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British Baseball Beat

by Matt Smith

The British Baseball Beat continues apace with plenty of action around the leagues, Great Britain U15’s playing in Germany and a successful new tournament in Scotland.

AAU Collegiate win the first Bobby Thomson Invitational Tournament

Up in Scotland, the three main independent leagues in British baseball came together for a new tournament this past weekend in Edinburgh.

The British Baseball League, South West Baseball League and home Scotland Baseball each fielded an All-Star team taking on the touring party of AAU Collegiate.

The collegiate summer team from the States came out on top, winning the final 6-1 against the BBL’s Northern Knights, but reports from the event show that whilst the ‘home’ players didn’t come away with the trophy, they took plenty from the tournament and plan to host it again next year.

It’s great to see another new event added to the British Baseball calendar and hopefully it will be even bigger and better in twelve months’ time.

NBL: Mets stay top but lose their unbeaten run

The London Mets (15-1), London Capitals (10-10) and Herts Falcons (7-11) shared out the wins at Grovehill Ballpark on Sunday in the National Baseball League.

The Capitals started the day with a 9-1 victory over the Falcons, but were then blanked by the seemingly impenetrable Mets’ pitching staff 8-0. However, Herts were able to beat the odds and secure a 5-4 win over the Mets, in part thanks to a home run by the always-dangerous Jarrod Pretorius.

London Mets still have a healthy lead in the standings and remain favourites to make it three national championships in a row, but the Falcons at least showed an upset against them is possible.

The Mets will have an immediate chance to gain some revenge this Sunday as the two teams meet as part of another trifecta of games, this time hosted by the Essex Arrows.

German Detour

Reading of Pretorius’s latest home run reminded me to check in on the all-time NBL home-run leader Maikel Azcuy. He’s in his second year in Germany playing and coaching for Berlin Flamingos (who sadly don’t play in pink uniforms).

Azcuy wasn’t able to prevent Berlin from being relegated last year, but he’s more than doing his bit to try to get them promoted again.

I’m not sure quite what the mercy rules are in the German leagues, but on 6 July the Flamingos won by the score of 44-1 against Leipzig Wallbreakers (presumably the wall breaking being done by Leipzig’s pitching coach’s head). Azcuy went 5-for-7, with his first 5 plate appearances resulting in a single, three doubles and a home run. This came after he went 4-for-6 with a home run against them in a 35-0 victory earlier in the season.

Berlin had the good grace to bench him for the second half of the double-header, which was called after five innings with the Flamingos up 10-0.

Azcuy went 1-for-5 and 2-for-3 this past Saturday as Berlin defeated Hannover Regents twice. He’s hitting .442 on the season and whilst there’s no official word yet on whether he will be part of Great Britain’s European Championship roster, he’s certainly showing that the hitting conditions in Germany suit him.

Bears Remain Unbeaten

With the Mets losing their proud 0, that leaves Double-A Bournemouth Bears (12-0) as the only team in the BBF leagues yet to taste defeat this season. They defeated the Brighton Jets (1-10) 20-4 to make it 12 wins in a row.

Elsewhere, Richmond Dragons (4-9) earned a 25-15 over Guildford Mavericks (6-10). Twitter updates show London Sidewinders beat London Marauders 14-12 whilst Norwich Iceni picked up a 19-14 win away to the Brentwood Stags, although these are still to be added to the BBF website.

Showing the men how it’s done!

Cambridge is no stranger to being home to historic moments. The city’s baseball teams are doing their best to uphold this reputation by making a bit of history of their own at Coldham’s Common.

Meanwhile Molly Willcox and Tsz Yan Chan of the South West Baseball League’s Bristol Buccaneers will be among the players taking part in the Women’s Baseball UK (WB-UK) event in Bristol on Saturday.

Single-A Central results

The Cambridge Royals’ (4-14) female infield efforts couldn’t hold back the division-leading Leicester Blue Sox (16-4) this time, however, as the visitors took both games of the double-header by scores of 13-7 and 14-1.

Meanwhile the Cambridge Lancers (1-21) also took two defeats at the hands of Northants Centurions (6-12). In fact, it was sweeps all around in A-Central as Birmingham Outlaws (12-4) also picked up two home wins against Long Eaton Storm (13-3). The Outlaws and Bandits will be staging a Birmingham derby double-header this Sunday.

Single-A South: Herts bragging rights for the Eagles

Speaking of derbies, in Single-A South the first Herts derby since 2016 went the way of the Eagles as they earned two victories against the Raptors. The latter are already eyeing the re-match:

South Coast Pirates (12-4) swept a double-header in Guildford against the Millers (7-11).

Great Britain U-15s playing Hardball

Four Herts players are among the Great Britain U15 squad in Germany this week competing in the Hardball City Cup.

The Young Lions are flying so far with a perfect 3-0 record. Follow all the news on the GB Baseball Twitter account.

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