Newport Rams have closed out their three-game series against plucky bottom-of-the-ladder outfit Springvale Lions with an emphatic shut-out victory.
After pipping the Lions by a single run in each of the first two Baseball Victoria summer league division 2 games, the Rams claimed the series sweep with a resounding 9-0 victory on the road at KH Wearne Reserve in Dingley Village on Sunday.
Rams playing coach David Asp was relieved to have a more comfortable result after a tough series.
“A nine-zip win is always a good feeling,” he said.
Newport used the penultimate series of the regular season to rest some big-name players and promote youth.
With a finals spot already wrapped up, the series provided an opportunity for the Rams of the future to get a taste of senior baseball while allowing some of the veterans a chance to freshen up.
“It wasn’t the usual outfit that we’d put out there,” Asp said.
“It’s good to get a few of the younger kids in. It got them a few at-bats and a few innings.”
That is not to say the veterans did not have a big say in the nine-run thrashing.
Asp filed six innings for no runs, while David Land got four hits.
“It’s not just the young blokes doing stuff,” Asp said with a chuckle.
“Him and I have played together since under 12s, so that’s over 30 years and that’s one of the good things about baseball. The kids keep us honest, though.”
The future was on show, with Nathan Smith, an under-16 Victorian representative, pitching two innings and James Walshe closing.
Neither conceded a run.
Calling the game from behind the plate was young catcher Mason Wray, an under-18 Victorian representative, while Connor Schibeci had two hits on debut.
Asp is excited by the young talent coming through.
“There’s a few old blokes just hanging on and a couple of young blokes pushing through,” he said.
“It’s a good mix of old and young, which is great.”
Currently third, Newport cannot finish the regular season any lower.
The Rams will head into the final three-game series, against Port Melbourne Mariners, with a chance of snatching second.
“We’ll use the last series to work out a few kinks, give some of the older guys a rest and then it’s full steam into finals,” Asp said.
Meanwhile, Williamstown Wolves had a comprehensive 14-1 win over Mulgrave Rebels on Sunday.
The Wolves swept the three-game series.