The British baseball season was entering its second Sunday of full competition across all four leagues, while water companies had announced hosepipe bans in various regions around the British Isles.
It was always going to pour down; you didn’t need Michael Fish promising a heatwave to know what was coming our way.
Consequently, many games understandably fell foul of the weather with the persistent rain leaving fields unfit for play. However, some games were able to be played here and the weather was kinder in Prague where the London Mets Pony Team were competing in the SUMA European Qualifier.
National Baseball League – GB Juniors joining in
One game was played in the National Baseball League. The Southampton Mustangs lifted themselves above a .500 record with a 6-2 victory over Lakenheath Diamondbacks. The two teams had split a double-header on Opening Day at Croydon and they were back at Dave Ward Field on Sunday.
The Mustangs took an early lead with two runs in the first inning and starting pitcher Gary Davison, alongside some impressive fielding, made sure that the Diamondbacks were never able to catch back up. Davison picked up the pitching win for the Mustangs, conceding two runs with six strike-outs and only four hits allowed, with the Mustangs improving to 3-2 on the season.
The Southampton-Lakenheath game was one part of a new venture by the BBF. The day of baseball at Croydon involved two NBL teams meeting for one NBL game and then both playing a game against the GB Juniors.
The GB Juniors will face all of the NBL teams this season in preparation for their European Championship qualifier in France later this year. As you would expect, the Mustangs and Diamondbacks both came out on top over their youthful rivals, but Head Coach Will Lintern’s comments on the BBF website show that the young stars of Great Britain’s future will have benefitted from challenging themselves against a tough standard of competition.
Mets Pony Team does British baseball proud
The London Mets Pony Team represented British baseball in outstanding style in the Pony Group stage SUMA European Qualifier in Prague, making it all the way through to the semi-finals.
The Mets topped their group with a perfect 3-0 record, starting with a memorable 10-5 victory over the Israeli National team and then winning twice on Friday against Technika Brno of the Czech Republic and BC Vilnius of Lithuania respectively. A comprehensive 11-1 win over another Czech team, Hlubloka, set up a semi-final under lights against a German Academy All Star team. Sadly, that’s where the Mets’ dreams ended, yet their tournament play can only be seen as a great success.
Congratulations to all involved for showing the rest of Europe that we have some talented youngsters here in the U.K. Further details on the tournament can be found on the London Mets’ website.
Back around the leagues
The Liverpool Trojans won twice at home against the Menwith Hill Patriots to make it four wins from four in 2012 and to continue their residence at the top of the AAA-North standings. The Essex Redbacks have matched the Trojans’ 4-0 start in the South after they picked up two wins against the London Metros.
Last year’s AA-Midlands champions MK Bucks got their division defence underway with an 8-5 win over the Maple Leafs; however the Bucks needed a five-run seventh inning to fend off a spirited display by Birmingham. Meanwhile the Leicester Blue Sox followed up their Opening Day victory over the Birmingham Maple Leafs with a 26-9 win over the Stourbridge Titans. The result was the perfect way for the Blue Sox to toast the official unveiling of their new Sport England-funded backstop structure at Western Park.
In the AA-South, BBF league newcomers the Latin Tigers and the Daws Hill Spitfires both got their first ever wins at the second time of asking. The Croydon Pirates III scored eleven runs in the final two innings to get past a depleted Herts Hawks team with a 19-9 win, while Southampton Mustangs II showed their debut Double-A victory on Opening Day was no fluke by winning 18-3 on the road against the Brentwood Stags.
In Single-A, the Essex Archers made it two wins on the spin to start the season with a comfortable 33-3 victory over the developing Richmond Dukes side. The Herts Raptors defeated the Essex Redbacks III 9-0, while the Herts Eagles just fell short in a dramatic high-scoring affair with the Guildford Mavericks II. Guildford took the win by a score of 22-19 to improve their season record to 2-0.
British baseball will once again be at the mercy of the weather, putting an asterisk next to every potential fixture either due to rain on the day of the game or the diamond being rendered unplayable due to downpours this week.
No one will be keener for games to go ahead this weekend than the Essex Redbacks. Former Eurovision contestant and Laindon resident Josh Dubovie will officially open the Essex Redbacks Baseball Club’s new Pony and adult diamond at Forest Glade Football Club on Saturday 28 April.
According to the Redbacks’ press release:
Josh, who performed live to a television audience of tens of millions at the Song Contest in 2010, will sing and entertain the crowds before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Forest Glade Ponies’ first match against the Feltwell Redbacks – the newest team to join the Redbacks Baseball Club.
Josh will be presented with an Essex Redbacks playing shirt, alongside fellow VIP Kevin Blake, Basildon’s Councillor for Leisure and Arts.
Josh said: “I’m honoured to be invited to perform and throw out the first ever pitch on the Redbacks’ new diamond at Forest Glade Football Club. The Club has made great developments since it set up three years ago and I am looking forward to being involved in their continued progress.”
The matches at Forest Glade Football Club on Saturday 28 April are the first home competitive games of the season for the Redbacks junior section.
Fingers crossed that Essex, and many other clubs around the country, will be able to play ball this weekend.