From BSUK NBL Correspondent Simon Fitzjohn. This article was first published on www.britishbaseball.org
It was a field day for the road teams on June 20, with all six National Baseball League games going the way of the away side. League leaders Bracknell Blazers and London Mets continued to flex their muscles atop the standings, while the Southampton Mustangs continued to show signs of improvement.
BRACKNELL @ ESSEX
The Blazers eased to a sweep by virtue of 15-2 and 10-2 victories against the Essex Arrows. Mike Trask pitched a complete game to claim the win in Game One, with Matt Maitland taking the mound honours in Game Two. Matt Gilbert and Richard Chesterton were the losing pitchers.
Bracknell coach Rob Rance said: “It was a case of getting the job done. We had a couple of our guys back from university and we brought some guys up from AAA and it was great to see we are becoming such a solid unit. The platform is there for us to take things on and have a great season.”
Essex coach Phil Chesterton was far from downbeat despite the losses. He said: “I certainly don’t think we disgraced ourselves. I’m not going to be too down about it. We are continuing to play much, much better. Bracknell are easily the best hitting team we have faced and in the main we lived with them.
LONDON @ HERTS
The Mets moved into top gear at Herts, cruising to impressive 11-0 and 30-5 wins. Jason Roberts and Rob Anthony claimed the pitching wins, but it was on offense that London really hit form. Dan Williams led the way, going 8 for 8 with two home runs, including a grand slam. Kyle Hickson also homored to leave Mets coach Alex Pike purring. “There were shades of our 2008 team out there on Sunday,” he said. “I am very happy with how the guys played and everyone in our line-up hit. Strangely enough, I do not think Herts played that badly – we were just that good.”
Herts’ manager Jason Greenberg was less enthusiastic about how his team performed. “We failed to execute in every sense,” said Greenberg. “Pitching, hitting, fielding… everything was a bust this week. There’s not much more to say. We know we’re a quality team, and it’s time to start playing like it.”
SOUTHAMPTON @ CROYDON
Southampton won the battle of the sides with top-four aspirations, rolling to 9-7 and 18-7 wins in Croydon. Gary Davison and Dave Wrigley took the wins, with Tim Ssali and Jose Sosa saddled with the losses.
Game One was the real thriller, with the Pirates coming close to clinching victory in the seventh inning, only to succumb in the eighth and the Mustangs took that momentum into a more routine Game Two win.
Pirates coach Dave Ward said: “We were really hoping to split the two games but it was not to be. Our problem at the moment seems to be conceding runs early on in games. We are always on the back foot and having to chase games and it is a case of trying to keep our spirits up.”