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Mustangs and Nationals complete the NBC line-up

09/06/2011, 9:00am BST
By Simon Fitzjohn

Postseason play reached the National Baseball League on 3-4 September with two teams advancing to the National Baseball Championships, while two saw their dreams bite the dust.

Southern Nationals at London Mets

Southern Nationals 7, London Mets 3

The Nationals booked their place in the NBC when they travelled to London on Saturday 3 September and returned with a 7-3 triumph.

Jason Roberts was the star of the show for Southern, pitching eight strong innings and giving up just two runs to claim the win.

The Nationals also had a superb defensive play from Dan Parker, and strong performances with the bat from Jason Holowaty and Luis Goncalves.

The win was the first time the Nationals had beaten London this season, at the fifth attempt, but the timing couldn't have been better, putting them into the national finals in their first season. 

"We played near-perfect baseball today," said Nationals manager Jason Greenberg.  "After losing over and over again to the Mets in the regular season - including three one-run games - we knew we were in for a fight today.  Jason Roberts had a great outing, and we had some defensive gems to cut down London's few scoring opportunities, including a laser throw from Dan Parker in deep left field to stop a run at the plate.

The Nationals will square off against the defending National Champions, Richmond, at the NBC.

"The Nationals have been playing terrific defense the last few weeks, and our batting lineup rivals any other in the country.  Obviously, Richmond is the team to beat, they had a terrific season... but we plan on making it very, very difficult for them to keep hold of that trophy."

Croydon Pirates at Southampton Mustangs

Croydon Pirates 8, Southamption Mustangs 12

The Pirates, the surprise package of the play-off teams, made a real game of it on the south coast before slipping to a 12-8 defeat at the hands of the Mustangs on Sunday 4 September.

Croydon jumped out to an early lead and still had the advantage heading into the later innings, only for Southampton to rally and claim victory.

Alberto Rodriguez pitched the win for the hosts, with Jose Sosa and Tim Ssali unable to stem the tide for the Pirates.

Southampton coach Ben Davis said: “We knew it was going to be a tough game. It was really tight.

We kept our heads and were able to play catch-up.

“It was not one player that turned the tide, it was a real team effort. We went back to basics and it worked for us.”

The Mustangs will now face Lakenheath next weekend, and Davis is looking forward to the challenge.

He added: “We have not played the Diamondbacks this season so that will be something different. We will have to play a lot better than we did today.

“We are very happy to be in the National Baseball Championships and it says a lot about the side that we have made it this far.”

Disappointed Croydon coach Dave Ward said: “To be honest just to make the play-offs was a very big bonus for us.

“The team has been getting better and better throughout the season and we hope this will be a springboard for us. The players are already talking about next season and it bodes well.”

Tag(s): News  National League  NBL Pool A  South London Pirates  Southampton Mustangs  NBL Pool B  London Mets  Southern