This report by Simon Fitzjohn was firtst published on www.britishbaseball.org
It was the day of the underdogs in Week 13 of the BBF’s National Baseball League on Sunday, July 18 as both the Croydon Pirates and Herts Falcons sprang surprises. Expected to be brushed aside by heavyweight rivals London Mets and Richmond Flames, both Croydon and Herts each battled to earn a split in their two-game sets. In other action, Southampton Mustangs boosted their top-four aspirations with a sweep of Essex Arrows.
NBL Special Correspondent Simon Fitzjohn reports:
RICHMOND FLAMES @ HERTS FALCONS
Herts kept their season alive by fighting their way to a split in two wildly contrasting games. Game One was a real pitching duel between Herts’ Pete Kikel and Richmond’s Cody Cain, with the Falcons pitcher emerging triumphant thanks in part to Kimiyoshi Saionji’s home run in a 2-1 win. The Flames bounced back in Game Two, breaking open a tight contest late. Carlos Mancheno and Grant Delzoppo clubbed homers, helping Michael Osborn to the 11-6 win.
Grant Delzoppo said: “I am disappointed we had to settle for a split, as I thought we had chances to win both games. We had lots of opportunities in Game One but didn’t take them, so I am pretty happy that we came back in Game Two like we did.”
Herts’ stand-in coach Marty Cullen said: “I am really happy. We had nine guys out there who gave their all and it was a real gritty display. If we had had a decent bench we could have even have won both games, but we are happy with picking up the one win.”
LONDON METS @ CROYDON PIRATES
In one of the biggest turnarounds of the season, the Croydon Pirates responded to being thrashed 11-1 in Game One by stunning the league leaders by the same scoreline in Game Two. Jason Roberts earned the win in the first game, sentencing Jose Sosa to defeat, but Tim Ssali pitched a gem for Croydon in the second game, with Callum Woods saddled with the loss. Beaming Croydon coach Dave Ward said: “For us to come back in that fashion is fantastic. We completely turned things around. I think they were shocked by how we came out in Game Two. “We rested Tim last week so he would be ready for today,” Ward continued, “and he was almost unbeatable. It was a great performance and a great day.”
ESSEX ARROWS @ SOUTHAMPTON MUSTANGS
Southampton kept things ticking over nicely by seeing off the Arrows by way of 5-3 and 12-6 scorelines. Lee Ralph took the mound honours in Game One, with Gary Davison smashing a home run, and it was Davison himself who pitched the win in Game Two. Mustangs coach Ben Davis said: “If someone had offered us this record at the start of the season we would gladly have taken it. I don’t think anybody expected this. “We are really proud of what we have achieved so far,” David added, “and we just need to keep plugging away for the rest of the season.”