Hornets take pennant; Bucs still have work to do
As these things should, the positioning for the 2015 Baseball Ireland playoffs came down to the last few innings.
With the destinies of the Belfast Buccaneers and the Cavan Comets out of their hands, the Belfast Northstars and the Belfast Hornets headed south to Ashbourne where the Giants were waiting to throw as many spanners in the works as possible.
First up were Darwin Sanchez and his Belfast Northstars who were looking over their shoulders at the Comets.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the Stars were subject to one bad inning that staked the Giants and veteran starter Sean Mitchell to a 7-2 lead.
Regardless, the Stars showed great heart in clawing the lead back to 7-6 but the innings simply ran out for the maroon and gold as their 2015 season came to a close on a sunny afternoon in Ashbourne.
The Hornets would look to get a touch of revenge for their Belfast bretheren, Mark Smith taking the ball to the hill himself and leading by example.
Ashbourne had little answer for the battery of Smith and John Want as they carved through the young Giants. On the other side of the ball, timely hitting, smart baserunning and a four run outburst in the third was enough to finish the game in the fifth inning and send the Hornets home with the B league North pennant.
When the dust settled it was as mixed a bag of fortunes for the baseball teams of the BBSC. The Hornets will have a week off now as they await the result of the semi final. The Northstars will no doubt be disappointed with how the season ended, but with their young and talented roster they will be looking to the future rather than the present.
The Buccaneers have a bit more work to do on Sunday at Hydebank as they welcome the Cavan Comets for the B league North semi final, a one game playoff to decide who will match up against the Hornets for divisional title. The home side should be confident going in, having a 4-1 record against Cavan this season.
The last double header between the two teams split the spoils; the first game of the day a 9-5 loss, the second a 15-6 win for the Bucs. In the first, multi-hit outings from Terry Rosbotham, Jose Santos and Sean Shackley (6H, 5RBI combined) were simply not enough to outdo the more consistent output of the Comets, coupled with a solid combined pitching outing from Nick Pennington and Forrest Pierce.
Pierce would start the second game but after walking six and allowing five hits, he gave way to Jason Beck. Despite the change in pitchers, the Buccaneers truly had the wind at their backs registering 18 hits in the outing, giving more than enough run support for Jon Carter on the hill (7.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 ER, 1BB).
The Comets have shown flashes throughout this season and will undoubtedly be looking to interrupt an all-Belfast final.
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) and The Belfast Angels Softball Club (@Belfast_Angels).