Fifteen runs in the fifth inning without reply saw the Crosby Vikings battle through and take a 37-22 victory over the Formby Fins.
In what was a tight contest for the first four innings, the Vikings turned the game on its head and pulled away far enough to bring in the ‘mercy rule’ and end the game early.
Two home-runs by Vikings short-stop Chris Jones, as well as third baseman Matty Green and pitcher Nick Hulse were the highlights of a match that saw every Vikings player score at least one run.
Historically, this fixture has seen Crosby come out on top for the majority of their contests. However, a strong off-season for the Fins has seen them make a large development within their squad. With new additions, a few returns of old faces and improvements within last year’s team, the Fins certainly have as high aspirations as the rest of the league's sides.
The opening inning demonstrated that, as a combined fifteen runs showed both sides intent of taking a firm grip of this match early on. A few errors within the Vikings fielding and strong hitting from the Fins saw the game level at 11-11 after two innings.
With tensions running high, the passion was showing in both sides to win this contest. Eight runs in the third inning from the Fins including a home-run by infielder Janette Rayton showed everyone that their performance in the opening exchanges was no fluke. That total was trumped however, as the Vikings replied with ten of their own to take a narrow two-run lead.
The Fins replied well with three runs in the fourth inning and managed to only give away one run in reply from the Vikings to tie the game once again.
As we entered the fifth inning, the scores were level at 22-22. But with history on the side of the Vikings when it comes to these situations, it was important for the Fins to start well.
In the end, the complete opposite happened as the Vikings managed to shut out the Fins batting. That fielding performance seemed to give them the required momentum as Crosby scored fifteen runs to end the match on the run ahead rule.
On the neighbouring pitch, the Sefton Sharks continue their impressive start to their 2018 campaign. After scoring four unanswered runs in the second inning, the Sharks never looked back and ended the match after six innings with a 20-8 victory against the St. Helens Sabres.
After not competing last week, the pressure was certainly mounting on the Sabres in their first match of the season. With the league title being within their grasp last year, new Sabres captain Rachel Sewell came into this match with most of last year’s squad intact.
With the first inning seeing both sides score three runs, a potential thriller was on the cards. But sadly the theme of the contest began in inning number two, as four runs without reply saw the Sharks jump to a 7-3 lead. A further six runs from the Sharks in the third inning with two in reply from the Sabres made it a 13-5 game.
From inning four, a combination of strong fielding and solid batting saw the Sharks gradually increase their lead. At the end of the sixth inning, the ‘mercy rule’ came into effect. That result means the Sharks have now won six of their last seven games.
A special mention goes to Sharks outfielder Lewis Cranny, who quite possibly made the league’s shortest ever stint in the infield. With the Sharks leading by twelve runs at the time, a tactical change was made with short-stop Dave Martin-Baez. But after two comical plays involving Cranny, the position was quickly relinquished much to the amusement of the officials and players from both sides.
Next week sees the Vikings aiming to make it a 3-0 start to the season, as they will be facing-off against the Sabres. This will be their first league match against each other, since last year’s epic encounter that decided the 2017 league title.
Meanwhile, a first win of the season will be on the minds of the Fins and the Seagulls, who will be doing battle. Taking a rest this week are the Sharks. Their next match could potentially see a battle between the two remaining unbeaten sides.
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 and then check out the matches from 7pm.