Around the leagues
I was at Coldham’s Common on Sunday to watch the Cambridge Royals start life in the new AAA-Central division with an impressive double-header sweep over the Nottingham Rebels, a two-game set that also saw the debut of the Royals’ ‘Ump Cam’.
There was a good atmosphere at the ground; the barbecue wasn’t the only thing creating smoke as Matt Maitland flirted with a no-hitter in the opener. The Rebels put up a sterner test in the second game, but the Royals rallied late on to start 2-0 and to set up an early season humdinger of a double-header against the MK Bucks on 27 April.
The Bucks started their title defence with two victories in Leicester against the Blue Sox with Jarrod Pretorius having a strong day at the plate for the Bucks after performing well in the NBL last season with the Nationals. Fingers should be firmly crossed for good weather in Cambridge on the 27th to allow both teams to show the quality of play that can be found in Triple-A.
That extends out from the Central division to the North and the South. Halton Jaguars have jumped ahead in the North after a two-game sweep over the Harrogate Tigers, whilst the Oxford Kings and Herts Eagles split a double-header in the South.
The postponement of two of the three NBL double-headers last Sunday resulted in a reduced day of action in the top-tier and leaves several teams with a fair wait before they get back out onto the diamond.
The London Mets and Essex Arrows split their double-header, improving the Arrows’ record to 3-1 after their Opening Day sweep of the Bracknell Blazers and maintaining the Mets’ solid .500 start with a 2-2 record. The NBL, as with most of the rest of the BBF leagues, takes a break this coming Sunday before getting back underway on 27 April with a slate of games that includes the 2-0 Southampton Mustangs’ home opener against the South London Pirates.
Check out the BBF website for round-ups from the games in AA-South (including a Triple play by the Herts Hawks), AA-North and A-South.
Tweets of the Week
Great news for baseball-loving kids on the south coast as the Southampton Mustangs reveal details of their new youth programme:
We are about to launch the very first youth programme on the south coast! Stay tuned for more details! pic.twitter.com/GPI0KO6LLt
— Southampton Mustangs (@SotonMustangs) April 15, 2014
A nice action shot from Grovehill Ballpark and the Kings-Eagles double-header:
— Herts Baseball Club ?? (@HertsBaseball) April 13, 2014
The view from Newton Aycliffe:
— Spartans Baseball (@naspartans) April 14, 2014
The main baseball attraction on the Easter Weekend is being staged at Farham Park as the inaugural Great Britain All-Star Series gets underway. The series will bring together the GB Lions, GB Juniors, Northern All-Stars and Southern All-Stars teams over four weekends across April, May and July in a competition designed to create some additional high-level contests to aid the players’ development and to produce some great games for fans to enjoy at the impressive new facility near Slough.
The only standard BBF league action this weekend comes in Single-A, where there are two double-headers scheduled for Sunday. The Cambridge Monarchs take to the field for the first time at Coldham’s Common against the Northants Centurians, whilst the Milton Keynes Coyotes host the Nottingham Rebels II team.