Bristol Badgers pulled off a thrilling 8-7 walk-off win over the London Sidewinders on Sunday to advance to the semi-finals of the National BBF AA baseball championships.
The two teams were tied at the bottom of the ninth inning with the Badgers with two outs and shortstop Rich Green at second base.
Player manager Tom Hollies came up to bat and singled to centre field allowing Green to score and secure a hard earned victory.
The victory was built on the back of a complete game pitching performance in 30 degree heat by Deivydas Trinkunas who struck out six Sidewinders.
Although the Badgers had built a 6-1 lead after the second inning, some costly fielding errors allowed the Sidewinders to even the game up by the top of the eighth before the late heroics in front of ecstatic supporters.
“Deivydas pitched like a beast in the heat and kept us in the game despite the errors in the field,” said Tom Hollies after the game. “We once again proved that we can score runs but really need to tighten up and stop giving away free runs particularly now we get to the business end of the season. Whilst we were good with the bat, we can improve our efficiency when runners get on base, thats what will help us win more ball games”
As well as the dramatic walk off, Hollies had a good day at the plate, driving in three runs with three hits. First baseman George Braeger was also on fire with the bat, hitting a three RBI double and playing fantastic defence at first base.
Six of the Badgers had multi hit games to back up Trinkunas’ stellar performance.
The Badgers will now face the London Marauders on Saturday 7th September at the National Baseball Centre at Farnham Park in Slough. The match will start at 3.00pm with the winners going through to the final the following day.
The semi finals and final are being shown live on the BBF YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/BBFBritishBaseball/featured
In Cardiff, the Bristol Buccaneers missed out on the SWBL single A final in their first season, going down 23-12 to the Merlins.
Despite keeping the game close for six innings, a couple of two out errors proved decisive as the Merlins took full advantage and secured their place in the final.
Catcher Ben Briggs, third baseman Neptali Ortega, first baseman Richard Evans and debutant outfielder Greg Roscow all had multiple hit days while Phil Midgley had a strong outing in his first start of the season as Pitcher.
“Despite the disappointment of the loss, it has been a fantastic season for the Buccaneers, the vast majority of whom have never been near a baseball diamond,” said player manager Richard Evans. “Players have improved with every game and have never given up trying to win no matter what the score. It been a real pleasure to share the field with every single member of the team and I know that next season we will be pushing for honours again.”
Bristol Baseball Club is hosting the SWBL Finals Day next Sunday (1st September) at Somerdale Pavilion. Yeovil Whirlwinds will take on the Cornish Claycutters in the AA final while the Cardiff Merlins will play the Exeter Spitfires for the Single A crown.
The first pitch is at 11.00am and spectators are welcome.