IN CONTROL: Ipswich Musketeers pitcher Dean Jones.
IN CONTROL: Ipswich Musketeers pitcher Dean Jones. Kate Czerny

Musketeers repel rivals in a thriller

THE Ipswich Musketeers had to scrap until the bottom of the 11th innings yesterday to keep their unbeaten start to the Major League season intact.

Musketeers beat Redlands 9-8 at Tivoli after two extra innings, for a four and zero start to the season.

Scores were locked 5-5 at the end of nine innings yesterday and nothing changed in the 10th.

But in the 11th, Muskets relief pitcher Ethan King felt the pinch and Redlands added three runs for an 8-5 lead.

Muskets skipper Josh Roberts was walked to first before Greg Ellis' hit got him to first.

But when Anava Fesolai and Rhett Bramwell failed to get on base, the Muskets needed something special.

It was then veteran former coach Dave Suthers entered the game as a pinch hitter.

His hit to left field, got Roberts and Ellis home to trail 8-7.

Jake Suthers was then walked to first base and Andrew Carrall's hit to left field got Dave Suthers home to tie scores.

Andrew Campbell was then deliberately walked to first base and bases were loaded.

It brought Matt Allan to the plate, only to be thrown four straight balls by the tired Redlands pitcher, walking him to first base and bringing Jake Suthers home for the "winning run".

Jake, the nephew of Dave, spent last year between A and B grade for the Muskets when they were in the lower Pacific League.

So to have played a significant part in the top grade team's perfect start to its Major League season has been hugely satisfying for the youngster.

"I'm getting there," he said of his start to the season.

"My hitting's getting better the more swings I have.

"I thought the pitchers would be harder (in Major League). But we haven't had any really fast ones yet."

Suthers also doubles as a Muskets relief pitcher.

He pitched the last three innings in his team's 7-1 win over Redlands last Friday night.

"This is my first season pitching seriously," he said.

Suthers admitted things were getting tense when he came to bat in the 11th innings yesterday.

"It was getting long," he said.

"I just wanted to make sure I wasn't last out. I was just looking for something I could get hold of.

"It was good to come through after working so hard to get into it."

Andrew Campbell was the star of the show last Friday, hitting a single, double, triple and grand slam home run in the 7-1 win.

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