The Mix split a pair of games in the Women’s Cup

Tue 20 Aug 2019

Tuesday 20 August – Despite the loss of a key pitcher to an ankle injury, the British women’s club team The Mix split a pair of games today at the European Women’s Cup in Dupnitsa, Bulgaria to remain in the hunt for a place in Saturday’s playoffs.

The Mix were blown out this morning in four innings, 17-2, by the Spanish team Athletico San Sebastian, but bounced back this afternoon to snatch a dramatic 3-2 win over Akademics Sofia from Bulgaria after trailing 2-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning.

This afternoon’s win gave the Mix a 2-1 record in the full nine-team round-robin and keeps them, for the moment, in the top four places.  On Saturday, after the round-robin has been completed, the top two teams in the standings will play the gold medal game and the next two teams will play for the bronze medal.

Bouncing back

Without pitcher Mary Murray available today after an ankle injury sustained during pre-game warm-up Monday and aggravated by pitching five shut-out innings in The Mix’s extra-in ning win over Skovde Saints, The Mix and particularly starting pitcher Ysa Urquiaga struggled and failed to contain a hard-hitting Spanish team this morning.

This afternoon, however, Barbara Killer pitched a courageous complete game for The Mix, giving up two runs in the first inning but keeping the Bulgarian team at bay thereafter despite a multitude of baserunners.

A report on this morning’s game against Athletico San Sebastian has been on the BSF website since mid-morning and can be read below.  Meanwhile, here are the details from the win against Akademics Sofia.

The Mix v Akademics Sofia

The question of whether their pitching could keep opposing offenses under control would have been uppermost in the minds of The Mix’s players and staff going into this game after their experience against Athletico San Sebastian a few hours earlier, and with Barbara Killer in the circle, the signs weren’t that good in the top of the first inning.

The inning started with an infield single, a wild pitch, a walk and a run-scoring double by Akademics Sofia catcher Sara Marcova.  The first out was recorded on a grounder to Gayle Khoenkhoen at shortstop, but then two more walks followed, the first one loading the bases and the second forcing in a run.  The game could have gotten away from The Mix then and there, but Barbara Killer found something extra and struck out the next two hitters to escape any further damage and leave the bases loaded.

After that, despite the Bulgarians leaving 10 runners on base over the next six innings and loading the bases in both the third and fourth, Barbara Killer and The Mix’s defense somehow found a way out of every single jam.

But at the same time, The Mix were struggling to mount much of a threat against Bulgarian starter Teodora Simeonova.  Through the first six innings The Mix had only two hits and a walk by way of an offense and Simeonova seemed totally in control.

But then came the bottom of the seventh inning, and perhaps Simeonova was tiring.  Or perhaps, as Head Coach Robbie Robison said afterwards, The Mix’s hitters had made the necessary adjustments.  In any case, Simeonova never managed to record an out.

Holly Newell led off the inning with a double to the centre field fence and Sian Wigington lined a hard-hit single up the middle.  Holly went to third and Sian took second on the throw back to the infield.

And now The Mix got a break, as Hannah Pitman’s fly ball was dropped by Akademics’ right fielder Ivana Hristova.  Holly scored, Sian moved to third and Hannah took second as the Bulgarians threw to the wrong base.

Then, suddenly, the game was over, as Megan Beard shot a double to the fence in right field to drive in the winning runs.

It was a great comeback, and a great win for The Mix after the mauling they had suffered in the morning, and they are still very much in the tournament.

The Mix v Athletico San Sebastian

After winning a tense opening game on Monday in the European Women’s Cup thanks in part to the pitching of Mary Murray, The Mix were unable to call on Mary this morning because of her ankle injury and suffered a heavy defeat, 17-2, at the hands of the Spanish team Athletico San Sebastian.

The Spanish scored six runs in the top of the first inning against Mix starter Ysa Urquiaga on four hits and three walks, including a lead-off home run by Rebeca Carrera and a bases-clearing double by Irene Martinez. 

However, Ysa kept Athletico off the scoreboard in the second and third innings, despite baserunners, and The Mix, who had chances to score in the first two innings but failed to take them, finally cut into the deficit with two runs in the bottom of the third.

Laura Thompson got the rally started with a bunt single, stole second base, went to third on a groundout and scored on a single up the middle by Emmilee Blowers.

The Mix then lost a run when Anna Prins doubled to centre field and Emmilee was thrown out at the plate on a fine relay play, but Anna scored the second run on a single through the right side by Holly Newell.

In the top of the fourth inning, however, the game blew up on The Mix.  Athletico San Sebastian sent 15 batters to the plate and 11 of them scored on six hits, including three home runs plus three walks and an error.  The Spanish hit the ball hard against Ysa Urquiaga and reliever Barbara Killer and there wasn’t much The Mix could do to stem the tide.

Mary Murray will be evaluated tomorrow morning after strenuous efforts today to reduce the swelling in her ankle, but she looks unlikely to pitch on Wednesday and the question will be whether The Mix can contain opposing offenses without her.

Head Coach Robbie Robison said, “The players kept fighting all the way to the end despite the scoreline, and I’m proud of them.  But it could be tough getting through the week without Mary.”

Looking ahead

Tomorrow, Wednesday, The Mix will play Gepardy Zory from Poland at 11.15 and the host team, Angels Dupnitsa, at 6.00 pm – two teams that are currently below The Mix in the round-robin standings.

By the end of the day on Wednesday, the identity of the four teams that will make the medal games on Saturday may be a little clearer – or maybe not, since the standings still show a lot of teams bunched in the middle of the table.

Scores and standings

Scores from Tuesday in the nine-team round-robin are:

Athletico San Sebastian 17, The Mix 2 (4 inns)
Horsholm 10, Akademics Sofia 0 (5 inns)
Beit Shemes 10, Angels Dupnitsa 3 (5 inns)
The Mix 3, Akademics Sofia 2
Horsholm 3, Gerpardy Zory 1
Athletico San Sebastian 10, Skovde Saints 0 (4 inns)
Princ Zagreb 9, Beit Shemes 7
Angels Dupnitsa 9, Gepardy Zory 7

Round-robin standings after Tuesday are:

Athletico San Sebastian (3-0)
The Mix (2-1)
Horsholm (2-1)
Princ Zagreb (2-1)
Angels Dupnitsa (2-2)
Skovde Saints (1-2)
Beit Shemes (1-2)
Gepardy Zory (1-3)
Akademics Sofia (1-3)

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