Chichester Falcons stage successful first-ever co-ed fastpitch tournament

Thu 30 Aug 2018

The Chichester Falcons Softball Club hosted its first adult co-ed fastpitch tournament on August Bank Holiday weekend, 25-26 August, featuring five teams, two from Europe.

Dridma Rivas from Spain, Paris Patriots from France, London Meteors and a GB Under-19 squad joined the hosts, the Chichester Falcons, for two days of fun and games at Oaklands Park Softball Field, where they battled through a round-robin, a home run derby and two playoff rounds before the weather unfortunately brought things to a close on Sunday, a few hours earlier than planned.


Participants

The Falcons have put on a junior fastpitch tournament in August for the last two years, but after playing recently in a handful of co-ed fastpitch tournaments in Paris, Falcons’ Manager David Morris decided to switch to a senior age group for 2018. 

“I found that in Europe they use a soft-core ball, which makes good sense for co-ed fastpitch,” David said, “and the pitcher-catcher battery has to be mixed or all-female.  Other than that, it’s what we’re used to at the Great Britain Fastpitch League (GBFL) every year.  I am very pleased that Martha Moya from Spain and Will Notue from France were able to bring their teams to the UK – they are wonderful guests to have in our city and added perfectly to the flavour of the event.”

GB Men’s Team Manager Wes Knapp brought a Meteors team from London, calling on the services of some Danish friends to fill his roster, while GB Under-19 Men’s Team Manager Ian Tomlin fielded a team consisting mostly of GB Under-19 squad and development players, including Oliver Howley and Bronte Harvey from Chichester. 

The Falcons team was a relatively inexperienced squad, who have stepped up from slowpitch and have been working hard on their fastpitch game in recent months, helped out by GBFL stalwarts Sam Grafton and Ieuan Gale.

Saturday Round-Robin

The Meteors went undefeated in the round-robin stage, while the GB Under-19s were 3-1, ending with a tight one-run win over with Dridma Rivas.   The Patriots didn’t quite manage a win, but Dridma Rivas finished on 2-2 with wins over the Falcons and Patriots, only allowing one run in each game.  The Falcons managed a win in their first game against the Patriots but ended up 1-3.

At the end of Saturday afternoon, the Falcons fired up their pitching machine for a home run derby.  Anyone in attendance who wanted to hit was allowed three swings at as many pitches as they needed. 

Men and women competed separately, and Carina Thorsland (Meteors) and Mason Brockway (GB Under-19s) took the prizes – Mason with the only over-the-fence hit of the contest.

Sunday

Sunday began with the final round-robin games and with an ominous weather forecast, and the rainclouds duly bared their teeth.  The first round of playoff games was barely completed, with the rain falling hard and the pitchers struggling to find a grip with their fingers and feet. 

Unfortunately, the event had to be brought to a close, and as some teams had not taken part in a playoff game by then, the round-robin placings were used as the final standings. 

The teams retired to the nearby Bell Inn, which had provided food and drink for the tournament, for a closing ceremony where trophies were given out and MVP prizes were awarded to Josh Peat (GB) and Aida Caballero (Dridma Rivas). 

Thanks also went to Sue Howley, who volunteered her expertise and time for the weekend as First Aid Officer.

“We definitely want to do this again next year,” David Morris said.  “With a longer day, there is capacity for eight teams, so now that we’ve proven the event can work in Chichester, we hope to have more teams from Europe enter next year.”

Scores and standings

Meteors 9, GB U-19s 5                    
Falcons 8, Patriots 6
Dridma Rivas 9, Falcons 1         
GB U-19s 16, Patriots 3
GB U-19s 11, Falcons 9                    
Meteors 11, Dridma Rivas 2
Dridma Rivas 13, Patriots 1          
Meteors 16, Falcons 5
Meteors 7, Patriots 3               
GB U-19s 6, Dridma Rivas 5
 

1 -- London Meteors (4-0)
2 -- GB U-19s (3-1)
3 -- Dridma Rivas (2-2)
4 -- Chichester Falcons (1-3)
5 -- Paris Patriots (0-4)

Photos by Jade Masters and David Morris

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