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Sturt clinch drought breaking premiership
Bite big guns guide Saints to title
03/25/2019 9:53 PM ET
Sturt celebrates its SABL premiership, featuring Bite talents such as Tom Brice (coach), Angus Roeger, Jordan McArdle, Jackson Brebner-Russ, Wilson Lee and Mitch Lightbody.
Sturt celebrates its SABL premiership, featuring Bite talents such as Tom Brice (coach), Angus Roeger, Jordan McArdle, Jackson Brebner-Russ, Wilson Lee and Mitch Lightbody. (Baseball SA)

Another summer of baseball in Adelaide has come to an end as the Sturt Saints capped off a brilliant few days with their first SABL premiership since 1991.

They swept Goodwood in two games to clinch a 28-year drought breaking title in which Jordan McArdle (five hits, including two doubles, a triple and a homer) was named grand final MVP.

It was welcomed recognition for the 20-year-old while it continued a great run which saw Sturt all-rounder, and Bite eight-year veteran Wilson Lee named 2018/19 Capps Medallist on Wednesday.

Lee won his first Capps Medal by a whopping 16 votes, with his 39 well ahead of Jeremy Cresswell (Goodwood) in second and Landon Hernandez (Henley & Grange) in third.

Not to be ignored, Hernandez has finished second in the count the previous two years.

For many the individual awards handed out prior to the grand final meant nothing as the ultimate bragging rights were up for grabs.

Goodwood came in as defending champions yet Sturt had been the team to beat all year with just five losses in 30 games.

Two of those losses had been against Goodwood, however.

The opening game started with a bang as the Indians hit the scoreboard first, but McArdle's second inning homer sparked a comeback and after six innings it was a tight 3-3 ballgame.

As Jackson Brebner-Russ nearly went the distance with eight clutch innings for Sturt, Goodwood turned to Darren Fidge in relief.

The normally dependable Fidge was just off his game, and soon the bases were loaded on a walk and to hit pitches.

Sturt, they made him pay.

Unfortunately for Goodwood when they turned to the bullpen again and brought on Richard Olson their night worsened as he went down clutching his knee after a pitch.

That signalled the end as Sturt ran rampant with seven runs late in the game.

One day later they returned with confidence knowing a premiership was just nine innings away and with Capps Medallist Lee on the mound, it was always a tough ask for Goodwood and their starter Michael Gahan.

Very quickly the Saints built a 5-0 lead as the hot bats of McArdle, Harry Knuckey and Mitch Lightbody continued to fire, while defensive plays from the likes Dylan Ridding gave Goodwood little hope.

Lee, who finished with seven strikeouts, passed the ball to reliever Josh Tindall late and that's when the nervous moments came as 44-year-old Fidge sparked a fightback - but with the bat.

Fidge blasted a solo home run in the eighth before a two-run double from Josh Cakebread closed the gap to two runs.

But, Sturt needed just one out to clinch the title at that point and Tindall obliged, securing a well-earned victory for one of the most exciting SABL teams the league has seen.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.