Halton Polecats 24-7 Manchester Saints
In this the first away fixture of the season, Halton Polecats soared to a commanding lead early in the game, but not without several warnings from an emerging Manchester Saints side.
The Halton offense rebounded from an early strikeout and groundout in their first three at bats by working two out walks throughout the opening inning. The Polecats’ pressure mounted on the Saints starting pitcher, and consistently getting on base produced three runs. The theme of getting on base continued, racking up 11 runs over four innings, before the Manchester pitching capitulated almost entirely, resulting in a towering 13 run 5th inning for the Polecats.
Josh Pearson led with 4 RBIs whilst Matthew Moran scored a team-leading 5 of Halton’s 24 runs. Peter MacGlashan, Thomas Ball and Dan Entwistle all collected 4 walks each as Sam Thornton and Dan Pickering also amassed RBIs. Halton shortstop Owen Williams achieved the impressive feat of ripping a single whilst forcibly adopting an unfamiliar left handed stance, as he was nursing a shoulder injury during the game.
Tom Morrison took the mound for Halton and managed to restrict the Manchester offense to four runs (2 earned) over four innings of work. With the majority of his outs coming from strikeouts, coupled with a relatively small strike zone, Morrison maxed out his pitch count at 95 after four innings. Matthew Moran closed the game out in the final inning, as the Saints hitters entertained hopes of clawing back a 20 run deficit. The Saints efforts were rewarded in part, forcing three runs home, before a close play at the plate dashed any real hopes of what would have been a miraculous comeback.
In terms of evaluating the fielding performance, by the Polecats, first baseman Dan Pickering made an impressive instinctive catch, diving towards his left to prevent a sure-fire double. The highlight though, was arguably second baseman Josh Pearson’s mid-flight spin and throw to second base. To paraphrase Halton head coach Carl Heesom, the play was ‘Jeter-esque.’ Pearson’s immediate throw was made possible by catcher Dan Entwistle’s rapid communication.
However, communication was an aspect of the Polecats’ play that was lacking in the final inning. A breakdown in communication between the shortstop and centre fielder lead to a collision between the pair, dropping the ball in the process. A rare defensive mishap, which the Polecats players will need to address to extend their unbeaten streak next week at Cartmel.
Opening Day BBF North – Halton Polecats Pony
Blue skies greeted the fans who ventured to John Mills ballpark to witness the start of the BBF North Pony season, and the Halton Polecats first two games, of a hopefully successful campaign.
The Halton Polecats cruised through the opener, beating Manchester Saints 25-1.
Starting pitcher for Halton, Tom Morrison, with the help of a solid defence, stifled the Saints hitters through 4 short innings, allowing just a single hit. The sole offensive spark for the Saints was Manchester catcher, Tom, who was denied a triple only by an outstanding defensive play by a combination of Halton right fielder Dan Pickering, shortstop Owen Williams and third baseman Jonas Grader. Williams delivered an inch perfect, venomous, throw from outside the infield grass to Grader who applied the tag at third base with ease. Dan Pickering and Owen Williams pitched a single inning each to close out the game but not before the Saints catcher clobbered a solo home run to left field during the fifth inning.
The Halton offense profited from a lack of control on the part of the Manchester Saints pitchers, who conceded 18 walks in total. The Polecats were able to get runners on base, wreaking havoc on the basepaths, totalling 10 steals. Patrick Hansford was the standout offensive threat, compiling five RBIs on four hits. The Halton line-up was impressive throughout, racking up the maximum 25 runs in a single game. Sam David walked a team best four times and Dan Entwistle led the team in runs. Additionally, Matthew Moran accumulated three quality at-bats (another team best).
Thanks are also due to Sam Thornton, Peter MacGlashan and Josh Pearson who willingly switched sides to play for Manchester in this opener.
Ball bounces home for nail-biting Halton win
The Halton Polecats eventually emerged victorious against the Cartmel Valley Lions 17-16, gaining the early advantage as the two teams renewed their rivalry for the 2013 season.
Polecats’ ace, Jonas Grader pitched effectively, allowing just five runs through 4 1/3 innings. The pitcher also ignited the Halton offense with a solo homer following back-to-back strikeouts in the opening inning. The Polecats went on to add two more runs courtesy of Hansford and Morrison singles. Josh Pearson, the Polecats left fielder, continued Halton’s offensive prowess in the following inning, immediately walking and stealing both second and third before scoring due to a passed ball as Halton went on to score another four runs. After a scoreless third the Polecats offense once again sparked into life, scoring four runs in both the fourth and fifth inning.
Cartmel Valley Lions’ first baseman Luke Armstrong steadied the ship somewhat, pitching the third, fourth and fifth inning to give his team a chance to win. But at 16-6 entering the sixth and final inning, the Halton pitching began to unravel as the Lions’ bats roared. Cartmel’s searing offense produced 10 runs, capped by a three run home run from the Cartmel third baseman to tie the game at 16 apiece. The bottom of the six proved fruitful for the Halton offense as three consecutive walks, loaded the bases. The game ended in a dramatic manner as Polecats centre fielder, Thomas Ball, dashed home to give the Polecats a walkoff victory.
Undoubtedly, a memorable Opening Day for all those involved.
The teams that will represent the Southern Conference at the National Youth Baseball Championships in Richmond on September 17-18 were decided at qualifiers held on Saturday, September 10 at Dawes Hill and Finsbury Park.