The Penrith Baseball Club will look for back to back premierships when they battle Macarthur in the NSW State Baseball League Grand Final.
After surprising the league last season to win the 2014/15 premiership, the Panthers will now take on the Orioles in a best of three Grand Final series.
With relatively the same team plus a few new faces, Panthers coach Shane Summersford knew he had the side to compete and once again return to the top.
“I believe with some of the acquisitions we made during the off-season that we had a better side this year than last year,” he told the Weekender.
“We had Greg Collins come over from the United States and Dennis Nover come up from second grade while Penrith boy James Yates returned home after a season in Blacktown.”
After finishing the regular season in third place, the Panthers qualified for their second straight Grand Final following big wins against Manly and Blacktown in the playoffs.
After demolishing Manly in the semi finals, the Panthers had a real battle on their hands when they took on the second-placed Blacktown in the finals.
Penrith took out Game 1 last Wednesday 13-4 before Blacktown stormed back to even the series with a 13-4 thrashing of their own last Saturday night.
With the series in the balance Penrith managed to show great composure to get their minds back on the task to defeat Blacktown 9-1 in Game 3 and advance to the decider.
“Our pitching wasn’t great on Saturday night. We threw a lot of balls and walks which put us behind the eight ball,” Summersford said.
“After the game I told the boys they needed to maintain patience with the bat, and they did just that on Sunday.”
After losing to Macarthur on two occasions already this season, Penrith will need to be at their absolute best to overcome the competition’s best team.
“There’s always a bitter rivalry between the western suburbs teams and it’ll be no different in the Grand Final,” Summersford said.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.