Solid base-hitting, and impressive debuts from new members saw a much changed Southport Seagulls side comfortably take down defending champions Crosby Vikings 16-9 in the opening week of the Sefton Softball League.
Four runs in the opening inning saw the Seagulls take an early lead. They never looked back, as a consistent amount of runs scored in nearly all of the remaining innings saw them take a well-deserved seven-run victory.
This match-up has always been well contested in the past. Sometimes, it has sorted out a league title or two. Sadly for the current league champions, it was a stuttering start. Some mishaps in the Vikings outfield and not enough hits from the bat saw them 7-2 down after two innings.
Inning number three saw Crosby reduce the gap by two runs, as a much improved fielding display prevented Southport from adding more to the tally. However, inning number four saw the Seagulls score three runs without reply.
What hope the Vikings had, was quickly extinguished, as the Seagulls outfielders prevented any sort of dramatic comeback take place. That included an MVP performance by left-fielder Andrew Lott. Captain Sophie Temple was highly delighted with her teams display. But she knows there is a long way to go in this season. As for Vikings captain Ray Bennett, he remains confident that his team can bounce back. Especially, when they lost their opening fixture of last season, and still came out at the end as league champions.
On the neighbouring pitch, the St. Helens Sabres have started the season off with a bang as they ousted the Sefton Sharks with an impressive 27-13 victory. Eleven runs in the opening inning by the Sabres gave them enough of a safety cushion to extend their winning run over the Sharks to four games.
After securing a season sweep over the Sefton Sharks in 2016, the St. Helens Sabres were looking to keep their winning run over their counterparts for another year. After that strong opening innings, a further five runs kept them in firm control of this contest.
However, the Sharks were still battling hard. After some good in-fielding preventing the Sabres from scoring in the third running, the Sharks found the runs to put the pressure on.
A further four runs from the heart of the Sabres batting order, extended St. Helens’ lead to eight runs with a 20-12 lead after four innings. Sadly for the Sharks, the longer the match went on, the more hits the Sabres were creating. A combined seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings officially ended the contest, as the ‘mercy rule’ came into effect. That saw an elated Sabres captain Jack Scholes to cue the celebrations with his team-mates. However, with their team having a rest week in the next round of matches, it will be quite a task to keep that momentum going into their next match in two week’s time.
Next week sees the Formby Fins come into the mix, as they will be taking on their long-time title rivals, the Crosby Vikings. Even though it is still early into the season, this match could very well be a must-win for Crosby, if they are going to have a say in this season’s title race.
The other contest sees the Southport Seagulls looking to go 2-0 for the season, against a Sefton Sharks side looking to bounce back after their loss to the Sabres.
The Sefton Softball League is always happy to welcome new players. With the birth of a sixth team being the league’s next ambition, now is the time to be a part of this ever-growing league. Come down to Holy Family High School in Thornton on Monday evenings at 7pm to give it a go and check out the matches. Also, don’t forget to check out the league website www.seftonsoftball.com, like the Facebook page by typing in Sefton Softball and follow them on Twitter @SeftonSoftball.