There was a reduced schedule of games last Sunday in the British Baseball leagues, in part due to the continuing umpire saga. Hopefully everyone can get back out on the field this weekend.
The games that were played produced plenty of stories, setting up some interesting battles for this coming Sunday.
Memorable day for the Mustangs
The Southampton Mustangs made it four wins from four in the only action from the National Baseball League.
They followed up an Opening Day double-header sweep of Herts Falcons with two victories at home against the Essex Arrows. Buoyed by their appearance on the BBC One South Today programme, the Mustangs shut-out the Arrows in a 5-0 win before taking the second game 8-2.
The wins ensured the Mustangs retain their early lead in Pool A heading into a scheduled double-header away to Croydon Pirates (1-1) on Sunday. The other NBL double-headers will be Bracknell Blazers at Essex Arrows, Herts Falcons at London Mets, Mildenhall Bulldogs at Richmond Flames and Lakenheath Diamondbacks at Southern Nationals.
Meanwhile the Southampton Mustangs II took over top spot in the A South Pool B division with a 17-1 win over Herts Raptors.
The game will live long in the Mustangs’ memory as Dave Wrigley pitched the first no-hitter in the organization’s history. It was similar to the no-no that the Minnesota Twins’ Francisco Liriano pitched on Tuesday. Wrigley allowed seven free passes and added a hit-by-pitch for good measure, but some good pitches at key moments and impressive defence kept the Raptors from recording a hit and made it a day to remember. The Mustangs II drove home eight runs in the seventh and final inning to seal an emphatic victory.
Wins in the A-South for Royals, Old Timers and Rays
Staying in the A-South, both Cambridge Royals and Old Timers joined the Mustangs II on 2-0 records.
The Royals won 17-7 against Tonbridge at Coldham’s Common, while the Old Timers got the better of London Marauders in a high-scoring affair. The Old Timers ran out 23-17 in a game full of twists and turns. The Marauders can count themselves unfortunate to notch so many runs yet to come out on the losing side and it will be interesting to see how they respond at Cambridge on Sunday.
Braintree Rays recovered from a 6-3 deficit to beat Guildford Mavericks II, plating five runs in the top of the ninth to take the game away from their opponent and to give the Rays their first win of the season.
AA: More wins for the Maple Leafs and Mavericks
The Humber Pilots and Bolton Robots of Doom both swept double-headers on Opening Day in the AA-North to give extra bite to the two teams’ meeting this coming Sunday. The Pilots took two against Manchester Torrent, while the Robots got the better of Oldham North Stars.
Birmingham Maple Leafs are setting the pace in the AA Midlands. They improved to 4-0 with two wins against the Nottingham Rebels. Despite taking two more losses, the Rebels showed once again that they are a new team full of promise and their match-up against the Leicester Blue Sox this Sunday should provide two very competitive games. The Blue Sox took two comfortable victories against the Blue Sox 2 team to get their first wins of the season.
In the South, the Guildford Mavericks improved to 2-0 with a big win over the Richmond Dragons. The Mavericks had ten-run innings in the fifth and sixth frames to set up a 27-7 victory. Poole Piranhas, Croydon Pirates III and Essex Archers all picked up their first wins of the year.
AAA – Trojans take two, Badgers remain unbeaten
In the AAA-North, Liverpool Trojans jumped to 4-0 following two wins against the Menwith Hill Patriots. The first game finished 11-0 but was a closer contest then that suggests with one big ten-run inning costing the Patriots dearly. They tried to make amends in the second game and held a 2-1 lead heading into the fifth inning, only for the Trojans to score five runs over the next three frames. The Patriots made it close in the bottom of the seventh, but fell one run short of taking the game into extra innings, ultimately losing out 5-4.
The potential of an all 4-0 contest between the Trojans and Manchester A’s this Sunday was scuppered when the latter’s games against Halton Jaguars were postponed due to a lack of umpires. That does still mean that two unbeaten starts will be on the line, though.
In the South, the Bristol Badgers are now the only team that remain unbeaten and they lead the division as a result. The Badgers took two wins against the AAA newcomers Richmond Knights (0-4), while the reigning champion Oxford Kings had to play their games against Essex Redbacks a man down. They still put up a good fight, but the Redbacks proved too strong in the end and ruined the Kings’ unbeaten start to the season.
The Redbacks’ two wins improved their record to 3-1 and they are the next in line to try to bring down the Badgers on Sunday. The London Metros have also climbed to 3-1 after they swept a double-header over the Windsor & Bracknell Bears.