BSF Leagues Round-up: August 2018

Mon 13 Aug 2018

The 2018 slowpitch softball season is nearing the end for many leagues around the country, and league and divisional winners are being determined.  Below are reports on what happened in a number of these leagues during July.

 

MILTON KEYNES SOFTBALL LEAGUE

he Milton Keynes Softball League will have a brand-new winner in 2018 as the playoff line-up starts to take shape.  Reigning two-time champions Homerun Hornets are out of playoff contention, leaving four teams still in the hunt.

The Odd Sox, a brand-new team this year, have stunned the Hornets and the rest of the league by surging to the top of the table and securing a playoff berth.  Led by the outstanding Jarrod Pretorius, the newbies have secured nail-biting wins against the Roundabout Rhinos by 13-12, the Hornets by 11-10 and the Towcester Tigers by 17-16.

The second playoff spot has been taken by the Tigers, who have scored a league-leading 101 runs, led by Laura Thompson who has two home runs to her name.

The final playoff spot (at the time of writing) is still being hotly contested.  A thrilling 17-17 draw between the Tigers and the Rhinos means that the Willow Lakers need a win against the unbeaten Odd Sox to secure the final playoff berth.  If they lose, then the Rhinos can come charging through and swipe the spot by beating the Hornets.

The finals will take place on 4 September.

As always, a number of rookies have impressed this year, including Beth Peters (Double Ds), Robert Welch (Lakers) and Jamie Armes (Rhinos).  The Rhinos’ Carl Billson is way out in front on the homerun leaderboard with six.

The Codebreakers Cup

Visitors might know Milton Keynes for a few things -- its concrete cows, a massive shopping centre and its remarkable ability to defeat even the most proficient map-reader with its multitude of roundabouts.

But in recent years, Milton Keynes has also become known for its growing softball community.  The Milton Keynes Diamonds have successfully taken part in slowpitch tournaments around the country and a successful local league is now in its third year.

In 2018, we will also stage the first-ever Codebreakers Cup, a new tournament aimed at C-grade teams and taking its name from the World War Two heroes at nearby Bletchley Park.

The tournament will take place on Saturday 29 September and in its first year will be limited to just eight teams.  Here are the key dates for teams that would like to enter:

  • Wednesday, 1 August -- Registration opens for MK Softball League teams.
  • Wednesday, 8 August -- Registration opens for non-MK Softball League teams.

If you want to take on Milton Keynes' finest teams, then we'd love to welcome you to our tournament.  We've even provided a map to help with the roundabouts: https://www.mksoftball.co.uk/codebreakers-cup.

 

PUBLISHERS SOFTBALL LEAGUE

The PSL’s 2018 season is nearing its end, with most teams in the Tuesday division having only one game to go.

The S&S Sharks sit at the top of the table and look likely to come first, though the Springer Sluggers have two more games to play and aren’t far behind, so they are still contenders for the division title.  The 2017 champions Sage Superheroes have fallen behind, as have the early-season contenders and dark horses the Hachette Hawks (pictured below), but both teams are fielding fun and excellent squads, as are the Silver Bears.  The Batstreet Boys have surprised everyone with a late rally, so they may finish higher in the table than expected.

The Wednesday division, which has seven teams to Tuesday’s six, still has a few games to go, but the Griffins continue to be the team to beat, with hot bats, great pitching and a dedicated core of slick and assured players.  The Buttheads have fallen behind them, but only just, as they continue to put in great performances too.  The Penguins, a new team in 2018, have already risen above the Bedford Square Bashers , who are training new members and having a lot of fun on the field and in the pub.  Competition in the middle of the table between the Piranhas, Ticklers and G&T Giants continues to be fierce.

Players in both divisions are sad that the season is drawing to a close, but all teams are looking forward to the annual PSL Tournament on 1 September.

 

WINDSOR & MAIDENHEAD SOFTBALL LEAGUE

In the Windsor & Maidenhead Softball League, the Knights and Rattlesnakes are closing in on the division titles.

Division 1

The Windsor Knights lead the Division 1 title race, despite suffering their first defeat of the season in July.  This is still a three-horse race, but a third defeat against the RG Blue Sox for the Maidenhead Royals looks to have put a huge dent in their challenge, while a surprise defeat for the RG Blue Sox against the TV Typhoons looked to have handed the challengers’ baton to the Royals before the Blue Sox beat them.  The three title contenders will play each other in the closing weeks, so it’s not time to bring the ribbons out just yet.

The race to avoid relegation has taken some surprise twists in the last few weeks.  Two wins in July have all but confirmed the TV Typhoons’ spot in Division 1 next year.  The huge surprise is that the BA Jets, a stalwart of Division 1, are now in serious trouble: they are just three points off the basement and their nearest rivals have games in hand and fixtures to come against the Jets.

The Maidenhead Rebels are just below the Jets on runs conceded, and they too had a profitable July, picking up two wins.  The TV Tornadoes, for so long looking doomed, have been boosted by results above them, and safety is in their hands as the relegation race will almost certainly go to the wire.

