Hornets take divisional crown
In their rookie season, the Belfast Hornets will be representing the Northern Division of Baseball Ireland in the league final against the Dublin Spartans.
In the first, Mark Smith faced off against the Buccaneers impressive rookie Alex Lindeman. With Lindeman fighting his control, the Hornets jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to walks to Smith and John McKee, John Want and Kevin O’Hare being hit by pitches and a single from Stephen Hunter.
The Bucs would not be held for long however, Terry Rosbotham being driven in by a double from Jon Carter to get them on the board. They would proceed to load up the bases before Chris Stange ripped a double to get his side back within one and, with Lindeman driving in Stefano Baschiera, the game was tied.
In the next, a double from John Want drove in Smith and Colin Woods whose next at bat resulted in a two run home run to left field to extend the top seed’s lead to 12-6. Both teams finally found their gloves and were able to play better defence in the last few innings of the game. An RBI triple from Lindeman attempted to kick start the Bucs comeback but it was too little too late for the Buccaneers as they dropped the first game 13-7.
With heavy clouds forming over the field, Jose Santos would take the ball himself for his Buccaneers to match up against Colin Woods of the Hornets. It didn’t start off well for the Bucs, Smith knocking a three run home run out of the park to put his side up early again and again, the Buccaneers started to fight back almost immediately, the bat of Terry Rosbotham staying hot and driving Lindeman in. Clumsy defence by the Bucs allowed Sean Gottschalk to score all the way from first base and the game threatened to turn into another untidy affair until both teams tightened up as the weather turned worse.
The Bucs would chip away at the lead, adding one in the fourth to bring the score to 4-2 and in the fifth they would take the lead thanks to Ultan McGill driving in Santos and Lindeman and a walk to Billy Thompson bringing Rosbotham home.
The 5-4 lead wouldn’t be long lived however as the rain made pitching trickier than usual, the Hornets benefitting from from walks, hit batsmen and an errant pickoff attempt.
Sensing the game in their grasp, veteran Gord Cuthbert struck a 2-RBI double to stretch the lead to 10-5 and with the bases loaded again and Mark Smith at the plate, a grand slam home run by the Hornets coach put the writing on the wall.
The Buccaneers however would (as they have done all year) refuse to quit, loading the bases and clawing back two runs in what was now a thoroughly miserable rainy September afternoon in Belfast. A single from Woods would take the final to 16-6 and that’s how it would finish on this Sunday, crowning the Belfast Hornets the B League North champions.
by Neil Boyd
Be sure to check out the Facebook pages and twitter feeds for the teams of the Belfast Baseball and Softball Club –
The Belfast Northstars(@NorthstarsBB) ,
The Belfast Buccaneers(@BelfastBucs),
The Belfast Hornets (@BelfastHornets)
The Belfast Angels Softball Club (@Belfast_Angels).