A game-ending home-run by outfielder Chris Chu sealed a vital 21-20 win for the Southport Seagulls over league title challengers St. Helens Sabres.
Despite their higher ranked opponents clawing back a seven-run gap in their final batting innings, the Seagulls held their nerve and secured the necessary runs to seal their fifth win of the season.
Sadly for the Sabres, that is consecutive losses for the first time this season. Since their 11-7 win over the Crosby Vikings, it has been a tough ride for the Sabres as the title race is building up to a tense finish.
The opening inning saw the Seagulls quickly take a 4-0 lead with no reply, which included a home-run by outfielder Lee Kendrick-Walker. It ended up being a lead that would never get over-turned. Inning number two saw the Sabres get on the board with runs from second baseman Adam Brookbanks and short-stop Natalie Leyland. The third inning saw the team from St. Helens make their move. Six runs with only three in reply from Southport made it a tied game at 8-8.
Shortly after the Sabres took a two run lead thanks to outfielder Jordan Colton and pitcher Rebecca Ebo, the Seagulls responded with five of their own. The following inning virtually saw a carbon copy of what just happened as the Seagulls increased the lead to seven runs, despite the Sabres finding some more runs of their own.
The final inning needed the Sabres to score six runs to keep the match going. Not only did they achieve that, but they managed to take a one run lead in the process thanks to some strong hitting from the majority of their batting line-up.
That ended up not being enough, as a home-run by Chu scored the runs that saw Southport take a dramatic 21-20 victory.
That result puts league leaders Crosby Vikings in firm control at the top of the table. Two wins out of their remaining three matches will make it a hat-trick of league titles in as many years.
Meanwhile, the Sefton Sharks recorded two important wins in their double-header against the Formby Fins.
An 11-5 and 27-9 victory over the league’s bottom side now propels the Sharks into third spot in the league.
After one of the fixtures getting postponed earlier in the season, both teams decided to add that fixture with this weeks contest.
The first game saw the Sharks quickly jump to a 5-0 lead in the opening inning. By the end of the third inning, Sefton had doubled their tally and moved to a commanding 10-1 lead. Despite a flurry of runs by the Fins in the fourth inning, there was not enough time to catch-up and the Sharks took the first win by six runs.
In the second game, the Fins caught their opponents unaware as they opened with six runs without reply. That opening exchange seemed to re-ignite the Sharks as top fielding by short-stop Paul Colton and rookie outfielder Anna Ocenasek saw them cancel out any potential threat. When Sefton returned to batting, they produced an astonishing sixteen total runs in the second inning alone.
That dramatic turnaround saw the Sharks take a ten run lead. A further nine runs with only two in reply from Formby in the third innings made it a 25-8 lead for a Sharks.
Sefton eventually took the second game by eighteen runs, and have the opportunity to possibly snatch second spot ahead of the Sabres.
To do that, they will have to defeat league leaders Crosby Vikings, who return after having their final rest week. However, a win for the Vikings will have them one step through the door to another league title.
The other contest sees the St. Helens Sabres do battle with the Formby Fins. The Sabres will be aiming to avoid a third straight defeat. A win will put them in good stead for their highly anticipated contest with the Vikings.
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.