GB U-19s win Chichester mixed fastpitch tourney

Tue 27 Aug 2019

By David Morris

The second edition of the Chichester Falcons Mixed Fastpitch Tournament was played out in blazing sunshine over the August Bank Holiday Weekend, with four teams battling under ‘Fully Loaded’ rules at Oaklands Park Softball Field.

Paris Patriots returned to the tournament to improve on their 2018 campaign, the Valkyries from Ermont in France entered for the first time, and a GB Under-19 Team and the hosts’ own team, the Chichester Falcons, completed the field.

With Ian Tomlin on international duty with the Meteors at the European Men’s Super Cup, pitcher Oliver Howley stepped up to run the GB squad.

Fully Loaded

The Fully Loaded rule set, originating in Australia, has the bases loaded at the start of every inning, with short games, short fences (175 feet), only three warm-up pitches between innings and no conferences.  This gives a high turnover of games with plenty of runs scored.

The Bell Inn, situated close to the field, was on hand to provide food and drink (plus a free ice pop for everyone) and the sitting teams umpired the games.  As the teams were co-ed, a soft core ball was used.

Day 1

On Day 1, the GB Under-19s went 4-0, the Patriots 3-2, the Falcons 2-2 and the Valkyries 0-5, with some round-robin games still to be played on Day 2. 

Oliver Howley and Yuki Ono were dominant pitching for GB, while the Patriots played well with a tight defense and a wide range of pitchers.  The Falcons broke even in wins and losses with Bronte Harvey and David Morris throwing to hard-working catcher Caitlin Frank, and the Valkyries hit and ran very well but couldn’t find any luck on defense.

The early evening featured a home run derby, where all players and coaches were allowed five swings at as many pitches as they needed off the pitching machine. 

With the short fences, it wasn’t long before GB’s Bruce Candlish hit one out of the park, only for the Patriots’ Keith Sarver to better him with two homers.  However, Josh Bristow from Chichester matched that with two of his own, so a tie-breaker was played between the two of them and Bristow managed to take the prize, crushing the ball over the fence with his very last hit. 

The women’s prize was deservedly won by Floriane Trefouel from Valkyries, with a fine drive out to left centre field, just bettering Crista Reed-Thomas’s earlier effort.

Day 2

Day 2 was played out in more dazzling sunshine and high temperatures.

The GB Under-19s won both their remaining round-robin games, and the Patriots and Falcons finished precisely even in second place, matched on points, run differential and head-to-head. 

A coin toss remained the only option, but as the playoffs were 1 v 4 and 2 v 3, the teams had to play each other regardless in the next game.  Patriots dispatched the Falcons quite comfortably to put themselves into the final with GB, while Falcons went up against Valkyries, who were still looking for their first win, in the bronze medal game.

The Valkyries delighted themselves by edging past the Falcons to take the third-place trophy, while the Patriots, despite coach Will Notue’s superb pitching, couldn’t contain the GB Under-19 offense but still improved greatly on their 2018 result. 

Everybody gathered in The Bell at the end of the day for prizes.

Many thanks go to Hettie McNeil (Tournament Control), Sue Howley (first aid), Lucy Morris (dog control and photography) and Michelle Clatworthy (hospitality).

Results

Final standings were:

1 -- GB Under-19s (8-0)
2 -- Patriots (4-4)
3 -- Valkyries (1-7)
4 – Chichester Falcons (3-5)

Female MVP:  Marie Mol (Patriots)
Male MVP:  Owen Randell (GB Under-19s)

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