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05/09/2017, 5:15pm BST
By Carli Stehle

A closely-fought doubleheader sweep of the London Mets by the Essex Arrows on Sunday 7 May at Town Mead Ball park – the Mets’ first doubleheader loss since 2015 – knocked the Mets off the top of the NBL table.

The Southampton Mustangs, who were idle on 7 May, lead the standings with a 6-1 record, while the Mets and Essex Arrows are tied for second place, a game and a half behind, with both teams on 5-3.

Meanwhile, the London Capitals and Herts Falcons split their doubleheader on 7 May, leaving the Capitals in fourth place with a 4-4 record while the Falcons, in fifth, are 3-6.

The Brighton Jets occupy the bottom of the table and have yet to win this season while losing their first six games.


Game 1:  Essex 6, London Mets 5
Game 2:  Essex 8, London Mets 5

Essex almost made an early impression in the bottom of the first inning in Game One, loading the bases on singles from Richard Chesterton, Franklin Martinez and Fraser Duggan, but all three runners were left stranded. 

Jaxon Thomchesson then tripled and scored on a single from Rory Chandler to give the Arrows a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. 

Essex continued to put pressure on the Mets, as Luke Foley walked to kick off the bottom of the third.  London got a break as they turned a double play, but Foley later scored on a balk to extend Essex’s lead, and that lead eventually stretched to 4-0. 

An impressive triple to left field from Aidan Pearce scored the first run for London in the top of the fifth inning, driving home Sam Sproule.  

The visitors’ luck then seemed to shift as Martin Tucker reached on a single and Carlos Dominguez on a fielder’s choice in the top of the sixth inning, and both came around to put the Mets just one run behind Essex at 4-3.

The Arrows led 5-3 by the time the Mets came up for their last at-bat in the top of the ninth inning, and though Daniele Sassoli and Ethan Solomon added two more runs for London to tie the score, the Mets fell to the Arrows 6-5 as Fraser Duggan came in from second base to score the winning run in the home half of the inning. 

London woke up in the first inning of Game Two, but it wasn’t enough to deter the Arrows.  

Carlos Dominguez reached first, and scored on a double from Martin Tucker.  A single from Sam Sproule scored Tucker, and the Mets had a 2-0 lead. 

But the Mets weren’t allowed to get too comfortable.  Luis Goncalves reached base on an error for Essex in the bottom half of the inning and scored on a single by Luke Foley.  Ollie Thompson and Ryan Watlington then brought in two more runs and Essex had a 3-2 lead. 

A four-run sixth inning for the hosts sealed the game as Ryan Watlington, Michael Anunobi, Rory Chandler and Luke Foley advanced around the bases, mainly due to walks and errors by the Mets. 

A single to left by Carlos Dominguez in the top of the seventh inning brought home Tosh Lawson and Koki Kunita for the Mets and Ethan Solomon’s single later brought in Dominguez, but it wasn’t enough to undo the earlier damage and Essex took the game 8-5. 

Arrows’ Manager Richard Chesterton said: “I’m proud of the way we played defense.  We played amazing.  Luis, Luke, those guys up the middle were amazing today.  It was just a really good day for us.” 


Game 1:  Herts 9, London Capitals 4
Game 2:  London Capitals 7, Herts 5

The London Capitals travelled to Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead on Sunday 7 May and split their doubleheader with the Herts Falcons.

The hosts got off to a strong start in Game One when a two-run home run from Moises Vasquez got the Falcons on the board in the bottom of the second inning. 

But London’s David Bedard scored the first run for the visitors, coming home on Brian Siano’s fly out in the top of the third inning, and in the top of the fourth, Siano’s RBI single added another run for the Capitals as Jeremy Lengyel scored from second base to tie the game. 

But Herts sped out of sight in the bottom half of the fourth with a six-run inning.  A two-RBI single by Cristobal Hiche brought in Daniel Ortiz and Juon Ohno and Darren Meintjes followed with a double that brought in Phillip Clark.  By the time the inning ended, the home team was ahead 8-2. 

The Capitals fought back in the top of the fifth inning, with a sacrifice fly from Alex De Oca bringing in Timothy Ssali, and a double by Brian Siano in the top of the sixth inning put him in scoring position for Ssali’s RBI single.  But the Capitals couldn’t make any more of the rally, and a final Herts run scored by Daniel Ortiz on an error in the bottom of the sixth brought the Falcons to their final margin of 9-4. 

London Capitals Manager Cole Ryan said, “Rhys Wilson pitched a heck of a game for us and we didn’t give him the support he needed either offensively or defensively.  We had a lot of runners left in scoring position and a few untimely errors in the field cost us the game.”

But London came back to take Game Two after a two-run home run from Ben Marcel in the fifth inning lifted the Capitals’ spirits. 

Herts started strongly, with a home run from Cristobal Hiche in the bottom of the first inning, and a double from Daniel Ortiz then brought in Darren Meintjes for an early 2-0 Falcons’ lead.

London soon tied the score in the top of the second inning, as Leo Pantoja and David Bedard came in to score on a single from Jeremy Lengyel and a sacrifice fly from Alex De Oca.  But Herts scored two more in their half of the second to go up 4-2. 

David Bedard scored in the top of the fourth inning to narrow the gap for the Capitals, and a two-run home run in the fifth inning gave the visitors a 5-4 edge.  When Sam Karson and Timothy Ssali scored on an error in the top of the sixth inning, it put the Capitals three runs up on the Falcons. 

Although Darren Meintjes scored for Herts in the bottom of the seventh inning, the rally wasn’t sustained and the Capitals prevailed by a score of 7-5.

Cole Ryan said: “The guys really showed a lot of heart to turn it around.  Timmy Ssali went out there and threw a complete game and everyone bounced back from Game One to pull together for the victory.” 

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