League champions and playoff spots are being decided now that the regular season nears its close.
There were celebrations in Leicester as the Blue Sox sealed a first regular season championship, while Richmond Knights made it seventeen wins in a row to end their season.
We round-up all of the action from last Sunday’s games and preview the big clashes scheduled for this coming weekend.
NBL: Blazers secure a top-two finish
The top two positions in the National Baseball League were confirmed on Sunday as Bracknell Blazers (19-3) won both games of a double-header against Southampton Mustangs (13-13). The Blazers, defending NBL champions don’t forget, cannot now be caught for the second and final automatic qualifying spot for the National Baseball Championships, although the battle between them and London Mets (21-3) for the regular season title is still alive.
Herts Falcons (8-16) and Croydon Pirates (10-16) split a double-header at the latter’s Roundshaw Field. No details of the other two scheduled double-headers have been published at time of writing.
This Sunday, the third-placed Richmond Flames (12-10) host the Mets, the Pirates host the Blazers, the Falcons host the Essex Arrows (3-21) and Mildenhall Bulldogs (6-14) host the Mustangs at RAF Feltwell.
AAA: Patriots take two to set up a Sunday showdown in Liverpool
Liverpool Trojans (17-5) and Menwith Hill Patriots (16-4) are confirmed as the top two teams in the AAA North. The league has a different look to it now that Harrogate Tigers’ results have been removed from the competition.
Manchester A’s (14-10), finished their season by splitting a double-header with Halton Jaguars (6-16). The Jaguars enjoyed a walk-off 2-1 win in the first game, although the A’s got their revenge in the second game. With the teams tied at 5-5 after the standard seven innings, the A’s plated four runs in the top of the eighth and closed the door in the bottom of the frame for a 9-5 victory. However, the A’s results were academic when it came to the playoff spots as Menwith Hill Patriots picked up two comfortable wins over Glasgow (1-19) to ensure they would join the Trojans in the AAA NBC. The two teams are scheduled to meet on Sunday at Bootle Stadium and a sweep for either team will win them the championship. If the Pats at least earn a split then you would expect them to win their two games in hand against Glasgow on 22 August to take the title, so Liverpool need to make home-field advantage count.
Things are still up in the air in the South as details of the scheduled game between Oxford Kings (17-3)and Bracknell Inferno (13-7) have not been published as yet. Both Herts Eagles (17-5) and Essex Redbacks (11-9) swept double-headers, over the London Metros (4-14) and Bristol Badgers (7-13) respectively, but how those results affect the playoff race is unclear until official confirmation of the Kings-Inferno scores. Hopefully we’ll be able to update the picture in the Comments section below.
AA: Leicester crowned as champions
There were celebrations in front of the TV cameras in the Midlands as Leicester Blue Sox (15-5) defeated Birmingham Maple Leafs (12-5) in a 9-8 thriller to secure their first league title. Leicester saw a 7-0 lead wiped away by the visitors, only for the home team to win it in extras. No surprise that it was labelled by the Blue Sox as “one of the most nail biting, and ultimately exciting finishes seen at Western Park to date”. The Maple Leafs won the second game 13-12, but the Blue Sox’s spirits could not be dampened, particularly with the Blue Sox 2 (4-14) having two wins added to their total thanks to forfeit victories over Mildenhall Bulldogs 2 (0-17).
In the North, Bolton Robots of Doom (16-6) and Sheffield Bladerunners (14-8) split a double-header, while Humber Pilots (14-6) piled on the runs in a sweep over Manchester Torrent (9-13). Bolton and Humber meet on Sunday with two wins from either side sure to be decisive in the AA playoff race. The Bladerunners are likely to pick up two wins over the 0-22 Oldham North Stars, although they may still have to settle for third place and the A playoffs.
In the South, Richmond Knights collected two wins against Croydon Pirates III (7-11) to finish their season atop Pool B with a 17-1 record, an achievement made all the more remarkable by the solitary loss coming in their opening game of the season against Sidewinders (12-6). Sidewinders picked up two wins against Brentwood Stags (0-14), but they just fell short of a playoff spot, trailing Essex Archers (13-5) by one game in the standings. In Pool A, Windsor Bears (11-7) got the two wins they needed against Herts Hawks (3-13) to secure second spot behind Poole Piranhas (13-4). The Piranhas will finish up their regular season with a game against Thames Valley Bisons (7-10) on Sunday.
A: Pyros and Marauders keep things interesting
In the British A league, Old Timers (7-4) put themselves in pole position to win the Pool B title with a 22-5 home victory over Herts Raptors (1-12).
Guildford Mavericks (8-4) lost 19-11 to Bracknell Pyros (5-7), while London Marauders (5-6) edged Tonbridge (3-9) by a score of 9-8. Despite their loss, the Mavericks just need to win their game against London Marauders at Finsbury Park on Sunday to book second spot in Pool A, but that will be no easy task as London are one of several teams that could still make the playoffs from Pool B.
Full details on results and fixtures from the British Baseball leagues can be found on the British Baseball Federation website.