Softball: Red-hot Saints resume with pair of crushing wins

Tim Howard
Tim Howard
It is getting difficult to avoid the cliche of ''Saints march on'' in the premier competition.

Saints resumed after the holiday in familiar style with a pair of crushing wins at Ellis Park on Saturday.

They took their record to an impressive 12-3 with wins over Cardinals (17-1) and Ellis Park (13-1), and their lead at the top of the table is now 14 points.

Saints polished off Cardinals inside four innings, scoring four runs in the first inning, seven in the second, one in the third and five in the fourth.

Tim Howard belted a two-run homer for Saints in the second inning, and added an RBI double. Other highlights in the brutal 20-hit performance included run-scoring triples from both Conor O'Neill and Michael O'Neill, and an RBI double from Lachlan Brensell.

Ellis Park provided a little more resistance, surviving five innings against Saints.

A first inning featuring multiple wild pitches and a couple of singles gave Saints an early 3-0 lead.

Both Howard and Michael O'Neill whacked triples in the second inning, creating three runs between them, before Conor O'Neill hit a home run in the third.

Ryan Williams scored a double and a run for Ellis Park in the fourth, but Saints quickly snuffed out any hint of a comeback as both Howard and Michael Crowley hit two-RBI singles.

The game of the day was a marathon, Ellis Park pipping Dodgers 10-9 over nine eventful innings.

Dodgers grabbed an early 4-0 lead following a Matt Watts triple and a Corey Wilson double, but Ellis Park pounced on errors to take a 6-5 buffer into the seventh and, usually, final inning.

Three Dodgers runs were followed by two Ellis Park runs (both off wild pitches), with two outs, so the game went to extra innings.

Both teams scored in the eighth - Tom Snow batted in Andrew Wilson for Dodgers, and Pete Mathieson scored Will Meiklejohn for Ellis Park - before Dodgers drew a blank at the top of the ninth.

That gave Ellis Park a window and Josh Ludlow, who had started on second base under tiebreaker rules, scored the winning run.

In the final game, Cardinals played effective small ball to beat Dodgers 10-0.