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Reds March to Playoffs

9 February 1998

The Melbourne Reds secured a place in this years FAI Cup finals series with a win against arch rival Melbourne Monarchs on Friday night. Needing one win in the final series to clinch a playoff spot, the Reds put a scare in their camp, by letting a 4-2 lead turn into a 5-4 loss on the Thursday night. After leading 4-2 in the top of the seventh inning, the Monarchs rallied in the bottom of the seventh, to lock the game 4-4. The score remained at 4-4 until the bottom of the ninth when with 2 out, and runners on second and third, Clayton Byrne safely hit to centrefield, to score the winning run.

Adam Burton showed why he has been nominated for MVP honors, by hitting two home runs in blustery conditions.

Friday nights game became a must win for the Reds. Both the Reds and the Monarchs scored early, but with Pat Ahearne doing a great job on the mound, the Monarchs were held until the seventh inning, which allowed the Reds to open a break on their rivals. The Reds went into the bullpen, to give Ahearne a much needed break. Going into the final inning, the Reds had opened up a 5-2 break on the Monarchs. Once again, a scare was put through the Reds camp with their lead reduced to 5-4, with none out and runners on base. David White was summoned to the mound, and he did a great job in containing the Monarchs, keeping them scoreless, and securing the win for the Reds.

With their place in the four now secure, the Reds were looking for a win to improve their position in the four, but rain forced the abandonment of the game leaving the Reds in third position.

Reds operations manager Bruce Utting said "It's an exciting and challenging time to be back in the playoffs, especially when you consider that apart from Adam Burton and one or two others this is basically the same team that finished at the bottom of the table last year. Alot of the players have taken the next step and returned the Reds to the top of the table, where they belong. We have been hot and cold all year but have shown when we are hot we can beat any side in the playoffs. With the new playoffs format we are looking forward to an exciting week of baseball and hope many of our fans get out to Altona to support us."

The finals series will be played on Tuesday 10th, Wednesday 11th, Thursday 12th.
Tuesday at 7:30 Melbourne Reds Vs Sydney Storm
Wednesday at 2:30 Melbourne Reds Vs Gold Coast Cougars
Thursday at 7:30 Melbourne Reds Vs Melbourne Monarchs

The championship series will be played on Saturday 14th February, and Sunday 15th February between the top two teams of the finals series. It will be played in a best of three format.

For further information contact Bruce Utting or Rob Cameron at the Reds office on 9553 3202, or Bruce on mobile on 0412 407 364

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