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Monday, 23 September 2013
Saturday 21 September will be remembered as the day when the North West’s latest softball league hosted its first tournament, the Sefton Shield, held at Northern Cricket Club with five teams attending.
The day started with tea, coffee and danish pastries for all at the clubhouse, then some great games of softball on two nicely marked-out diamonds.
After an hour’s break for a excellent lunch provided at the clubhouse, it was on to the afternoon games, which completed the round-robin. With three wins and one loss each there was a three way tie at the top of the leaderboard with the Formby Fin and Wowcher Warriors making it into the final courtesy of conceding fewer runs per innings than the Manchester Meerkats who played the Manchester Fish in the 3rd/4th place playoff.
The final was played in glorious sunshine with the Warriors hoping to reverse a tight 13-10 loss in the round robin. The Fins managed to shut out the Warriors in the first innings whilst putting 5 runs on the board courtesy of some good base hitting and a home run from Luis Arrevillegas. Great defence from both teams thereafter kept the scores low and resulted in joint hosts the Formby Fins running out 10-4 winners after 6 1/2 innings.
At Sefton Softball Club we have been incredibly busy this summer, not only finding a new venue but obtaining a Sport England grant to promote the club and purchase equipment. We have also gone from a few people to two teams, competed in an invitational four-week Cup competition in Manchester and now have just run what has been described on the BSUK website as one of the best-organised tournaments to take place in the North West this year.
We have clear plans for the future, starting with an indoor league on Monday 30 September and are planning a four-team outdoor league for the summer of 2014. We also have plans to enter a team in the Manchester Softball League next season and will have a travelling team that will play in tournaments around the UK.
Preparations are already underway for next year’s Sefton Shield Tournament, where we hope to host 12 teams over two days.
Cherry on the cake
BSUK Development Manager Luis Arrevillagas said: “Last weekend's tournament was just the cherry on top of the cake for Sefton Softball -- they should be really proud of what they have achieved this year. The quality and attention to detail of the work they do is what makes them so successful."
“I can only imagine how big softball is going to get in Merseyside,” Luis added, “now there is a solid club to direct interested players to. I am really excited for them and excited to be able to support them in this adventure."
Anyone looking to play will be made very welcome, details are on our website www.seftonsoftball.com
Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Tuesday August 13th saw 14 of Sefton's finest make the short journey down the M62 to play a much anticipated match against the Manchester Moorkats.
Despite the prospect of a really wet match in the morning the weather was kind and so no rain coats were needed.
After a great deal of friendly banter on Facebook we started off in fine fashion scoring 3 in the first innings due to some good base hitting and, but for an injury to Craig who was tagged out at home, it could have been a few more runs.
The Moorkats first innings started out promisingly a good catch by Kate on first to put out big hitting, 3 home run queen, Debs and a strike out for Taj meant the first innings ended with a 3 -0 lead for Sefton.
The second innings saw another 3 runs scored by Sefton courtesy of a home run from Captain Steve Shearer. The Moorkats replied with 3 of their own leaving the score 6-3 after two innings.
In the third innings Sefton were unable to score and then the Moorkats managed to get three people on base and it was looking like they were going to score heavily, however two quick outs meant there was an opportunity to get away unscathed. This lead to Sefton's first lesson of the night. As the ball was hit gently back to Mark, instead of taking the easy out at one (despite Steve repeatedly screaming "play at one") in the heat of the moment Mark threw to the catcher to make the tag and unfortunately the ball took a bobble and the ball went dead allowing two to score. The Moorkats went on to score a third to level the game at six all.
In the fourth innings Sefton scored 3 thanks to a big hit from Jordan, who was unfortunate to be called out sliding in at 3rd, and a good triple from Steve. The Moorkats could only manage one thanks to a great tag by Phil on 2nd and a sharp catch by Mark who was having a great game.
The fifth innings was very uneventful with defences on top for both teams.
The sixth innings started very promisingly with the first three batters getting on base, however this is where Sefton learned their next lesson. Jordan hit the ball just over the pitcher's head and the pitcher made an outstanding catch, but because all the base runners started running without tagging up, the pitcher was able to make a very simple triple play to end the Sefton innings.
Sefton managed to minimise the damage thanks to two more strike outs and so went into the seventh innings with a one run lead. Sefton managed to score five runs in the top of the seventh to give themselves a healthy safety net going into the bottom of the seventh.
So in the final innings the Moorkats needed six runs to tie the game. Several base hits later and the picture was looking very different. With one out remaining crazy legs Taj managed to force an error with some very aggressive base running that scored the run that tied the game and took us to an extra innings.
In the extra innings teams start with a player on second base but Sefton were unable to advance the runner and the Moorkats went on to score after a solid base hit.
There was much to be learned by Sefton from this game but there were many positives including a second very narrow loss against a much more experienced team, 100% on base stats for Matthew, Phil, Steve, Paul and Craig, superb pitching from Mark, great catches from Kath in deep and Kate on one, solid debuts for Matt, Graeme and Katie, Sarah playing very well at catcher and much more.
