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14 MAY: LONDON CAPITALS PULL SOUTHAMPTON BACK TOWARDS THE PACK IN THE NBL

05/17/2017, 1:00pm BST
By Carli Stehle

The London Capitals pulled off something of an upset by splitting their doubleheader with the front-running Southampton Mustangs on Sunday 14 May in the BBF’s National Baseball League, and Southampton has been pulled back towards the chasing pack as a result.

 

The Mustangs (7-2) now hold a 1.5-game lead – but only one game in the loss column – over the London Mets and Essex Arrows (both at 5-3), while the Capitals are now tucked into fourth place with a 5-5 record.

In other NBL action on 14 May, the Brighton Jets picked up their first two wins of the season against the visiting Herts Falcons by scores of 15-4 and 15-5, and moved past the Falcons into fifth place.

SOUTHAMPTON MUSTANGS @ LONDON CAPITALS

Game 1:  Southampton 11, London Capitals 4
Game 2:  London Capitals 11, Southampton 3

Southampton took the lead in Game One in the top of the third inning when Juan Diaz came home on a sacrifice fly from Ambiorix Hurtado. 

But London retaliated in the bottom of the fourth, and runs scored by Ben Marcal and Leo Pantoja put the Capitals up 2-1. 

London starting pitcher Rhys Wilson only allowed one Southampton run over the first four innings, but the Mustangs put five runs on the board in the top of the fifth.  Juan Diaz got on board after being hit by a pitch and advanced to third on Maikel Azcuy’s double.  Both then scored on a single by Ambiorix Hurtado to put Southampton back in the lead.

But there was more to come, as the Mustangs loaded the bases and then three more runs came in on two walks and a wild pitch, and two more on another Maikel Azcuy double, giving the visitors and national champions a 9-2 lead. 

The Capitals added two more runs in the bottom of the ninth inning as Jeremy Lengyel scored on a passed ball and Kurt Wasemiller stole home, but Southampton took Game One by a final score of 11-4. 

Capitals’ Coach Nic Arrive said, “Rhys [Wilson] threw a great game for us and we improved a lot from last week in giving him the defensive support he needed. Unfortunately, our bats were a bit quiet in the first few innings and we lost a bit of focus mentally.  We turned it around pretty well in the last two innings and played a lot more relaxed and that carried over into Game Two.” 


London fought back in Game Two to split the doubleheader. 

Southampton scored in the top of the first inning as Scott Gelbart’s single brought in Miguel Rodriguez.  But London soon tied the score in their half of the inning when a single by Ben Marcal scored Rhys Wilson from second base. 

The Mustangs added two more runs in the top of the second inning after Ambiorix Hurtado and Arley Lorenzo crossed home plate thanks to a single by Miguel Rodriguez. 

The visitors held their 3-1 lead until the home half of the fourth inning, when Leo Pantoja and Jeremy Lengyel were walked in to tie the score.

London pitchers Maxime Flayol and Timothy Ssali then proceeded to hold Southampton over the rest of the game without further scoring.

That allowed the Capitals to take the lead with a four-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning, kicked off by a single from Ben Marcal and helped by four walks and an RBI single from Rhys Wilson.

Later in the game, more walks and further hits by Ben Marcal, Kurt Wasemiller and Rhys Wilson allowed the Capitals to pad the lead, and they ran out 11-3 winners.

London Manager Cole Ryan said, “Max and Tim both pitched really well for us and we rallied together to get them the defensive and offensive support needed.  We were a bit thin, so I’m really pleased how the guys stepped up to play for the team and show a lot of discipline at the plate.  The NBL this year is a close race and it’s great to see such a great competition across the board.”

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