The Crosby Vikings made it back-to- back Sefton Softball League titles with a 22-7 thrashing of Formby Fins in what was billed as a ‘winner-takes- all’ end-of-season showdown.
A 15-run third inning for the now two-time league champions was the telling factor in a match-up that sadly did not live up to the hype of what has been by far the most exciting and competitive season in the leagues history.
With the first two innings showing both sides' fielding qualities, the third inning killed the game off as a contest. A combination of consistent hitting from the Vikings and a few errors in the Fins in-field, gave Crosby an uncatchable lead.
Two innings later, the ‘mercy’ rule came into effect and five innings was enough for the Vikings to make it an unlikely turnaround to win the league.
After recording three losses in four matches halfway through the season, the Vikings, including team captain, Ray Bennett, did not think they would end up retaining the league title.
“I cannot deny that winning the league title looked bleak to me after those losses,” said Bennett.
“But I knew I had to get the team back into the fighting spirit that they had last season by making sure each player had a level head after each inning.
“Winning those last five leagues matches was so vital, and the biggest factor in those matches I felt was the team effort and the close bond that has developed over the last two seasons.
“Those matches made us look like the team that won the league last year.”
After retaining the league title and gaining success at the National Championships, it is now the Sefton Shield that is on Bennett’s mind.
“I plan to carry on where we left off this season by improving our game and bringing in new players so hopefully we can look at setting up a second Vikings team.
“With us qualifying for nationals again next year we will look at improving to compete at a high level next year and in the upcoming Sefton Shield.”
On the other pitch, it was a highly entertaining slugfest as the Southport Seagulls ended the season on a high after coming from behind to secure a 27-24 win against the St. Helens Sabres.
After a bright start by the Seagulls, innings three and four saw the Sabres show their intentions on creating an upset in the final round of matches by collecting a combined fifteen runs.
A further five runs in the fifth inning including a home-run by Sabres player Hayley Paton saw St. Helens in a comfortable position going into the closing stages.
Sadly for them, the strength of the Seagulls batting order came through at the right time. Lead by hard hitters Sam Steele and Chris Chu, Southport collected seven runs to give them a three-run victory.
The next bit of Softball action for most teams will be the award-winning Sefton Shield tournament, which will take place in towards the end of September.
It will see the return of many highly successful clubs from across the country including the exciting German team, Aachen Aixplosives.