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Reds Back On Top

19 January 1998

The Melbourne Reds regained top spot on the ABL table after a 3/1 series win against the Adelaide Giants at Norwood Oval at the weekend. The Reds bats, which had struggled over the past two series, returned to form to allow the Reds to rack up 35 runs in the 4 games.
Game 1 was a tight contest until the bottom of the 4th inning when Adelaide chalked up 3 runs. The Reds retalliated immediately in the 5th,courtesy of a grand slam from Ben Utting and held a 4/3 lead until the bottom of the 7th when Adelaide scored 2 runs to take the game.
Game 2 saw the Reds break open another tight game in the 3rd innings with 5 runs, then follow up with another 4 in the 4th. Derek Shumpert and Myles Barnden led the offensive charge with 3 hits and 2 hits respectively. Ben Utting also notched up his second home run of the night. The Reds held on to win 10/6. Mark Respondek pitched the last 4 innings to record the win.
In Game 3, the Reds took an early lead with solo Home Runs to Shane Hogan and import Raul Rodarte in the first inning.Adelaide regained the lead and held it until the 6th inning when the Reds bats exploded with 7 runs from 7 hits to lead 10/3. Shaky pitching from the Reds bullpen saw Adelaide almost steal the game in the 7th scoring 5 runs, but leaving the Reds with an unconvincing 10/8 victory. Dave White was credited with win.
Game 4 saw both sides score 2 runs in the first innings, but then the Giants bats came alive to score 6 runs in the 2nd. The Reds matched this in the 4th then took the lead in the 5th with a solo home run to Myles Barnden and another to Shane Hogan in the 6th. Not to be outdone, Adelaide tied the game with 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th. As the game went to extra innings the Reds took the lead when Andrew Utting's base hit scored Shane Hogan. The Reds then held the Giants scoreless to win 11/10. Warren May was the winning pitcher.

Reds Chairman Geoff Pearce said " Whilst we didn't play that well, to come away from Adelaide winning 3/1 was positive. We still have some players who are struggling a bit, but to win 3 out of 4 , and knowing some players will improve in the lead-up to finals, is very encouraging."

The Reds play 3 games, starting next Thursday, at Moorabbin against Perth Heat, in what should be an intriguing contest.

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