Corowa grabbed second spot after a nerve-wracking win over fellow top four contenders Kiewa on Saturday.
Chasing Corowa’s 8-167, the visitors looked like causing an upset at 4-125.
But Mark Athanitis was excellent, snaring 5-32 from nine overs.
“I think they needed only 70 off the last 15 overs, so we were in trouble, it was hot, we were tired and we were missing one of our key bowlers in Joe Hansen,” captain-coach Daniel Athanitis said.
“But Mark turned it around, he had a really good second spell.
“He changes his pace a lot, mixes it right up, which is perfect for our wicket.”
Craig Pontt top-scored with 35, but Kiewa just couldn’t get another player to pass 20, although a number chipped in with handy scores, including Kelven Bailey (19), in the 9-157.
Daniel Athanitis also snared 3-18 to support his brother.
Earlier, Corowa had three players post 30 or more.
Nathan Rhodes struck six boundaries in his 39, Jarred Lane hit 36 in his first innings of the season, while Kade Wilson was unbeaten on 30.
Wilson and Lane combined in a 52-run stand for the sixth wicket.
Corowa has now jumped Kiewa and Mount Beauty, but still trails Baranduda by three wins.
Baranduda’s Tim Farrant starred in the 55-run win over Howlong.
Farrant struck 13 boundaries and four sixes in his stunning 113 not out as the visitors posted 6-244.
Tim Ruaro was terrific with 3-19 from nine overs.
Howlong’s Tim Seymour (60) and Caleb Hobbs (55) played well as the home team scored a respectable 8-199.
Eskdale’s John Purtell also scored a ton against Barnawartha-Chiltern.
Purtell (101) and Jamie Baude (76) combined in a monster 194-run partnership for the third wicket in the total of 4-252.
The Miners replied with 133 with Purtell rounding out a superb match with 3-27, while Jye Hodgkin grabbed 3-16.
Yackandandah stunned Mount Beauty.
Cooper Garoni made 29 in the home outfit’s 9-134.
The visitors compiled just 120, Alastair Randell the only player to make more than 17 with 47 at number eight.
Mitch Maginness claimed 3-11.
And Dederang crushed Bethanga.
Andrew Creamer struck 50 in the 8-210, while Bethanga was restricted to 7-113.