Bristol Badgers hit back in style, on the south coast, to split their opening day British Baseball Federation (BBF) AAA double header against Bournemouth Bears.
After losing a tight first game 5-2, the Bristol team’s offense exploded late to claim the second game 14-3.
Starting pitcher Taka Kano had a good all round game, pitching six innings, striking out four Bears while giving up just two earned runs. He was also strong at the plate with four hits and two runs batted in.
Five other Badgers had a good game with the bat. Mattia Papini, Doug Scriver, Rhodri Theaker, Mike Osborn and Rich Green had 11 hits and drove in seven runs between them.
“We responded really well after a tight loss in the first game and were able to support Taka with good hitting up and down the order,” said Badgers player manager Rhodri Theaker. “It was a solid start to the season and I am confident that we can push for the title if we continue to improve on this weekend.”
It was a tough day for the other Bristol teams who were all in action in the BBF South West and Wales Baseball League.
The Bats took on defending champions Cardiff Merlins I and suffered two losses going down 10-5 and 12-10 in the Welsh capital.
The Bristol side couldn’t get going against the Cardiff pitchers in the first game registering just five hits which was compounded by giving up too many walks and stolen bases to the defending champions.
The second game was much closer with the Bats offense clicking. Sean Wilkins and Josh Boulton had a multiple hit game but it was not enough after Cardiff wracked up five runs in the first inning.
The Buccaneers and Brunels were both in action at Somerdale Pavilion but came unstuck in their double headers.
The Buccaneers went down 19-10 and 27-12 to the Taunton Muskets in two games that ebbed and flowed in the sunshine.
The Muskets’ bats were too strong, registering 16 hits the first game. Only Buccaneers’ shortstop, Henry Mcnamara was able to register more than one hit against Jake Palmer, the Muskets pitcher.
The Buccaneers made a tremendous comeback in the second game behind the solid pitching of Ting Hin Kui to be just 15-12 behind before the Muskets pulled away, hitting 12 runs in the last inning.
Tom Farrell and Eric Hiller both had multiple hit games on their debuts with Farrell driving in three runs.
The club also said goodbye to Alex Benson who caught both games for the Buccaneers before moving to Japan.
The Brunels faced tough opposition in the Bournemouth Bears A team and went down 18-2 in the first game of the double header against high quality pitching.
The second game was a tight pitching affair with young pitchers Jake Boyer and Charlie Turner keeping the Brunels in the game.
14 year old Boyer was making his competitive debut and struck out six Bears without giving up a walk. Charlie Turner, who is 15, came on in relief giving up just one run to put the Brunels within striking distance.
The Brunels were unable to get over the line despite good hits by Coral Pike, Michael Buser and Rob Horne in the final inning.
“Jake was absolutely magnificent on his debut and with Charlie Turner returning to form, our pitching looks extremely bright for the future,” said Brunels player manager Richard Evans. “A lot of the Brunels were stepping onto the diamond for the first time and overall it was very encouraging to see their progress since Spring training.”
The club’s next games are on Sunday 24th April. At Somerdale, the Badgers welcome Milton Keynes Bucks and the Bats take on Bournemouth Bears A.
The Buccaneers travel to Cornwall to take on the Claycutters while the Brunels will face Merlins II in Cardiff.