After hailing the appearance of â€˜baseball weatherâ€™ in last weekâ€™s British Baseball Beat, I should probably take part of the blame for the conditions that scuppered some of the games on Sunday.
It was already a reduced schedule with plenty of teams having a rest week, so that only leaves us with a small selection of games to look back on.Â However, what they lacked in number they more than made up for in action and entertainment.
Whatâ€™s more, this coming weekend is set to be a baseball extravaganza, led by a new marquee event on Saturday: the NBL Summer ClassicÂ
NBL: One win apiece for the Pirates and Falcons
Only two of the eight National Baseball League (NBL) teams were playing on Sunday.Â Croydon Pirates and Herts Falcons met at Grovehill Ballpark for a double-header that had everything.Â Â
The Piratesâ€™ Maikel Azcuy was highlighted in last weekâ€™s Roundshaw Hop as the leading power hitter in the NBL and he lived up to that billing by thumping a grand slam in the opening game, breaking a 3-3 tie to give the visitors a 7-3 lead.Â However, the Falcons staged a stunning comeback in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, walking off as 8-7 victors.Â It was a tough loss for Croydon, but they responded well by edging a pitching duel in the second game.Â Tim Ssala knocked in the only run of the game to back starting pitcher Jose Sosa, while the Falconsâ€™ starter Nick Goetz took on Azcuyâ€™s role from the first game by landing on the losing team despite an impressive individual showing.Â More details can be found in Simon Fitzjohnâ€™s report.
The split left the Pirates (4-6) in fourth place, 6 games behind the league-leading London Mets, with the Falcons (3-7) 1 game further back.
AAA: Ten up for the Trojans
Games were thin on the ground in AAA.Â The single match-up scheduled for the southern section, Bristol Badgersâ€™ visit to the Essex Redbacks, was postponed and only the Halton Jaguars-Liverpool Trojans double-header in the North resulted in results being published.Â
The Trojans continued their excellent form by winning both games to move to a 10-2 record.Â Starting pitcher Ron Vondy picked up another win in the opener as his teammates backed him with a 12-run first inning that, despite some spirited resistance late on from the Jaguars, unsurprisingly proved too much of a setback for their opponents to recover from.Â The second game was more of a contest as Halton stopped Liverpool from putting up a crooked number in any single inning, but the Trojans still ran out with a decisive 7-2 victory.
The 6-4 Manchester Aâ€™s are the next team to take on the Trojans at Bootle Stadium this Sunday, while Harrogate Tigers (7-2) face a long journey up to Scotland for a double-header against Glasgow (1-9).Â Â In the South League, thereâ€™s a top of the table clash in Oxford as the home town Kings (6-0) welcome Bracknell Inferno (5-1) for a double-header.Â Herts Eagles (4-2) and London Metros (2-2) will play two at Finsbury Park.
AA: A Torrent in the North, Pirates in the South and rain in the Midlands
Manchester Torrent (6-2) reclaimed first place in AA-North by racking up 61 runs in two wins against Oldham North Stars (0-8).Â The two teams are scheduled to meet again this Sunday, this time in Manchester, while Humber Pilots (4-4) host Sheffield Bladerunners (5-3).Â
In the only game in the South League, Croydon Pirates III (2-3) earned an impressive 8-4 win over Windsor Bears, who slip to 6-2.Â The Bears will need to put that loss behind them quickly as they are scheduled to face the 5-0 Poole Piranhas this Sunday in a game between the top two teams in Pool A.Â The top two teams in Pool B, Richmond Knights and Essex Archers (both 4-1) are also due to meet this weekend in a full schedule of games from the AA-South.
In the Midlands, Birmingham Maple Leafs (5-2) and MK Bucks (4-4) split a double-header, while the double-header at RAF Feltwell between Leicester Blue Sox (3-3)and Mildenhall Bulldogs 2 (3-0) was postponed â€œdue to a water-logged infieldâ€. Â Hopefully Mildenhallâ€™s field has recovered so that the Bulldogs 2â€™s games against Birmingham Maple Leafs can go ahead this Sunday.Â Leicester Blue Sox 2 play two games at home to MK Bucks.
A: Richmond race ahead, Clippers get back to winning ways
Richmond Dragons improved to 6-0 as they blasted their way past Tonbridge with an 18-8 victory in the A League.Â The Dragons are now trailed by Guildford Mavericks (4-1) in Pool A as the latter defeated Bracknell Pyros (0-5) 19-4, with Rob Shaw, Joe Bibby and Stuart Ellis all being highlighted in the Mavericksâ€™ game report for their contributions.Â Chelmsford Clippers (3-3) rebounded from two tough losses to Old Timers by gaining a 17-13 victory over London Marauders (1-3).Â Ronnie Saint earned the plaudits with another strong pitching performance for the Clippers, although the win came at a cost with C.J. Evans suffering a leg injury that could see him out of action for a few weeks.
The Clippers and Mavericks meet at the formerâ€™s Melbourne Park this Sunday with the Chelmsford team looking for their first win at their new home.Â The Dragons put their unbeaten start on the line with a long trip to Southampton to take on Mustangs II.
In a new innovation for the 2010 BBF season, all eight NBL teams will come together at one venue on Saturday to put on a feast of top-tier baseball in the NBL Summer Classic.Â Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, will stage the event, combining four NBL games with six Herts Little League contests.Â The NBL games are:
- 12:00 â€“ NBL: Croydon Pirates @ Bracknell Blazers (Diamond 1).
- 13:45 â€“ NBL: Herts Falcons @ Essex Arrows (Diamond 2).
- 15:30 â€“ NBL: Mildenhall Bulldogs @ Southampton Mustangs (Diamond 1).
- 17:00 â€“ NBL: Richmond Flames @ London Mets (Diamond 2).
It promises to be a great day of baseball and the marquee event will be a wonderful showcase for the sport in Britain.Â Full details can be found on the Herts Baseball Club website.Â Get along to it if you can!