A combined team of Southport Seagulls and Milton Keynes Diamonds players have won the Sefton Shield for the third year running after they produced a top performance in their 18-7 victory over the Manchester Mavericks.
After the Seagulls claimed victory in 2014, they merged with the MK Diamonds in 2015 to make them a force to be reckoned with. Retaining their title in 2016, however, was seen by many to have been their most impressive Shield victory of the three.
Nicknamed the ‘Seamonds’, this talented team, captained by Leah Holmes, made it a weekend to remember. They certainly saved their best for the final as they piled the pressure on the Manchester side from the opening inning. The occasion seemed to get to the Mavericks, and a spectacular spinning catch by outfielder Chris Chu completed the hat-trick of Sefton Shield titles. Chu, who also received the final MVP award, and second baseman Craig Holmes are the only two players that have played in all three victories.
The semi-finals saw the Mavericks look like the team to beat after their ruthless 12-3 victory over Sefton League champions, the Crosby Vikings. As for the ‘Seamonds’, they recovered well following a couple of surprises losses in the group stages, seeing off the Manchester Meerkats in a low scoring contest finally winning 8-3.
Also collecting some silverware were Sefton League runners-up, the Formby Fins. They managed to win the Plate competition after winning 27-12 against a Leeds Bobcats side, who have now made it back-to-back years of being runners-up in the Plate. The Fins themselves also won the plate in 2014.
After both sides just missed out on progressing to contest the main prize, redemption was on their minds. The Fins came through the semi-finals over the Manchester Fish 15-4, while the Leeds Bobcats produced an unlikely comeback to snatch a spot in the final, beating the Manchester Tigers in dramatic fashion 12-11.
While all 12 teams brought a lot of colour to the event, the entertainment certainly came from the returning Aachen Aixplosives the most. After making their debut last year, the German side now have this tournament permanently pinned to their calendar.
Despite only collecting one win from the entire weekend, captain David Schroeder and his team remained positive throughout with some unique warm up exercises and a great demonstration of fast-pitch Softball. They ended the awards presentation by giving away an assortment of gifts from their homeland to all the other teams, such as local beer and chocolate.
After two successful years of raising a total of £1,380 for ‘Guide Dogs’, the Sefton League decided to support local charity ‘The Owen McVeigh Foundation’ this year. A huge turnout for the raffle and the ‘fast-pitch challenge’ meant a total of £605 was raised. That ended up being more than double the total that was raised last year. Massive thanks go to Stephen and Kate Shearer and their hard-working team for making this award-winning tournament run smoothly.
Even though the sun has set on the outdoor season, the softball doesn't stop. There will be indoor training beginning on October 10th, at Fernhill Sports Centre in Bootle from 7-9pm, and your first session will be free of charge. Further details can be found here: