BELMONT continued their remarkable run of success in the Newcastle Major League, qualifying for their 27th straight top-grade grand final with a 12-5 win over Phoenix Charlestown on Sunday.
They will be playing for a 10th straight title when they take on Toronto in Saturday’s decider at Waterboard Oval.
The Seagulls started strongly at Miller Field on Sunday, scoring in each of the first five digs to lead 7-2.
The hosts got to within three runs after the sixth, but the Seagulls used all of their big-game experience to take the game out of reach, adding five in the last two innings.
Belmont outfielder Jace Poole led the offence from the top of the order with two singles, a double and a home run. Catcher Sam Brown also hit the ball out of the park to go with his single and two RBIs.
Chris Brown’s solo homer was the highlight for a Phoenix line-up that collected 11 hits but never seriously threatened to clip the Seagulls’ wings.
Tim Cox did his part in keeping Phoenix in check, restricting the Gateshead boys to two runs and four hits in his five innings.
It will be the fourth grand final match-up for the Lake Macquarie rivals since 2012.
Belmont have won all three of the past encounters, but the Tigers will be desperate to change that record and secure their maiden first-grade premiership.
The two powerful clubs will also meet in Saturday’s second-grade grand final after Belmont beat Boomerangs in the preliminary final on Sunday.
Boomers scored three in the top of the eighth to fall agonisingly short of an upset victory at Miller Field.
Toronto’s Nic Anderson-Vine and Jake Amos (Belmont) will be welcome addition for their clubs on grand final day after helping Australia to fifth place at the under-18 World Cup in Canada last weekend.
Australia missed out on the medal games after losing 9-0 to eventual champions USA in their final Super Round Game. The tournament record was four wins and four losses.
Anderson-Vine had the team’s best batting average, .385. Amos and Rixon Wingrove (Phoenix) were in the top two for slugging percentage and were the only Australians to hit home runs at the tournament.
Results went to script in lower-grade grand finals at Windsor Park on Saturday.
Minor premiers Phoenix thumped the Seagulls 15-4 in third grade, while third-placed University proved no match for Lakers in fourths.
Lakers, who were second after the regular season, triumphed 19-7 to give the club its second title for the year.
Lakers beat Woodberry 8-7 the previous weekend to secure the sixth-grade crown.
Aaron Judge homered twice on Sunday in the New York Yankees’ series-clinching 16-7 win at Texas, becoming only the second Major League Baseball rookie with a 40-homer season.
He also joined Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle as the only Yankees to hit 40 homers at age 25 or younger.
Mark McGwire hit 49 homers as a rookie for Oakland in 1987.