BSF Leagues Round-up: June 2019

Thu 20 Jun 2019

The 2019 slowpitch softball season is now in full swing around the country.  Below are results and happenings from some BSF leagues during the first month of play.

 

MANCHESTER SOFTBALL LEAGUE

The main surprise from Manchester is the terrible start made not only by the defending champion Lions (one win in their first four games) but also last year's runners-up, the Mavericks, who have a similar 1-3 record, and only thanks to a 'derby' win against their own newly-promoted second team.

Our resident Statto has confirmed that in the history of the league no team has lost even its two opening games and gone on to become champions, let alone three.  So the race is wide open, with early front-runners Greensox and Thunder, both unbeaten in their first four games, scheduled to meet in Week 6 of the seven-week rotation.

The surprise package in Division 2 is the Meerkats, who are only there thanks to a relegation reprieve due to teams folding or merging.  They remain unbeaten, with newly-promoted Tigers one game back.

The Division 3 and 4 leaders also have perfect records: the newly-named Thunder II (last year's Drizzle) in Division 3 and the Tigers' new second team, Tiggers, in Division 4.

A feature of the season so far has been high-scoring games, with games averaging around 27 runs in Divisions 1 and 2 and 37 runs in the lower divisions.  These are close games, not slaughters, often with winning margins of one or two runs out of a total of 45 or more.  Five games so far have topped the 50 mark.

The rock-hard pitches thanks to the (honestly typical) Manchester May weather have given defenses problems, but in general it has definitely been a hitting game, especially in the lower leagues.

Finally, the league's weekly magazine Bases Loaded recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of its first appearance.  The magazine is available on-line at  http://manchester-softball.co.uk/about-manchester-softball-msl/the-review/ as well as in hard copy at the post-match get-togethers which are still an important feature of the Manchester game.

 

GREATER LONDON SOFTBALL MIXED LEAGUE: MINORS

Quick reports from the Minors divisions in the GLSML:

Division 3

The undefeated Brew Jays are currently sitting top of the pile, with the Diamond Dogs and Pimlico Parrots hot on their trail in the race for promotion.  The Brew Jays will have to watch for the chasing pack from the green part of the division, which includes Raiders Green and Meteors Green, who are hoping to recover from mixed starts. 

The Beavers are also one to watch, having managed a draw with the Brew Jays.  Raiders Orange and BYOB will hope to develop as the season continues.

Division 2

Disco Inferno are currently looking groovy at the top of the table with an amazing five wins from five games.  They will be wary, however, of the equally undefeated Mafia, who have ‘whacked’ an amazing 98 runs in four games.

The Pimlico Buccaneers are also doing well, and currently have the league’s best defense, but there are two teams who have yet to pick up a win: the Knight Sliders will hope to stop the slide while High Voltage are yet to catch their spark.  But the season is still early and there is time for movement across both relegation and promotion races.

Fixtures to look out for: 
18/06/19 Buccaneers @ Disco Inferno
20/06/19 The Mafia @ Golden Sombreros
24/06/19 High Voltage @ Knight Sliders
                                           

Division 1

There was a shock start in the race for promotion as the three teams that are totally new to Minors 1 currently sit at the top of the division.

Game of Throws and Soft Boiled are undefeated while Bat to the Future sit pretty in third, having lost only to Soft Boiled.  However, the more established teams will be looking to use their experience to climb the table.

In the relegation battle Raiders Red will be on red alert, having lost their first four games, while the Badgers will be looking to climb out of their early-season ditch.  Meteors Red have secured a tie with the Chargers, which could be crucial come the end of the season.

 

SOLENT SOFTBALL LEAGUE

Division One

The Itchen Knicks continue to dominate the league with four wins from four so far this season, with Nicky Puckett, Simon Taylor and Hannah Bennett leading the way with great performances. 

The Chichester Falcons have recovered from their opening day loss to the Knicks with victories over the Shafters and Portsmouth Dodgers, who they trail by a single point but with a game in hand.

The Solent Sluggers have been involved in some tight games so far this season, with a win by three runs accompanying losses by four runs and a single run.  The Sluggers will hope to continue to get great outings from Will Crit Noland at shortstop.

Division Two

The University of Portsmouth Shafters team has almost completed its fixtures and has set a reasonable benchmark with the new players they’ve picked up after losing some fine talent from previous years.  Their seven wins include some very close games, including a 15-14 win over the Brewers, a 16-13 win over the Sharks and an 8-7 win over the Sluggers. The Shafters will be hoping that breakout performances from Zara Wallin will feature again next season.

Chasing the Shafters are the Southampton Spitfires, who have taken three wins from three so far with comprehensive victories over the Sharks and Brewers as well as a close 9-8 win over the Shafters.  The Zombies and Southsea Sharks have both had a mixed start to the season, with the Zombies on a 2-2-1 record.

Remarkably, this is the third season out of the last four that the Zombies have recorded a tie, and they will rightly be pleased with the performances of Emily Cooke so far in her rookie season.

The Sharks sit at the foot of the table at present with a 1-3 record, but will hope to bounce back with upcoming fixtures against Division Three opponents.

Division Three

The standard of play in the league’s lowest division has greatly improved this season, with teams benefitting from senior players from the now-defunct OAPs dropping down to help coach.  Four of the five teams are separated by only a single point so far, with great, close games all round.

The Raiders overcame the Hurricanes 20-19 at the beginning of May, but the Hurricanes have bounced back in a big way and dropped 30+ runs in their next two games to win both.

The Supermarines started with a win against the newly-formed Vikings, but have found the going more difficult since then, losing four straight.

The Baffins Brewers will hope the coaching and experience of Troy Stanley continues to bring them improvements after competitive defeats against Division Two opponents have left them at 1-2-1. 

The Vikings prop up the league at present without a win from the first four games of their existence. Injuries have hampered their start so far, but hard-fought 15-18 loss against the Raiders in their last game is cause for encouragement.

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