The Crosby Vikings have now got one hand on a fourth consecutive Sefton Softball League title after defeating the St. Helens Sabres in a very competitive 8-4 contest.
Six runs in the fifth inning was the deciding factor in a match that was dominated by the fielding skills of both sides. Despite the incredible achievement of the Sabres fielders, the Vikings continued their unbeaten form by extending their perfect season record to seven wins without loss.
Early signs showed that any run would be more crucial than usual, as neither side got on the board in the first two innings.
First blood eventually went to the Vikings in the third inning as two runs were scored by infielders Charlotte Green and Vikings captain Ray Bennett.
The Sabres quickly halved the deficit by replying with one run of their own. However, that seemed to ignite the Vikings in inning number five. Several strong base-hits by the top of the Vikings batting order put Crosby into a commanding 8-1 lead.
As much as the Sabres tried to regroup, Vikings pitcher Nick Hulse and the rest of the line-up were not going to let their lead be quashed. Not even a home-run by Sabres outfielder Richard Jameson in the final inning could worry their opponents in what was a four-run victory in the end.
Meanwhile in the other contest this week, fourteen runs in the sixth inning propelled the Formby Fins to their second win of the season against the Southport Seagulls 28-20.
Despite the Seagulls being firmly in control for the majority of the match, a surge with the bat by the Fins saw them double their previous runs total in the match and take a memorable victory.
It has been a difficult 2018 for both sides. In a league where it is tough to gain any momentum, it seems that keeping your nerve when it counts is what is going to separate one team from the rest of the chasing pack.
Coming out strong in the opening exchanges were the Seagulls. Home-runs by Lubomir Durisin, Tanya Basu and Seagulls captain Andy Lott put their side into an early 11-7 lead.
However, the fourth inning showed signs of a Fins fightback. Three-runs including a home-run by outfielder Andrew Gardner reduced the gap to just one run.
Innings five and six saw both sides come out strong with the bat. That included a second home-run by Lott to keep the Seagulls narrowly ahead. But sadly for Southport, all that hard work fell apart when the Fins came up to bat at the end of the sixth inning.
It saw every Fins player score at least one run each and ended up collecting fourteen runs, thus doubling their current total.
With the Seagulls now chasing the game, negativity started to seep into the team. One run was all they could conjure up in the final inning, and the Fins secured a surprising eight-run victory.
Next week could see the Vikings claim the 2018 league title. A win against second place side Sefton Sharks will assure that. On the neighbouring pitch, the Sabres will face-off against the Seagulls. With both sides on two wins, the victorious side will remain in strong contention for a runners-up finish.
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.