The last-place Brighton Jets have already forfeited their last two games of the season to the Mets that were scheduled for Sunday 27 August, so even if the second-place Southampton Mustangs take two from the Essex Arrows on the last day of the season, the Mustangs will still trail the Mets by 2.5 games in the final standings.
With the London Capitals secure in third place and the Essex Arrows in fourth, the NBL playoff picture is now clear.
On Sunday 3 September, the Arrows will play the Capitals, and the winner will play the Mustangs – and the winner of that game will take on the London Mets in a best-of-three series at Farnham Park on 9-10 September to determine the NBL National Champion for 2017.
Game 1: Mets 12, Capitals 2
Game 2: Mets 6, Capitals 1
The Capitals scored first in Game One as Rhys Wilson came home on a RBI single from Jeremy Lengyel in the top of the first inning.
But a two-run RBI single from Seth Morgan, driving in Martin Tucker and Carlos Dominguez, put the Mets on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Then a sacrifice bunt by Robert Hero brought in Morgan and Richard Minford doubled and later scored on a passed ball to give the Mets a 4-1 lead.
The Mets added two more runs in the bottom of the second inning as Danny Sassoli and Martin Tucker crossed home plate, and a single from Sam Sproule in the third inning drove in Robert Hero to give the Mets a 7-1 lead.
Jeremy Lengyel’s double and subsequent steal of home in the top of the fourth inning brought the score to 7-2, but the Mets weren’t finished scoring.
A lead-off triple by Jamie Dix in the bottom of the seventh inning and a sacrifice fly from Martin Tucker was followed by a further run scored by Carlos Dominguez in the bottom of the seventh inning to bring the Mets’ lead to 11-2, and Sam Sproule scored in the bottom of the eighth inning to notch the Mets’ 12th and final run in a 12-2 win.
Mets’ bats continued to stay hot in Game Two as Jamie Dix and Martin Tucker scored in the bottom of the first inning to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.
Four more runs were added by the home team in the bottom of the second. Sam Sproule, Daniele Sassoli and Jamie Dix all reached base, a sacrifice from Carlos Dominguez brought home Sassoli, and then designated hitter Seth Morgan cleared the bases giving the Mets a 6-0 lead.
Maxime Flayol’s single was the first hit for the Capitals, and he scored on a sacrifice from Leo Pantoja.
Capitals’ closer Johan Villanueva limited the damage by striking out the side in the bottom of the sixth inning, but London Mets took the game and their spot in the NBL Championship series.
Acting Manager Martin Tucker said: “The two wins today secured the pennant, which means we finish top and go straight through to the finals. It’s all coming together, we’ve got the full squad back and we’re pumped. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Manager Jonathon Cramman said: “I’m very glad we finished first. It gives us a definite advantage not having to play playoff baseball. Not having to play single-game elimination allows us to get our pitching lined up and get our guys that are banged up healthy. I am very excited about September 9-10 and I firmly believe that if we play our best baseball we’ll be National Champions.”