Guildford Mavericks II
Phone: 07798 927072
Image of the Week: Ben Stobart
Welcome to the following players who have joined the Mavericks in 2012:
Callum Hawkes, Dan Francis, Rob Crainie, John Gray, John Sparks, Tetsuro Shinkawa, Matt Taylor, Hayden Wynne, Carlos Garcia, Tristan O'Keefe
The opening day of the Single-A championship started at a sunny Broadwater at the later time of 3pm for the Marauders and Mavericks due to the field entertaining a AA game before. Of course, that would only have to mean that it became an epic 4 ¾ hour duel between the two feisty sides battling into the evening.
To coin a football term, this game was a game of two halves, or more specifically - two rallies.
Guildford started rookie Brett Lowrey on the mound and he quickly found his rhythm with London plating one run in the first. Guildford responded by batting around and scoring 6 and leaving the bases loaded while the London pitcher struggled with his command.
The next two innings had more runs for Guildford with little reply from London and it was looking very much like the mercy rule would come into effect.
However, this is baseball and things can change in an instant.
At the top of the fifth the Guildford manager moved to switch Lowrey with Matt Bruce due to arm tightness. The Marauders seized on this opportunity and coupled with control issues from Bruce had a rally that had the visitors shouting their team on from the dugout. A ten run rally in the top of the seventh stopped by a game changing fly ball to another rookie – Mark Rowbottom, meant that the Mavericks had to dig deep to keep the game in seven innings. They couldn’t do it so in the failing light the game was going the distance.
Nerves were present, errors were being made and there was nothing routine about how the game was going. Just a regular Single-A game! London looked comfortable with swallowing the fly balls that went their way and could even have had a triple play at one point if the ball had just stuck in the last glove.
With Bruce clearly out of gas, Chris Ward took over in relief for 1/3 inning while another pitcher warmed up. With time ticking on and the Guildford bench depleted, they were forced to play with eight men at this stage. Tetsuro Shinkawa entered the game with the pressure of the team and saving the game on his shoulders having not pitched during the winter training due to injury.
Shinkawa and the Mavericks held on to win a close game 23-20. Although they were never behind, the hitting and base running from London kept it tight both on the score sheet and also with the nerves.
The Guildford manager, Ben Stobart said afterwards “That was a tough, long game to start the season. London have always been a good team and they showed that today. I feel very happy that we’ve got the win and how the squad gelled but know that there’s a lot to improve on”.
Final score: London Marauders 20 – 23 Guildford Mavericks 2