In last week’s BBB column, I raised the possibility that the weekend’s games from the British baseball leagues could be affected by the “predictably unpredictable British Bank Holiday weather”. Sure enough, it was a bit of a shocker.
Sodden in the south
The vast majority of the southern fixtures were postponed as rain hammered down, winds swirled and fields turned to a soggy mess. In the National Baseball League, the double-header at Southampton between the Mustangs and the London Mets was the only contest that went ahead. The Mustangs had swept the Croydon Pirates the previous Sunday to earn their first two wins of the season, but they knew the Mets would be a sterner test. So it proved. The Mets earned two comfortable wins by scores of 11-1 and 15-0 to improve their season record to 5-1, with the Mustangs slipping to 2-4.
If the weather is kinder this Sunday, the Mets will look to move to 7-1 with a double header at Finsbury Park against the Croydon Pirates, while the Mustangs travel to Essex to face their former AAA rivals the Arrows, who are looking for their first win of the season. Herts Falcons are scheduled to face the Richmond Flames at Connare Field and there is an almighty clash in prospect at RAF Feltwell where the 4-0 Mildenhall Bulldogs take on the reigning NBL Champions Bracknell Blazers.
The Bracknell ballclub has just renamed its other two teams. Blazers 2 in AAA will now be called Bracknell Inferno, while Blazers 3 in A have become Bracknell Pyros. The Pyros will be gunning for their first win of the season this Sunday against the 2-0 Richmond Dragons; the Inferno are hosting a double-header against Herts Eagles.
Elsewhere, Essex is the place to be this weekend as the Essex Redbacks welcome Oxford Kings to Melbourne Park in Chelmsford (AAA) and the 2-0 Braintree Rays host local rivals Chelmsford Clippers at Notley Sports Centre (A). Poole Piranhas put their 2-0 record on the line at Croydon against the Pirates III team (AA) and the newly named Horsham Hurricanes travel to Grovehill Ballpark for a double-header against the Herts Hawks.
Northerners soldier on
Maybe it was a reflection on how the weather hit the British Isles, maybe it was a case of ‘southern softies’ not wanting to get a bit wet! Either way, a greater proportion of the scheduled games in the north went ahead.
In the AAA North league, the Liverpool Trojans and Harrogate Tigers both finished the weekend on 5-1 records after double-header sweeps.
The Trojans were heavily fancied to win their games against the then 0-4 Glasgow Baseball Association, but the Scottish team put up a very creditable fight, albeit against a Liverpool team missing some of their regulars. Glasgow actually led the opener 4-1 before the Trojans forced the game into extra innings and then took a decisive 5-4 lead on a bases-loaded walk by Matt Jones in the eighth inning. The second game took the opposite path, with Liverpool jumping out to a 6-0 lead and Glasgow mounting the comeback, ultimately to fall short by a single run.
Harrogate Tigers kept up with the Trojans by beating the Menwith Hill Patriots twice, by scores of 10-7 and 11-1 (game reports and photos are available on the Tigers’ website), while Manchester A’s improved to 4-2 with a double-header sweep over Halton Jaguars. The Tigers and A’s will meet for a double-header on Sunday in Harrogate, the Trojans host the Jaguars and Glasgow travel to Menwith Hill.
In the AA North League, Bolton Robots of Doom and Manchester Torrent split a double-header and the Humber Pilots won two games against the Oldham North Stars, playing in conditions described on the Pilots’ website as “an Easterly Arctic wind (if that isn’t geographically possible it is none the less true) sweeping in alternate spells of rain and overcastedness”. The game reports on the Pilots’ website are not to be missed.
Bucks best the Blue Sox 2 in the Midlands
In the AA Midlands league, the MK Bucks improved to 2-1 with an away win over Leicester Blue Sox 2. The Blue Sox 2 led 6-4 heading into the fourth inning, only for the more-experienced Bucks to step up their game and recover for a 19-7 victory. Still, the Blue Sox website states that “the rookies will take a lot of positives from the game however, with improvements seen in all areas especially in hitting and runs scored”. The team will be keen to put those improvements to good use this weekend as the two Leicester teams meet with both searching for their first win of 2010.
As always, full details on results and fixtures from the British Baseball leagues can be found on the British Baseball Federation website.
New role for Brant Ust
To end on some international news, MisterBaseball.com reported over the weekend that former Great Britain player Brant Ust has taken up a new role as Director of Alumni Relations with USA Baseball.
Ust played for the U.S. team in the 2005 World Cup before switching allegiance to Great Britain for the 2007 European Baseball Championships. He created history that year by becoming the first GB player to win the Most Valuable Player award at the premier European tournament, playing a key role in the team winning a silver medal at the event. Ust went on to play for Team GB at the 2009 World Cup and was one of the names being suggested as Stephan Rapaglia’s replacement for the GB Head Coach role.
Brant was kind enough to participate in a Q&A for BaseballGB in November 2008 and his GB player profile can be found on the Great Britain Baseball Scorers Association website. We wish Brant all the best in his new role and hope that he may contribute to the GB cause again in the future.