Mait­land face gi­gan­tic chal­lenge against Ma­jor League champs Bothasig

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

LO­CAL base­ball is back! Back-to-back league cham­pi­ons Bothasig travel to Kens­ing­ton to­day for the start of their Ma­jor League ti­tle de­fence against debu­tants Mait­land Giants.

The Giants have bol­stered their Pro­mo­tion League-win­ning team with a Cana­dian pitcher and an Ar­gen­tine third base, who can also pitch. Head coach Shaun Mar­shall and util­ity player Brad Eras­mus have also been re­cruited from Bothasig and could fea­ture promi­nently.

But the crafty coach­ing of Ray­mond Tew and Bothasig’s ex­pe­ri­ence should be enough to see off any threat from the league rook­ies.

Athlone A’s travel to Grassy Park to take on Cru­saders, who have re­placed Sil­vertree in the Ma­jor League, with for­mer Sil­vertree and na­tional pitcher Dean Ja­cobs in their ro­ta­tion.

VOB catcher Chad Graven­horst has also been training with the A’s, while Ai­den O’Con­nor and Casley Ripepi have joined from Cru­saders and Westridge Yan­kees re­spec­tively.

The Cru­saders have lost O’Con­nor, as well as left-hand pitcher Cameron For­tuin to Dur­banville, and the A’s should be too strong for them.

The Yan­kees travel to Dur­banville for their open­ing clash. It’s be­lieved that Clin­ton Paul and Dar­ren Smith have taken over the reins at Dur­banville, and also at­tracted For­tuin.

Although Westridge have lost Ripepi, it is un­der­stood they’ve captured Ash­ley Julies and Kee­gan Wat­son from Sil­vertree.

The last six en­coun­ters be­tween the two sides have been close, with Dur­banville just shad­ing Westridge, so ex­pect an­other close af­fair.

Bel­lville travel to Chukker Road to face VOB un­der lights. VOB have re­cruited young­ster Lance Gor­don from A’s, while Ty­rone Milne is set to have joined Bel­lville from Bothasig and will be do­ing the bulk of the catch­ing. Mean­while, Day­ton Wil­liams has swopped Sil­vertree for Bel­lville.

Sil­vertree has with­drawn from the Ma­jor League fol­low­ing an ex­o­dus of play­ers. – Sean Camp­bell To­day Mait­land v Bothasig, Kens­ing­ton; Cru­saders v Athlone, South­field; Dur­banville v Westridge, Dur­banville Sports­ground (all 3.30pm); VOB vs Bel­lville, Chukker Road (7.15pm).

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