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Auckland Tuatara win first home game in almost three years, defeating Sydney Blue Sox


Staff member
Dec 16, 2021
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The Auckland Tuatara have marked their return to New Zealand with a 2-1 win over Sydney Blue Sox at North Harbour Stadium on Friday night.
The Tuatara had not played in New Zealand in two years, nine months before this game and they gave the 1117 spectators at the stadium plenty to cheer about with an audacious move at the bottom of the sixth, to snatch this seven inning game.

The key moment in the win, which move the Tuatara to 5 and 4 or the season, came when Max Biggers stole home with Yi Kai Wang on the mound.

Seldom does a runner on third base try to steal home and its even rarer that it works, but the move paid off as Wang tried to pick off another Tuatara runner who was on first base.

* Baseball is back in New Zealand, with Auckland Tuatara returning after 1027 days away
* Steve Mintz: Winning series away to Canberra was huge for Auckland Tuatara
* Former MLB pitcher impresses as Auckland Tuatara win weekend series against Canberra

Tuatara manager Steve Mintz said he and Biggers saw that there was the potential to steal home.

That lefty when he was going to first base, it was a slow pickoff, Mintz said of Wang.

So Biggers was seeing it and we put a steal on. Bigger extended his lead at third and if that guy went to first base, he was always going to go.

Credit to him. Its hard for me to relay that but having that baseball instinct and IQ, that helped us out right there.

He did exactly what I wanted him to do and we got the run.

To attempt to steal home, indicates that Mintz is looking for the Tuatara to play aggressive baseball this year and score in any way they can.

We dont have the speed weve had, Mintz said.

But there are still opportunities where we can take an extra 90 feet and well take advantage of it.

It was a tight game that was always likely to come down to one big moment and neither team were able to make the most of a number of other opportunities against quality pitching.

In the bottom of the third inning the Tuatara loaded the bases with one out and Matt Feinstein brought in a run with a sacrifice fly to centre field, but Tzu-Wei Lin was caught in a rundown attempting to get to third base, brharapg an end to the inning.

In the top of the fourth, with two out Sydneys Jase Bowen was tagged trying to steal home. However, in the next inning the Blue Sox got onto the board, thanks to a Sammy Siani home run to right field off Huei-Sheng Lin.

But the Tuatara went back in front in the bottom of the sixth, when with runners on the corners and two out Biggers made a dash to steal home and unlike Bowen, he successfully pulled off the move.

That left Oscar Nakaoshi in a position to pitch for the save. He struck out Ernny Ordonez, but Siani and Dylan Shockley both hit singles.

Solomon Maguire grounded out, but the Tuatara werent quite able to turn a double play.

So the Blue Sox were down to their last out with runners at first and third.

Mitch Austin hit the ball straight to Nakaoshi on the mound and even though his throw to first base was high, Clayton Campbell Jr managed to grab it and step on the base to end the game.

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