Tuatara sweep Blue Sox, win seventh game in a row

By Te Ao - Māori News

Yonny Hernandez is hit in the head with a pitch (Photo SMPIMAGES.COM / Baseball.com.au)

The Auckland Tuatara are on a red hot streak in the Australian Baseball League, after a 6-4 win over the Sydney Blue Sox today in Albany. It means they take first place in the Northeast Division with an 11-9 record, having won their last seven games in a row. They also swept the previously first placed Blue Sox, the first time they'd achieved that feat on New Zealand soil.

Last night saw one of the best finishes you can witness in sport - a game winning home run by Korean outfielder Kim Won-seok sending the side to a 7-4 win after being down 4-1 after four innings.

It was a big day for Won-seok, who finished with two homers and five RBI’s. The win was the second in a day for the Tuatara, who won the earlier leg of the double header 5-2. This was to make up for a rain-delayed Friday night game, and after a 6-2 win on Thursday.

Things couldn’t have started much better for the home side, with a 1-2-3 innings to retire the Blue Sox batters from Josh Collmentor, then a base hit off the very first pitch by Sonny Hernandez. The Venezuelan then stole a base to get himself into scoring position.

After Jonny Homza was walked, Josh Morgan drove Hernandez home with a line drive to right field. Jared Walker then benefitted from a bad error in centre field, getting a single and bringing Homza home. 

But they weren’t done there, with Andrew Marck sent a sacrifice fly deep to score another run, this time Jared Walker crossing home plate.

There was a scary moment in the second innings when Hernandez was hit on the head by a pitch, forcing him out of the game. Things went pear-shaped for the Tuatara in the fourth innings, with their lead erased in the space of two pitches. First Andy Burns slammed a bomb over the left field fence, then Michael Crouse repeated with a home run over centre field to make the score 3-3.

The big moment came in the fifth, when the Tuatara loaded the bases to give them a chance to get them back ahead. They got there via a pass ball that beat Blue Sox catcher Jack Murphy and allowed Hozma to scoot home and give them a 4-3 lead.

Andrew Marck then stepped up and played the hero role, blasting a line drive double out to the centre field that brought home two more runs and a 6-3 advantage.

Alex Howe made life interesting in the seventh innings with a solo home run for the Blue Sox, but Lucas Jacobsen closed the game out on the mound for the historic win. The Tuatara now travel to Adelaide on the 27th to start another four game series against the Giants.