“Hey, Matt, why haven’t you been writing about the British leagues much this year?”.
I was asked variations of this question quite a few times over the MLB London Series weekend and I have to say I was flattered that people had noticed!
The truth is I’ve been busy with other projects and have always worked on the basis of wanting to write things I had put time into rather than just quickly putting stuff up on the website for the sake of regular content.
One of the ongoing projects is a redesign for this site, as I look to focus it much more on covering the British leagues and British baseball history and related video content, and I was going to wait until that was done before getting going again. However, striking whilst the (West Ham?) iron is hot, let’s get back into the swing of things by casting a glance around the British scene.
National teams making us proud
Firstly, Great Britain U-12s recently qualified for the 2020 European Championships by finishing second in their qualifying tournament in Trebic, Czech Republic.
The Young Lions fought back from 4-1 down against Austria to earn a crucial win 5-4 with Erik Gustafson starring, driving in two runs and then pitching 2.2 score-less relief innings. The final game against Slovakia didn’t go GB’s way, but even in this contest they showed great heart by making it close (13-9 final score) despite their opponents scoring eight runs in the second inning. All in all, a great achievement for Eric Anderson and his team.
Next up are Will Lintern’s U18 squad. They started their Euro qualifier in Sundbyberg, Sweden today with a 10-8 victory over Switzerland. Jack Seppings was doing it all for the team, going 3-for-4 at the plate, driving in 4 runs, stealing 3 bases and pitching two innings in relief.
The team have an off-day on Tuesday before getting back to it on Wednesday with a game against Belgium. First pitch will be at 13.00 BST. Coverage is available on the good-old CEB website ‘Gameday live’ system and streamed live on the Sundbyberg Heat YouTube channel.
National Baseball League
In the top-tier, the London Mets were clearly inspired by the recent visit of some New York Yankee legends to Finsbury Park. They improved their season win-loss record to 14-0 with two victories over the London Capitals (9-9) by scores of 8-1 and 5-1. The Mets’ pitching staff is completely handcuffing the rest of the NBL, with the team having allowed only 25 runs across their 14 games played.
Herts Falcons were looking for two wins to separate themselves from the Essex Arrows in the standings.
They got them, only not quite in the way they would have wanted. The Falcons were awarded two forfeit wins, improving their record to 6-10.
Bournemouth Bears (11-0) continued their unbeaten start to the season by picking up wins 10 and 11 against the Herts Hawks (7-5), whilst Bristol Badgers (8-5) kept their good form up with two wins against Richmond Dragons (3-9).
In Pool B, London Marauders (11-2) swept a double-header against Cambridge Monarchs (5-7). In the opener, Billy Atkinson Warne gave up just 3 hits across seven innings of one-run ball, striking out 11 Monarchs in the process as the Marauders prevailed 9-1. The second game then quickly got out of hand for Cambridge as London put nine runs on the board in the first inning, with the game eventually being called 12-0 after four innings.
In Norwich, the Iceni (5-6) split a double-header with London Sidewinders (8-5).
In the Central, Long Eaton Storm and Birmingham Outlaws are the form teams.
Long Eaton swept a double-header over Cambridge Lancers on Sunday to make it a perfect 10 wins in a row, improving their season record to 13-1. As for the Outlaws, since they lost two games against Long Eaton on 19 May they have won eight straight, the most recent successes being two wins against Northants Centurians.
Meanwhile in Single-A Pool B the Kent Buccaneers collected two wins at the expense of Tonbridge.
North of the border, there were inter-city derbies to enjoy (or endure, depending on which end you were on). Glasgow Galaxy got the better of Glasgow Comets 16-5, whilst Edinburgh Cannons defeated the Edinburgh Diamond Devils 5-1.
This coming weekend is going to be a big one in Scotland as the Bobby Thomson Invitational event will be staged in Edinburgh. Talent from the three main independent leagues – Scotland, British Baseball League and South West Baseball League – will be joined by the AAU USA International Collegiate Baseball Team. If you’re in the area, make sure to head along.