Pioneers and Mavericks hold on to NSL leads after Diamond 2

Mon 11 Jun 2018

There was no change at the top of the National Softball League standings after the second weekend of NSL play at Diamond Series 2 on the weekend of 9-10 June at Farnham Park.

The Pioneers had been the NSL1 leaders after the first Diamond Series tournament in May, and at the same time, the Mavericks had emerged at the top of the NSL2 leaderboard. 

Nothing changed in that respect after Diamond Series 2, but the two teams had contrasting fortunes.

In NSL 1, the Pioneers went undefeated in all seven of the round-robin games that count in the NSL standings, and also reached the tournament final, where they lost 16-13 to H2O.

In NSL 2, however, the Mavericks could only win four of their seven round-robin games, and held on to the top spot only because the teams immediately behind them couldn’t do much better.


NSL 1

Pioneers had a slightly strange weekend at Diamond 2, winning but not really dominating.  Their seven round-robin wins included two three-run and two four-run margins, and only one real blowout, a 15-3 win over Bristol.

But wins are wins, and Pioneers now hold a two-game advantage over last year’s National Champion Chromies and a three-game advantage over H2O.

The fact that Pioneers and Chromies are currently 1-2 in the standings will serve them in good stead in terms of places in the Premier Nationals, since neither team will play in Diamond 3 on 28-29 July.  Both teams are flying to Europe that weekend to take part in the European Slowpitch Super Cup, which begins on Monday 30 July.

As a result, their place atop the NSL standings may change, but not drastically, as the BSF has agreed to treat their unplayed games as draws rather than forfeit losses.

Meanwhile, the sharp end of the fight for places in the Premier Nationals is at the bottom end of the table, since four of the 12 teams will be eliminated after Diamond 3.

At the moment, the teams below the cut-off are Bristol, Greensox, KKs and Thunder, but Bristol is only a half-game behind LNZ, currently in eighth place, and the Greensox are only a game-and-a-half back.  For these teams, and perhaps also for the seventh-place Knights and even the sixth-place Legends, who were Premier Nationals finalists in 2017, Diamond 3 will be a tense affair.

Here are the NSL1 standings after Diamond Series 2:

TEAMS W L D PCT GB RF RA DIFF
Pioneers 13 1 0 .929 --- 154 73 +81
Chromies 11 3 0 .786 2 170 105 +65
H2O 10 4 0 .714 3 183 119 +64
Blue Steel 8 6 0 .572 5 144 143 +1
Travelling Dodgers 8 6 0 .572 5 167 133 +34
Legends 7 7 0 .500 6 152 129 +23
Knights 7 7 0 .500 6 160 106 +54
LNZ 5 8 1 .393 7.5 103 168 -65
Bristol 5 9 0 .357 8 117 152 -35
Greensox 4 10 0 .286 9 94 181 -87
KKs 3 11 0 .214 10 124 171 -47
Thunder 2 11 1 .179 10.5 93 181 -88

 

NSL 2

In NSL 2, the league-leading Mavericks and two of the teams close behind them – the Warriors and the Blitz Bombers – all went 4-3 in round-robin games over the weekend, which is the main reason why Mavericks remain in first place, but with just a game-and-a-half lead over the second-place Warriors.

The biggest advances over the Diamond 2 weekend were made by last year’s NSL2 National Champions SPAM, who went 5-2 to move up from fifth to third place; Bristol Bees, who also went 5-2 and moved up from seventh to fifth; and the Naturals, who had a 5-1-1 record that moved them from eighth place to sixth.

To see how close the competition really is in this league, look at the runs for and against in the standings below.  The teams second through ninth in the table have all scored between 130 and 139 runs, and the run differential for most of them is in single figures.  It suggests that any team that gets on a roll at Diamond 3 is going to make a move in the standings.

In terms of getting to the NSL2 Nationals, the four teams currently below the cutoff are the Terriers, Honey Badgers, Pyromaniacs and Outlaws, and there is a bit of daylight – though nothing conclusive -- between these teams and the eighth-place Ninos Privados.

But there is another struggle taking place at the bottom of the table, because two teams will be relegated from NSL2 at the end of the season.  The teams currently in those positions are the Pyromaniacs, in 11th place, and the Outlaws, in last place and with only one win to their name, even if it did come against SPAM. 

However, the Pyromaniacs are just a half game behind the tenth-place Honey Badgers and a game behind the Terriers, and all of these teams will be fighting at Diamond 3, not just for a place in the NSL2 Nationals, but also to make sure they avoid the drop.

Here are the NSL2 standings after Diamond Series 2:

TEAMS W L D PCT GB RF RA DIFF
Mavericks 11 3 0 .786 --- 151 84 +67
Warriors 9 4 1 .679 1.5 139 134 +5
SPAM 9 5 0 .643 2 130 100 +30
Blitz Bombers 8 6 0 .573 3 139 132 +7
Bees 8 6 0 .573 3 132 125 +7
Naturals 7 5 2 .571 3 130 115 +15
Blitz Havoc 7 6 1 .536 3.5 135 126 +9
Ninos Privados 7 7 0 .500 4 136 137 -1
Terriers 5 8 1 .393 5.5 130 161 -31
Honeybadgers 5 9 0 .357 6 117 141 -24
Pyromaniacs 4 9 1 .321 6.5 138 153 -15
Outlaws 1 13 0 .071 10 89 158 -69

 

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