Tygers favourites to hit Cru­saders out of the PP Smit ball­park

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SEAN CAMP­BELL

GRASSY PARK Cru­saders travel to the PP Smit Sta­dium to­day to take on in-form and un­beaten Bel­lville Tygers in round six of the Base­ball As­so­ci­a­tion WP (Bawp) Ma­jor League.

De­fend­ing league cham­pi­ons Tygers have been in men­ac­ing form this sea­son, and they cur­rently share top spot on the log with Bothasig Knights.

The Tygers of­fence has been the hall­mark of their play and has been led by Shan­non Eck­er­mans, Jonathan Phillips and Josh Halver­son.

The trio lead the bat­ting num­bers at peren­nial pace-set­ters Tygers and will again pose a threat to the Cru­saders’ bullpen.

The youth­ful Cru­saders pitch­ing staff came in for some se­vere pun­ish­ment against Bothasig in their 17-5 loss last week, their first de­feat of the sea­son.

Jar­rod Williams, Sergil Thomp­son and Brent Frans­man will be look­ing for sup­port from ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers Grant Robert­son and Lu­cian Swartz in their pitch­ing depart­ment.

Kevin Townsend, Day­ton Williams and Rus­sell Olivier will be car­ry­ing the Tygers’ pitch­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties which should be too pow­er­ful for the Cru­saders’ hit­ting line-up.

Chris Ja­cobs, Chad Beukes and Frans­man will be look­ing to come good in the Cru­saders’ bat­ting depart­ment.

Helder­berg Pi­rates make their way to the Abe Sher sports ground to take on un­beaten Bothasig, hop­ing to break a run of four con­sec­u­tive de­feats af­ter reg­is­ter­ing their only win on the open­ing day of the sea­son against the Athlone A‘s.

Pi­rates’ team re­volves around the ef­fi­ciency of Kieran Clacket and Daryn Chalmers on the mound and in the hit­ting depart­ment.

Clacket has been start­ing most of their games, pitch­ing to Chalmers who dons the catcher’s mitt.

When Clacket’s pitch­ing stint is com­plete, it is Chalmers who re­lieves him in a bid to se­cure a vic­tory.

Both Chalmers and Clacket are also by far the clean­est hit- ters of the ball in the Pi­rates line-up.

Bothasig will again rely on their long string of bat­ters, led by Kyle Botha, Benji Smith and Justin Lazarus to hit them into a win­ning po­si­tion. They also have Keenan Clarke and Nick Ea­gles who are no slouches with the bat.

Bothasig’s pitch­ing depart­ment sees the youth of Da­mon Mitchell and DJ Stark com­ple­ment the ex­pe­ri­ence of Jared Elario and Dar­ren Smith.

Bothasig’s ex­pe­ri­ence should carry them through for this one.

Af­ter five rounds of fix­tures in the new sea­son. Bothasig Knights and Bel­lville Tygers re­main un­beaten on 10 points, fol­lowed by Grassy Park Cru­saders on eight.

Westridge Yan­kees have six points fol­lowed by VOB Macaws and Van der Stel on four.

Athlone A’s, Dur­banville Vil­lans and Helder­berg Pi­rates are all on two points.

In other Ma­jor League games to­day, the in- form Westridge Yan­kees travel to Mait­land Gi­ants, strug­gling Athlone A’s host new boys Van der Stel, and Dur­banville Vil­lains are at home to VOB Macaws.

In the Pro­mo­tion League top side Mil­ner­ton Mav­er­icks and sec­ond-placed Battswood clash at Theo Marais Park in Mil­ner­ton.

Mav­er­icks have shown their in­ten­tions by ac­quir­ing the coach­ing ser­vices of for­mer Mait­land Gi­ants and Bothasig Knights coach Jo­han Moses.

The ben­e­fit of his guid­ance and ex­pe­ri­ence has been ob­vi­ous in a few close vic­to­ries for the team to date.

This­tle host near neigh­bours Devon­shire Rovers at the Ot­tery Fer­ness sports ground.

Rovers have been strug­gling to get things go­ing this sea­son af­ter hav­ing lost a few key play­ers at the start of the cam­paign.

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