North Stars A 3-1 Mariners A
North Stars B 14-0 Mariners B (5 innings)
Saturday was a decisive day in the A league as the 4 playoff teams were confirmed. Belfast guaranteed their spot in the post season and in turn eliminated the Greystones Mariners with a 3-1 victory.
It was an entertaining and hard fought game with the pitchers very much in control as both teams combined for just 8 hits. Belfast opened the scoring in the second inning when debutant Dave Cohen drove in Colin Powers with a sacrifice fly to right field. The Mariners would reply straight away with a run of their own in the third inning but it would be their only run of the day. Two consecutive bases loaded walks courtesy of Sean Shackley and John Want would give the Stars a decisive 2 run lead in the fifth inning as Greystones could not muster a comeback.
Jon Sculli is credited with the win for Belfast after pitching 6 innings of one run ball and striking out 12 Mariners. Jon Carter provided fine relief pitching with 3 scoreless innings to close out the game.
The result moves the North Stars to 7-4 on the season and they still have a chance to top the league. The league leading Dublin Spartans have 3 more wins than Belfast after a doubleheader victory over Munster but the Dublin side have also played 3 more games.
In the B game, Belfast routed the Mariners 14-0 en route to their 12th victory of the season, 8 of which have been mercy rule victories. The North Stars scored with ease from the start, plating 5 and 8 runs in the first and second innings respectively. Mark Smith shut out Greystones, striking out 11 over 5 innings and giving up just 3 hits. Belfast now shares a lead of the B league alongside the Spartans’ B side with both teams owning a 12-5 record with 1 game remaining.