The St. Helens Sabres certainly caused a stir within the Sefton Softball League, as their 11-7 win over league champions Crosby Vikings now puts them in control at the top of the league.
A combined eight-runs in the second and third innings saw the Sabres take a comfortable lead that was never threatened for the remainder of this contest that was commanded by both teams' high quality fielding abilities.
After their initial match-up being postponed due to bad weather, the build-up to this fixture has been growing more and more each week. The Vikings opened up well by scoring in three-runs in the first inning.
That ended up being the only-time Crosby had the lead as the Sabres responded perfectly. A combination of strong batting by the heart of the St. Helens batting order and a few fielding errors by the Vikings, saw the Sabres turn the result around and take a comfortable 9-3 lead after three innings.
At the half-way point, the Vikings were forced to make a few switches to take a different approach to their scoring and attempt at a comeback. However, no matter where the Vikings were penetrating their pressure in the Sabres outfield, any threat got cancelled out with some quality catching. Most notably from outfielders Terry Ebo, daughter Rebecca and Sabres short-stop Natalie Leyland.
Sadly for the Vikings, the innings ran out, and the Sabres completed a four-run victory. With both sides taking on each other twice more at the end of the season, this could well be the start of a memorable friendly rivalry.
On the next pitch, the Southport Seagulls came through to defeat the Formby Fins 18-17 in what was a highly entertaining contest. Despite being behind by as much as eight runs, the Seagulls regrouped well and eventually completed the comeback to win by one run.
It has been a pretty forgettable 2017 for the Fins. So any sort of win is what this determined Formby side are now looking for.
After both sides scored six runs each in the opening two innings, the Fins bats were suddenly let loose. Solid base-hitting by almost all of Formby’s batting order brought in sevens run in the end. With no response by Southport in that inning, that saw the Fins jump to a 13-6 lead.
Innings four and five saw the Seagulls regather some necessary momentum. While not getting any Fins player on base, a combined five runs were scored to narrow the gap to just two runs.
Then the sixth inning saw the Seagulls turn the game around with a total of six runs being scored to give them the lead.
The final inning needed the Fins to score a handful of runs to tie the game. Despite a valiant attempt by the Fins most experienced players, only four runs were scored. That one-run victory sees the Seagulls back with a winning record and still with a realistic chance of getting involved in the battle for the league title.
Next week sees the Sabres looking to extend their stay at the top of the league as they do battle with the Sefton Sharks, who are returning after their second scheduled rest week.
In other action, the Vikings are aiming to get back to winning ways post-haste. To achieve that goal, they will have to defeat a Seagulls side that still have the belief they can compete for the league title. With them being the only side to beat both the Sabres and Vikings, they certainly have the ability to do that.
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.