Mixed Fortunes for the BASA
A long weekend of action for the BASA with plenty of highs, lows and a not a small amount of rain – summer sports and all that.
The Belfast Northstars had an early start, travelling to Clones and the Peace Link Park to take on the Cavan Comets; having hit a purple patch of form at the minute the Stars are playing with confidence although they are fully aware how dangerous and complacency could be at this stage, especially with two double headers against the Buccaneers looming large.
Gord Cuthbert was handed the ball in the first game, looking to bamboozle the Comets batters with his arsenal of breaking pitches. He would toe the rubber with a lead in the first as well, with Chris Shields, Melvin Woods (who are settling in nicely into a 1-2 punch at the top of the Belfast order) and Mark Smith all plating in the top of the inning. Not bowed however, the Comets would strike right back in the bottom of the inning.
Reacting, Woods and Shields would score again in the second along with Jason Scott giving the visitors their three run advantage back. Just as well too as both defences would setlle in, allowing no further scores for the next couple of innings. Cuthbert would find his groove with Cavan having little answer for his curveball.
In the sixth the Northstars would put their foot on the accelerator, scoring four which would allow Shackley to go to his bench, bringing in Mike McConville as a pinch hitter. Showing the depth of this Northstars squad, McConville would get a base hit with his first swing of the bat. The Comets would score one in the bottom of the sixth to prolong the game but with one more run added by Colin Woods in the last, the game finished 14-4 to the Northstars.
Stepping in from shortstop, Mark Smith started the second tilt and was given a lead to protect straightaway too in no small part to a towering 3-RBI blast by Melvin Woods and an additional run from Colin Woods. The top four of the Stars order would score again in the second along with Sean Shackley, giving the Stars a 9-1 lead after two. Four in the third and another six in the fourth, including a grand slam by Smith saw the game finish 19-1 after the fourth inning.
Another efficient disciplined performance was exactly what was needed before the Northstars return to Hydebank for the next two weekends for derby double headers against the Buccaneers.
With the two Belfast teams fighting for position atop the B league North, both sides know how critical these next four games are.
A rainy, sodden day welcomed the North Dublin Pirates to Newforge lane on Sunday with the Razorbacks looking to change their fortunes in their rookie season. With the conditions dictating the pace of play, it was up to the running game of both teams to do the damage. With Best and Parkes using their backfield, especially Owen to make hard yards all day, it was up to McMahon’s defensive line to hold the Pirates offense.
Unfortunately, unavailable players and injuries caused many of the Razorbacks to double shift on offense and defense and one Dublin runner was able to slip the line and run in the touchdown.
Showing the grit and determination they have utilised all year, the Razorbacks offense drove down field several times during the game but on this day could not convert. As more new players join the team, the Hogs will no doubt take heart in the improvements shown. A quick turnaround for the Newforge team as they hit the road to take on the Galway Warriors this Sunday who sit just above them in the IAFL 2 with a 1-2 record.
As the Razorbacks were fighting the inclement weather, the Belfast Angels were dealing with a storm of their own in the shape of the Belfast Sliders. Without Jonny Craven and still missing Christopher Stange who will be rejoining the team this week, the men and women in scarlet ran into a fiercely determined side led by Will Mitchell. With new player Heather Paton getting her first run as a Halo, the Sliders simply had too much on this rainy Sunday, running out 20-8 victors.
A much tighter affair (as well as CONSIDERABLY better weather) the two sides swapped the lead back and forth until the fourth inning when the Sliders pulled away to 12-5. A home run by Sean Shackley and a stunning rangey catch by Amy Simpson in left field inspired the Halos to rally to 14-9.
Mitchell would rally his own team though and even though some patient at-bats and savvy running got the Angels within two, the home side shut the door, ending the matchup 14-12.
After a heavy schedule of baseball and softball in the last few days a few days off was given to the members of the BASA but, like buses, you wait for one big weekend then two come along together,
Everyone will be called into action once more this week and the Angels will be no exception. They welcome the expansion Bangor Mariners to Hydebank on Sunday afternoon at 2pm, a team that they defeated 32-0 in Bangor at the start of April.
Same time again then?
For more information about Angels softball, Northstars baseball and Razorbacks football, visit www.belfastbaseball.co.uk or follow the teams on social media.