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Matt Smith is the editor and lead writer at BaseballGB. An Oakland A's fan, Matt has been obsessed with baseball since 1998 and started writing about the sport in 2006.

British Baseball Beat: Firewalks and Olympic Flames

The only place to start this week’s round-up is at Finsbury Park, where 44 players, staff members and parents walked across 600°C hot coals to raise money for the upcoming summer competitions contested by Great Britain teams of various age groups.

The ‘firewalk’ was complemented by a host of other festivities, including a home run derby – won by the Essex Arrows’ Giovanni Escalona – and games involving the GB Cadets, GB Juniors and the GB Under-23s teams.

Full details, including a ten-minute video of the firewalk fundraisers can be found on the BBF website.

Limited league action last weekend

There was a reduced schedule of games in the British Baseball leagues last weekend, with a limited number of fixtures initially on the list and the ‘Great British weather’ intervening as well (I think we can blame Her Majesty for the latter).

In the National Baseball League, the Southampton Mustangs were able to play their double-header against the Croydon Pirates on Saturday and the result was a double-header sweep for Southampton by scores of 13-1 and 10-7. The two victories meant that we had yet another change at the top of the standings, with the Mustangs pulling level with the Harlow Nationals on a 10-3 record, leading the 9-3 Herts Falcons by half a game.

The Mustangs have now won seven of their last eight games and they host the Essex Arrows this Sunday trying to add two more wins to their total. If they can achieve that then they will at least hold onto a share of the lead in the table for one further week, if not gaining a small advantage, as their two closest rivals are meeting in a double-header billed by Herts Baseball Club as the “biggest game of the season so far”.

The Falcons will welcome the reigning champions the Harlow Nationals to Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead for what should be a classic double-header, starting at midday.

Elsewhere, the Pirates host the Lakenheath Diamondbacks and the Bracknell Blazers host the London Mets.

In the other leagues, the Guildford Mavericks II improved to 8-0 in the AA-South with two comprehensive victories over the Croydon Pirates III team, while the London Metros technically added two wins to their tally in AAA-South due to forfeits by the now seemingly defunct Windsor and Bracknell Bears team.

Baseball not left out of the 2012 Games completely

Off the field, there was a great honour for Liverpool Trojans legend and British Baseball Hall-of-Famer Norman Wells as he carried the Olympic flame through Ormskirk on Friday morning. BaseballSoftballUK’s Jason Greenberg will also represent the whole of British baseball when he carries the torch through Merton, South London, on Monday 23 July.

This weekend’s schedule

On top of the NBL clashes mentioned above, there should be some good contests in British baseball this weekend.

The current weather forecast – for the south, at least – doesn’t look particularly encouraging, but hopefully baseball diamonds around the country can take centre stage after the Diamond Jubilee weekend just gone.

In Triple-A, the Liverpool Trojans put their long unbeaten run on the line against the Bolton Robots of Doom. Bolton are without a win so far this season, so the odds strongly favour the Trojans heading into the double-header. However, baseball doesn’t always work out the way you would expect.  The South Pool A leaders the Richmond Knights (11-3) host the 6-6 Cambridge Royals at Flood Field, while the Pool B leading Essex Redbacks (11-3) travel to Finsbury Park to take on the London Metros (5-6)

In Double-A, the Southampton Mustangs II are the latest team trying to ruin the Guildford Mavericks’ (8-0) perfect start to the season and if they can manage it then the Poole Piranhas (7-1) will try to take advantage with some positive results against the Latin Tigers. The South Pool B leading Sidewinders take on the Essex RedBacks II. In the North, the league-leading Sheffield Bladerunners are due to travel to Hull for a double-header against the Scorpions. In the Midlands, the Leicester Blue Sox and MK Bucks meet at the former’s Western Park with both hoping to cut into the Nottingham Rebels’ lead at the top of the table.

In Single-A, the 5-0 Essex Archers host the Herts Eagles, Hove Tuesday should be out at Pavillion Field in Brighton welcoming the Braintree Rays, the Essex Redbacks III take on the Old Timers and the Richmond Dukes and Tonbridge will battle to see which can gain their first victory of the 2012 season.

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2 Responses to “British Baseball Beat: Firewalks and Olympic Flames”

  1. Luke Foley #

    Nice write up Matt, the firewalk was a great day, good to see a lot of the baseball community pulling together to raise funds, and personally good experience of pulling on the GB jersey for the first time.

    And surprisingly the feet are blister free :)

    June 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm Reply
  2. Matt Smith #

    Thanks Luke. Great to see that the event was such a success and was a memorable, and blister-free, day for you!

    Matt

    June 10, 2012 at 10:39 am Reply

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