Our last match in the cup is against the newly crowned division 4 champions the Camels and Sefton will again provide tough opposition in a match that will show how strong Sefton will be next year when they join he Manchester League.
Thursday, 1 August 2013
Tuesday July 30th saw Sefton Sharks play their second game in the Manchester cup. Again we were scheduled for the show pitch but this time there were no visitors to disrupt the game.
Having played probably the toughest team in the competition last round we were drawn against the newest team this time and thanks to the hard work of Lee Coupland we also had our new shirts to dazzle the opposition.
The shirts weren't the only things dazzling on the night, because, even though Lee couldn't make it with his blinding white softball pants (due to the inconvenience of having to work for a change!) both pitchers faced the prospect of pitching into the glaring sun right behind home plate.
We started off as we meant to go on with some good base hitting all around and scored 3 in the first inning. Time for the Colt 45's to take their turn. Their lead batter got on base but after that two good outs by Phil at second and a catch by Kath ended the 1st innings with a 3-0 lead.
We scored another single in the second innings with no reply and in the top of the third we scored 3 more to make the score 7-0. This is where things started to get interesting.
Mark had been coping really well with the conditions but then he had a spell that all pitcher's get at some in a game where he couldn't find a strike and threw seven balls in a row. The true test of a pitcher is how you cope with this and with one player having walked and staring at a count of three balls and no strikes Mark threw 3 beautiful strikes and struck out the batter.
Colt 45's did manage to score 2 runs though to make it 7-2.
We scored 3 more in the fourth with 1 reply but the 5th innings is where we really batted well.
With some great hitting from all of the girls we scored 10 runs leaving the Colt 45's needing to score 2 runs to avoid a slaughter.
They did manager to get 2 home but we scored 4 more in the last 2 innings whilst the 45's managed 2 to finish with a fantastic 22 - 6 win.
There were many highlights from the game, Kate taking 8 catches for outs on first, 7 rbi's and 100% batting for Dan, solid defence and a home run for male MVP Phil, 100% batting from Steve, 2 runs and 3 good hits from Kath "I can't hit it" Larkin, a run and 2 good hits for Sarah, 3 runs and 2 rbi's from Darren and much more.
Our next match is against the Moorkats on Tuesday August the 13th. This is a bit of a derby since we've had Taj and Siobhan from the Moorkats join us at training and the Moorkats are the sister team of the Meerkats that Ant, Lee, Julie, Sonia, Kath Simpson and I all play for on a Wednesday so everyone s looking forward to this with great anticipation.
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Sefton softball is a mixed gender softball club based at Northern Cricket Club, Crosby. Established in 2012 we have been building a friendly group of people who meet onMonday evenings from 7pm. Our equipment has been provided by a grant from Sport England so we have everything you need.
In July 2013 we were invited by the Manchester Softball League to bring a team to their cup competition to be held over 4 weeks in July and August. The draw was held on Tuesday July 2nd and Sefton Sharks' first ever match was initially due to be played against another guest team from Manchester baseball. However, when Manchester baseball were unable to field team they were replaced by the toughest possible opponents 2nd division's Dragons who only 12 month previously had been playing in the playoff division.
Our first match was on Tuesday July 16th at 7:30 and we were due to play on the flagship "show pitch" which features a dirt infield and boundary fences. Unfortunately, the day before the game a group of travellers decided to invade the pitch and setup home this causing problems for the competition organisers.
Eventually it was decide that we would play on whichever pitch finished firsts hitch was fortunate because an accident on the M62 meant we had a car with 2 of our 6 girls stuck in traffic.
The match finally started at 8:30 with 9 boys and 4 girls plus two guest players taken from the Manchester Meerkats to give us 6 girls.
I'll be honest and say that even the able help of Lee Coupland it was difficult balancing the substitutions without breaching the rules and so in future matches we will probably just take 6 of each and alternate who plays.
In the end I think we managed to give everyone pretty much the same amount of playing time within the limitations of the rules and to say that everyone played fantastically well is an understatement. Luis Arrevillegas the BSUK development officer and Harry Somers MSL were both glowing with their praise of Sefton as we gave the Dragons an almighty fright scoring some 20 runs with some absolutely huge hitting from everyone.
There were so many great hits that I can't list everything here but home runs from Paul and Craig, great base hitting from Sarah, Cath and Kate and fantastic pitching from Mark and Darren were amongst the highlights against a very accomplished team who were relieved when Mark stepped up to the plate in the final inning with the opportunity of scoring a walk off home run to win the game but catching the ball really well only for the short stop to make a hood catch that ended the match Dragons 22 Sefton Sharks 20.
As the teams went down the line for the traditional congratulations at the end of the match it was obvious how relieved the Dragons were and they were glowing in their praise as they went down the line congratulating everyone.
Well played to everyone, our next match is on Tuesday July 30th against the MSL's newest team the Colt 45's.
Anyone wanting to play or train can get in contact via Facebook.com/sefton softball or turn up on Monday nights, 7pm, Elm Avenue, Crosby, L23 2SX.