This article first appeared on www.britishbaseball.org
There was plenty to savour in Week 9 of the BBF’s National Baseball League, with heavyweights London Mets and Bracknell Blazers splitting their doubleheader in the weekend’s big showdown, Essex Arrows recording their first wins of the season, a comfortable sweep for the Richmond Flames and an impressive brace of triumphs for the Southampton Mustangs.
NBL Special Reporter Simon Fitzjohn provides the details.
There is only one place to start this week’s round-up: the NBL’s top two teams going head-to-head. Fittingly, London Mets and Bracknell Blazers were to share their doubleheader. The Blazers eased to a 10-3 win in Game One, with Henry Collins taking the win, but the Mets struck back with a 7-1 win in Game Two thanks to strong pitching from Jason Roberts and home runs from Jonathan Cramman and Reid Wilson. Bracknell‘s Rob Rance said, “I am very satisfied with splitting the doubleheader. We showed some real guts in both games and I am pretty happy. “I think a split against a team like London is huge in terms of confidence. To prove yourself against the bigger sides is really important and it helps you build a bit of momentum.”
Herts Falcons @ Southampton Mustangs
Dan Kerry returned after several weeks on the DL but even his come back wasn’t enough for the Falcons to overcome the Mustangs (photo by www.hp2photographic.com)
The Southampton Mustangs closed in on a .500 record for the season by seeing off the stuttering Herts Falconsto the tune of 8-2 and 7-6. Chuck Truelson pitched the win in Game One. Lee Ralph earned the verdict in Game Two, thanks in part to Oscar Sierra’s home run. Southampton‘s Ben Davis said, “They were both tough games and we really had to be at our best. We made very few mistakes and that makes a very big difference. We got ourselves out of a couple of jams and deserved the wins. “We are finally hitting our stride as a group of players,” Davis added, “and hopefully we can carry that on.”
Essex Arrows @ Mildenhall Bulldogs
Essex won their first games of the season against the Mildenhall Bulldogs. They are still i with a chance of reaching the playoffs.
The Essex Arrows finally eased into the win column after eight weeks of frustration, sweeping the struggling Mildenhall Bulldogs on their own turf. Essex claimed 1-0 and 8-4 wins as they ended a streak of 11 losing games. Game One was a real pitching duel, with Matt Gilbert squeezing past Nick Chenausky thanks to Luke Foley’s RBI single. In Game Two, Richard Chesterton outpitched Mike McClure as the Arrows completed the sweep. Arrows coach Phil Chesterton said: “I am really delighted. All of our hard work is coming to fruition. Our defence was magnificent and in the first game it was a remarkable performance from Matt. I know Mildenhall had some players missing but this is great for us. “I always thought we would start clicking around the half-way point,” Chesterton added, and that is proving the case.” A dejected Gabriel Macias said: “It is very frustrating at the moment and we have certainly had better days. I have a core of six guys but apart from that it really is a case of who turns up. “Essex played really well today, though, and I take nothing away from them.”
Croydon Pirates @ Richmond Flames
The Richmond Flames subdued the improving Croydon Pirates by 8-0 and 15-1 scorelines, taking control of third place in the process. Ryan Bird outpitched Jose Sosa in Game One, with Carlos Mancheno claiming the win in a more one-sided Game Two. Richmond‘s Grant Delzoppo said, “I think Croydon have definitely improved but it was a good two wins for us. We had some good pitching and some very good defence. We got leads in both games and never really looked back. We were pretty much in control and I am happy with the two wins.”