Division 2

The Division 2 title and promotion to Division 1 looked almost certain to be decided on 2 August when the TV Rattlesnakes and Bracknell Scorchers 2 were scheduled to play.  The teams were tied on points, with the Rattlesnakes ahead on runs conceded.

For most of July the Division 2 title race looked to also be a three-horse affair, but the Wildcats couldn’t keep their impressive seven-game winning streak going and now sit nine points off the lead with only two games in hand.

At the bottom, the Bracknell Scorchers 1 look set to finish there.  The Scorchers can get to 20 points, but their inferior runs conceded total means that while they can tie with teams above them, they will need a huge run swing in their favour.

Maidenhead Rascals, TV Hurricanes and RG Blue Sox are all fighting for respectable finishes in mid-table after good July performances, where all three picked up at least two wins each.  The BA Flyers also picked up two wins in July, including one against the title-chasing Scorchers 2, that set up the big clash at the top and all but condemned Scorchers 1 to the wooden spoon.

 

EAST MIDLANDS SOFTBALL LEAGUE

After a great Spring League, the EMSL has moved onto its Summer League season, but not before the league’s annual Labor Day Tournament, held at Leicester University’s grounds on the weekend of the 21-22 July.

Labor Day Tournament

This year’s competition was slightly smaller than usual, with only 24 teams entered, due to groundworks that limited us to just six diamonds.  But the reduction in quantity certainly wasn’t a reduction in quality. 

The teams were split equally between Cup and Plate in the Comp division and Ashes and Spoon in Rec, with both levels starting with two groups of six before splitting into a second round-robin on the Sunday to determine the knockout phases.

As a local tournament, it was great to see 10 of our 12 league teams entered, and there were local teams in two of the four finals as well, with University of Nottingham Arrows playing in the Ashes final and Misfits and Brewers slugging it out in the Plate final.  There were also a number of local EMSL players in the Cup final, having been selected for the GB Futures Team.

The overall winners were H2O, who beat GB Futures in the Cup Final.  Misfits beat Brewers for the Plate, and Loan Sharks beat Arrows for the Ashes.  In the final competition, it was the Bristol Bam who overcame the Leeds Bobcats to take home the Spoon.

Many thanks to those who had a hand in the organisation before, during and after the event, especially those who gave up time on Friday to set up the fences and all of the teams and individuals who helped take them down again after the finals.

A special mention to Kayleigh Green, who, despite moving to the South West over a year ago, still organises the Labor Day Tournament on behalf of the EMSL.  Thank you, Kayleigh, from all at EMSL – the lengths you go to are really appreciated.

League news

In the league, we’re now close to halfway through the summer season, and in Division 3 it’s still all to play for, with only three points separating all three teams – Beavers, Redbacks and Rebels.

It’s a similar story in Division 2, where three of the four teams – Sheriffs, Brewers and Tigers -- are tied on three wins each, so the final outcome is anyone’s guess.

In Division 1, Misfits are currently out in front with a 4-1 record, but Pyromaniacs are a close second, having played two games less and currently holding an unbeaten record at 3-0.

Pyros, the Spring League winners, find themselves in third with a 1-2 record, while the newly-promoted Royals had been showing an 0-4 record.  However, they did pick up a victory in their cross-divisional game against Brewers just as this was written to put their first win on the board.

 

SEFTON SOFTBALL LEAGUE

In July, the Crosby Vikings clinched their fourth league title to continue their dominance of the Sefton Softball League.

During the first week of July, the Vikings had a tough, low-scoring 8-4 win against the Sabres, which meant they could clinch the title the following week if they could beat the Sharks.

During that week, the Formby Fins came from behind to condemn the Southport Seagulls to a 28-20 loss and a second straight league defeat.

The Seagulls bounced back from defeat the following week with a 15-8 win over the St Helens Sabres thanks to some great base-hitting.

Meanwhile, the Crosby Vikings powered their way to the title by beating the Sefton Sharks 34-26 in an action-packed affair.  The Vikings clinched the title just eight games into the season, having won them all.

The champions then took a rest the following week as the four remaining teams in the league battled it out, targeting the runner-up place.

The Southport Seagulls once again showed their base-hitting abilities by edging out the Sharks 13-12 to go second in the table, while the Formby Fins held off a resurgent Sabres team to win 22-21 with a bat in hand.

The penultimate week in July saw the return of the now 2018 champions, and the Vikings continued their unbeaten run with a comfortable 24-16 win over the Seagulls.

In the other game that week, the Sharks suffered their third defeat on the bounce in a 17-16 loss to the Fins, which propelled the Fins above their opponents.

There were two comfortable wins during the final week in July.  The Vikings smashed the Formby Fins 24-4 in a four-inning mercy rule game, while the Sharks got a much-needed 36-11 win over the Sabres.

Rookie sessions at Sefton have worked extremely well, with a number of rookies playing in games as the season draws to a close.  We are hoping, with more recruitment throughout the winter, that we can form a new team to enter the league in 2019.

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