EMSL Firstball gets the 2018 outdoor season under way

Sun 15 Apr 2018

The 2018 slowpitch softball outdoor season officially kicked off on Saturday 7 April when the East Midlands Softball League staged its annual Firstball Tournament at Charnwood College in Loughborough.

With 20 teams entered, and five diamonds in play, this was the EMSL’s biggest Firstball event to date.


Format

Eight teams competed in the Comp Division, with two groups of four playing an initial round-robin before the tournament split, with first and second-placed teams going to the Cup and third and fourth-placed teams going to the Plate, where a second-round robin was played.

The top two teams from the second round-robin then contested a final.

In the Rec Division, 12 teams were split into two groups of six, and teams played a round-robin against four of the five teams in their group.  The first and second-placed teams went to the Cup, third and fourth-placed teams to Plate and the fifth and sixth-placed teams to the Spoon, where semi-finals and finals were played.


Contingency planning

With significant rainfall over previous weeks and torrential rain forecast for the day, the Firstball organisers had made special provision to lay astroturf down in the batting boxes on all five diamonds.  In addition, for safety reasons, a “fourth base” was introduced, situated on the third base line about five feet short of home plate, where all plays would have to be made.

Although this was something different, teams soon got used to this minor change and it meant that no one had to slide into home plate over the astroturf.

As things turned out, only a small shower materialised on the day, much to everyone’s relief.  But the extra protection in the batter’s boxes meant that the hitters weren’t having to contend with slipping around in a mudbath.

A huge thanks from the organisers to everyone behind the scenes and to the umpires, all of whom made the day possible.  The tournament was a great introduction to the coming 2018 season.


Results

COMP DIVISION

Winner:  Dodgers
Runner-up:  Misfits

Plate Winner:  Sheriffs
Runner-up:  Cheeky Monkeys

MVPs:  Grace (Cheeky Monkeys) and Jeff (Misfits)
 

REC DIVISION

Winner:  Masterbatters
Runner-up:  Maniacs

Plate Winner:  Coyotes
Runner-up:  Leicester Royals

Spoon Winner:  Brewers
Runner-up:  Tigers

MVPs:  Katie (Rebels) and Tom (Brewers)

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