Burgess Hill Colts capped a successful season in the BBF Leagues with promotion to the Premier Division, the top division in British baseball outside of the National League. The Colts, who finished second in Division 1 South, beat Herts Falcons 13-12 in a breath-taking extra-innings playoff on Sunday, Sept 10. Burgess Hill will take the place of the Falcons’, who finished one off the bottom in Premier Division South.
The result will sweeten the end of the Colts’ season after they reached the final of the Division 1 Final 4 on Sept 3 but fell to Northampton in the last inning. This time it was Burgess Hill who stole the victory late on, coming from 10-6 down after six innings to tie it and go ahead 12-10 in the top of the ninth before Herts forced extra innings with two tying runs in the bottom of the inning. The Falcons had already mounted an early-innings fight-back to take an 8-5 lead after the fifth inning. In the bottom of the ninth they loaded the bases twice to bring the score to 12-12 with a couple of RBI singles but could not bring home the winning run.
In the top of the tenth, the Colts’ Gary Still singled in Steve Cull to go ahead again 13-12. With the pressure on, Herts’ Aspi Dimitrov got agressive, leading off with a single and stealing second, then third base, but his path home was cut short as the three batters following him struck out at the mercy of young Colt Gary Davison, who struck out a total of 16 across his complete-game showing.
The defeat and return to Division 1 baseball halts the rapid progress the Herts Falcons have made over the past couple of years. Dimitrov said, “It is a major setback for our club but we are determined to work our way back and come back stronger next year.”
The Colts, meanwhile, are enjoying a speedy climb in the manner which Herts have exhibited previously. When Herts won promotion to the Premier Division in 2004, not long after joining the BBF Leagues, Burgess Hill were only just putting together a senior team from their successful junior programme.
report courtesy of www.baseballsoftballuk.com