The Crosby Vikings recovered well after a poor start to defeat the Southport Seagulls 18-10 to begin their campaign of searching for a fourth straight Sefton Softball League title.
After a strong opening three innings by the Seagulls, the Vikings gradually clawed back the deficit and produced a strong finish to make it a handsome eight-run victory.
The build-up was all about Seagulls captain Andy Lott, as not only was he playing against his former team, but also facing-off against father Mike Lott on the mound, as both would be starting pitchers for their respective sides.
But as the match began, the story was looking like the Seagulls would create an early season upset, as they pulled away to an early 7-1 lead after two innings. A grand-slam home-run by Seagulls short-stop Lubomir Durisin gave Southport a comfortable lead. With the Vikings also making a few errors in the process, the current league champions were certainly on the ropes early on.
But after that initial set-back, the Vikings were made to work hard to try and reduce the gap. A string of base-hits by the top of their batting order in each of the third and fourth innings which ended with a home-run by Mike Lott, saw Crosby suddenly move into a 9-8 lead.
The fifth inning saw Crosby double their lead with a single run, and no reply from the Seagulls. Then in inning number six, the unassailable lead was achieved. Six runs, including a home-run by Vikings short-stop Chris Jones and a run for Vikings debutant David Allen saw Crosby move into a six-run lead of their own.
Southport did reply with two runs in the sixth inning. However, the seventh and final inning saw the Vikings find two runs of their own from Jones as well as infielder Lara Bragg.
A final flourish from Crosby’s infield prevented a miracle comeback from Southport , thus completing the eight-run opening week victory.
Elsewhere, the Sefton Sharks certainly sent out a message to rest of the league with a commanding 31-14 win over the Formby Fins.
A first-ever home-run for Sefton’s Claire Riley, as well team-mates Dave Martin Baez, Lewis Cransworth and Graeme Nickson were the highlights in this impressive outing for Sharks captain Stephen Shearer and his side.
The opening inning saw a combined fourteen runs scored, and the Sharks take an early 8-6 lead. However in inning number two, while the Sharks failed to score, Formby match their first inning efforts and scored a further six runs to move into a 12-8 lead.
The following inning saw the Sharks level proceedings. After Formby extended their lead by a further run, Sefton replied with five runs to tie the game at 13-13.
Then what happened in the fourth inning was quite unprecedented. After the Fins re-took the lead with another run to add to their tally, the Sharks managed to almost double total their previous run total by recording an astounding twelve runs.
After that, a further six runs were scored by Sefton. With the Sharks moving into a seventeen run lead. That brought the ‘mercy rule’ into effect, and the match ended after five innings.
Next week sees both the Vikings and Sharks aiming to pull away from the rest of the league, and make it two twins out of two. Crosby will be taking on the Formby Fins, whereas Sefton will be doing battle against a St. Helens Sabres side that will begin their 2018 campaign, after having a rest week.
Taking time-off next week will be the Seagulls.
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 PlayFootball on Drummond Road in Crosby on Monday evenings at 7pm to give it a go and check out the matches.