There were only two games played in the BBF's National Baseball League on Sunday, June 19 through a combination of rain and scheduling, but those two games provided plenty of action and a major controversy at Croydon.
This was originally intended as a doubleheader, but persistent rain and a marathon four-hour game saw the clash between the Mets and Pirates at Roundshaw Playing Fields reduced to a single outing.
But there was enough action to fill a bunch of games as the host Pirates squeezed out a 16-15 win in highly controversial circumstances.
Leading by a run entering the bottom of the final inning, the Mets thought they had the game won when a Croydon runner at second was tagged for what would have been the third out.
But the BBF-appointed umpire -- working from behind the plate -- called the runner safe, and while London Coach Alex Pike argued the call with the umpire, Connor Riffle scampered home with the tying run.
Pike was incensed, but the umpire insisted he had not called time, and when a passed ball allowed Marcus Ozuna to score shortly afterwards, the Pirates had earned an unlikely walkoff triumph.
Alex Pike said: “It was beyond a joke. Normally in a 16-15 game you would say it was a classic, but this certainly was not. There were a lot of walks, a lot of bad calls and the strike zone was all over the place. The game just seemed to go on and on and on.
“I know it may sound like sour grapes," Pike added, "but I know Croydon were not happy either and we will be asking for this game to be replayed.”
Croydon Coach Dave Ward said: “It was pretty controversial. It was a bit of a marathon really, and the game went back and forth.
“I am not sure about the calls," Ward continued, "but it is certainly a big win for us and we have to build on it.”
Things were a bit more straightforward in the other game on June 19 as the Southern Nationals earned a 10-6 win at Mildenhall.
Both teams got on the scoreboard early. Jason Holowaty stroked a line drive over the right-center field fence to take a 1-0 Nationals lead in the top of the first. But the Bulldogs responded with two runs of their own in the bottom-half of the inning on a series of walks and base-hits, before Ratcliff struck out the side to escape further trouble.
In the second inning, Ratcliff again walked the bases loaded before striking out three batters in a row and left the mound unscathed.
Then, in the third inning, the Nationals offense erupted for five runs on a succession of singles and doubles, and the team held the lead for good.
Alex Ganster clubbed a three-run home run in the eighth inning, moving the Nationals into their match-winning lead.
Jamie Ratcliff went 5 2/3 with just 2 earned runs to claim the win, while Wes Hicks was saddled with the loss. The Nationals used three pitchers in the game, with Fernando Torres and Edwin Alcantara working in relief.
Nationals Manager Jason Greenberg said: “It was a solid win for us, and our entire lineup from top to bottom contributed with big hits. Of course, Alex's home run was huge and timely, and gave us what we needed to seal the victory.
“We have now beaten the Bulldogs twice this season," Greenberg added, "and we're proud of that, because they are a great team with a lot of heart.”
Jason Holowaty got the Nationals started with a first-inning solo home run