The new season is here...
“All I’m thinking about is winning that fourth league title” are the words of Crosby Vikings captain Ray Bennett as he enters his final year as team captain.
The 2018 Sefton Softball League season begins next week, and all eyes are on the Crosby Vikings who are searching for their fourth consecutive league title. With the league getting stronger and stronger, the target on Crosby’s back is getting increasingly larger.
Bennett believes 2018 could be their hardest season to date, “I honestly see every team as a threat this year. Each team has grown and got some great players in them.”
Succeeding Bennett as captain will be third baseman Chris Jones, who has been part of the team since its inception. “I’ve had a great almost four years as captain” states Bennett. “Winning the league and securing bronze at the Nationals were big highlights. I just thought it would be time to let someone else take over to continue the success of the team.”
There is little change to the Vikings squad. One acquisition is Gemma Wallace, an infielder who also plays in the Manchester League for the Urmston Rippers. Another recruit is rookie David Allen.
However, they have lost one player in the form of Andy Lott. The all-rounder has not only moved to the Southport Seagulls, but has become their new team captain. Since winning the inaugural season back in 2014, inconsistency has been the theme for Southport. Lott believes he has made the right decision.
“I thought that in the best interest of the league, I would go over to the Seagulls as they desperately needed a captain who was willing to do the job.
They have lost a few captains that have damaged and left a gap in the team. Hopefully I will be able to provide that stability in the coming seasons.”
The key to the Seagulls success will most likely be lead from their experienced players, such as outfielders Chris Chu, Tanya Basu, infielders Lee Kendrick-Walker, Lubo Durisin as well as Jenny and Sarah Douglas.
Another team with a new captain are the St. Helens Sabres. After just falling short of completing their Cinderella story last season, captain Rachel Sewell and her team are determined to make amends and complete the task of going one step better.
“Although we lost that tight game against the Vikings, we have improved and developed so much as a team” says Sewell. “I think we can still build on from last year. We just need to turn up, keep doing what we’re doing and having fun.”
The Sabres are seen as one of the most fun teams to watch and be part of. If they can make the next step to inning the league, it will certainly be celebrated by everyone in the Sefton Softball community.
One team that has had a busy off-season, is the Sefton Sharks. Due to personal circumstances, a lot of their previous roster has had to leave. But a lot of new recruits has captain Stephen Shearer feeling positive about 2018. It also sees the return of Kath Longfield, one of their original players.
One player in particular that Shearer has his eye on to be this year’s surprise package, is teenager Sammy Godsall. In her debut season last year aged just 14, Godsall hit 2 home-runs and turned many heads from the leagues most experienced players.
Shearer says “The flexibility in our squad is going to be key for us being competitive in what is no doubt going to be a competitive league this year.”
It was a rough year for the Formby Fins in 2017. After just missing out on the league in 2016, it took until the penultimate week last seas
on to secure their first win. But despite that setback, Fins captain Mike Hulme believes that they can be competitive once again.
“Last year we lost some good players and needed to re-build. I have every confidence that the Fins can beat any team this year as long as we play to our full potential.”
“We have regained Dave Warren who is a great all-round player. He can also build the spirit of the team, which can be a great asset during tight games. The other acquisition is Andrew Gardner, who is a very tricky pitcher to play against and will improve the depth of our pitching staff.”
The opening week of matches sees the Vikings begin their campaign against the Seagulls. The other contest sees the Sharks do battle with the Fins. Resting the first round matches will be 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 our Rookie sessions at PlayFootball on Drummond Road in Crosby on Monday evenings at 6pm to give it a go or check out the matches starting at 7.
Also, don’t forget to check out the league website www.seftonsoftball.com, Facebook.com/seftonsoftball or follow them on Twitter and instagram @SeftonSoftball.