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British Baseball Beat: ‘Baseball weather’ at last

by Matt Smith

bbbHlsq‘Baseball weather’ arrived properly throughout much of the UK last Sunday.  Some would say baseball weather here means howling winds and driving rain, but don’t let the MET Office fool you.  The equation of baseball + sun + hot dogs and beer equals a good time in any country.

The hot dogs and beer normally have to wait until after the games if you’re playing (normally, but not necessarily) and the final score (or scores) determine whether they toast a win or two or if they offer a tasty end to a disappointing day.

What role did the post-game spread play for which teams last Sunday? Read on to find out. 

London Mets continue their good form in the National Baseball League

In the top tier of British baseball, London Mets (11-1) remain at the top of the league after they took both games of a double-header at RAF Feltwell against Mildenhall Bulldogs (4-6).  Scores of 8-4 and 10-7 show that the two teams were evenly matched, but the Mets are on a roll and they made it ten wins on the spin, while the Bulldogs have now suffered six straight losses after starting their debut season in the NBL in such impressive fashion.

Bracknell Blazers (9-1) kept the pressure on the Mets by winning two games at home against Southampton Mustangs (4-8) and Richmond Flames (7-3) continued the sequence of double-header sweeps, consigning Essex Arrows to an 0-10 record in the process.  Reaction from the games can be found, as always, in Simon Fitzjohn’s report.

Herts Falcons and Croydon Pirates had a rest last Sunday and they will meet for a double-header at the former’s Grovehill Ballpark this Sunday in the only NBL match-up.  All eight NBL teams will be at the same venue the following Saturday for an NBL extravaganza, more on which in next week’s BBB.

Inferno-Badgers split allows the Kings to reign in AAA-South

With the Northern section taking a break, all eyes were on the South at the Triple-A level on Sunday.  The big match-up was a double-header in Bristol as the home town Badgers hosted the 4-0 Bracknell Inferno.  The opening game was “a classic pitcher’s duel in the heat” that the Badgers edged with two late runs to win it 2-0.  After losing for the first time in 2010, Inferno fought back to earn a split by winning the second game 6-5, capitalizing on five errors by the Badgers. 

With Inferno sitting on a 5-1 record (Badgers are now 3-1), Oxford Kings had an opportunity to leapfrog into first place by winning both games of a double-header at Finsbury Park against London Metros.  They took full advantage and moved to a 6-0 record thanks to wins by scores of 18-8 and 19-7. 

Only one double-header match-up is scheduled in AAA-South this Sunday, in which Essex Redbacks continue their search for their first ever BBF league victory as they visit the Badgers in Bristol.  There’s a full schedule planned for AAA-North, including the 8-2 Liverpool Trojans hosting a double-header against Halton Jaguars (2-8) and the 7-3 Harrogate Tigers playing two games away to Manchester A’s (6-4).

Ground made up on resting teams in AA

Sheffield Bladerunners earned two convincing wins over Oldham North Stars to move to a 5-3 record in AA-North.  The 4-2 Manchester Torrent didn’t have a game on Sunday, so that left Bolton Robots of Doom with the chance to move ahead of the pack with two wins at home against Humber Pilots.  Their opponents were not so obliging, even if they were impressed with the Robots’ incredible mowing machine, and the Pilots took the opening game 19-8.  Bolton shook off the disappointment and won the second game, aided by a pitching performance described by the Pilot’s ‘Outsider’ as “by far the best game the Pilots have seen all season”.  That left Bolton on a 5-3 record, tied with the Bladerunners, although Manchester Torrent have a chance to edge ahead on Sunday with a double-header against the North Stars in the only AA-North action of the day. 

In the Midlands, Birmingham Maple Leafs (4-1) bounced back from a 12-11 loss to Leicester Blue Sox the previous week by beating the Blue Sox’s second team twice on Sunday to move past the resting Mildenhall Bulldogs 2 (3-0) at the top of the league.  Reports from the Maple Leafs can be found here and here.  The Blue Sox and MK Bucks went enter their double-header tied on 2-2 records and they proved as evenly matched as that suggested by splitting the games.  This Sunday, the Bucks host the Maple Leafs and the Blue Sox are away to Bulldogs 2.

In the South, Windsor Bears improved to 6-1 by winning both games of a double-header against Brentwood Stags (0-5).  The Bears won by scores of 17-5 and 18-4, with the victors declaring their highlights to be “Fraser Duggan’s home runs, and a double play in the second game initiated by rookie Damien Hallet at second base”.  Elsewhere, Richmond Knights and Essex Archers both improved to 4-1 thanks to double-header sweeps over Thames Valley Bisons and Horsham Hurricanes respectively (the latter being two 7-0 forfeit wins), while Sidewinders (2-3) spoiled the party in Hemel Hempstead by beating Herts Hawks (1-3) 24-5 in the first adult game on the newly-completed second diamond at Grovehill Ballpark.  The only AA-South game on Sunday involves Windsor Bears taking on Croydon Pirates III at Roundshaw.

Clippers and Old Timers collide again

In Single-A, Chelmsford Clippers (2-3) and Old Timers (3-1) renewed their heated rivalry from the previous week and it was the Old Timers who prevailed once again 17-16 amid collisions at home plate and plenty more action besides.  Richmond Dragons (5-0) scored 15 runs over the first two innings to set up a 24-14 win over London Maruaders (1-2) that kept their unbeaten start to the season going and there was heartache for the still win-less Herts Hawks (0-5) as they lost by a single run to Tonbridge (2-2) in a 31-30 runfest.

Tonbridge travel to Ham Ground to take on the Dragons this Sunday, while the Clippers look to get back to winning ways with a game away to London Maruaders.

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