base Brooke Wilson and first base Jenni Prosser base also played well.