Jake Boyer pitching on opening day. Photo by Richard Johnson, richardjohnsonphoto.com
Jake Boyer prepares his next pitch for the Buccaneers.
In the background, Fu Lam waits ready for action at shortstop.
Photo by Richard Johnson (richardjohnsonphoto.com)

Bristol Buccaneers started their 2024 season with a sweep of Cardiff Merlins A at Somerdale Pavilion on Sunday, winning the double header 15-5 and 14-4.

The Bristol teams offense was too strong for the Cardiff side with Wai Fu Lam, Sam Stainsby, Jake Boyer and Jamie Hartley all having multi-hit games. Fu rounded off a good game from the mound, pitching a complete five inning game and striking out three Merlins.

In the second game Boyer dominated the Merlins hitters striking out 10 over his four innings pitched. He also maintained his form with the bat going three for three with two runs batted in. Debutant Patrick Mahoney hit a triple in his two at bats to bring the afternoon to a positive end for the Buccaneers.

Jamie Hartley, who managed the Buccaneers to victory in both games said, “We had two really good team performances. Our hitting was really good and we kept them under pressure with some aggressive base running.”

Pitcher Alex Martinson’s Badgers debut was a bright spot.
Photo by Richard Johnson of richardjohnsonphoto.com.

The Badgers welcomed the Cardiff Merlins AAA side for their opening day British Baseball Federation AAA fixture. The Badgers took the first game behind a dominant pitching performance by Alex Martinson who went seven innings and struck out 15 Merlins, giving up just one earned run. The Bristol side scored early with Martinson and Rich Green both hitting well, with Green hitting a triple in his first at bat after a hiatus.

The second game turned into a run fest with the Merlins taking a 21-11 victory, piling up 14 runs in the top of the fourth inning after being behind 10-5.

“We should have won the second game but we completely let it get away from us,” said Badgers manager Rhodri Theaker. “We lacked a bit of depth on our pitching this week and made too many errors in the field to help the cause.”

The Badgers enjoy mixed results on opening day.
L-R, Michael Comport, Seiyi Awofedeju, Rich Grenn, Laura Hirai and Dani Briggs.
Photo by Richard Johnson (richardjohnsonphoto.com)

On the road, the Bristol Bats split their double header in Bournemouth against the Bears.

The Bats came from behind in the first first game to record a 12-6 win. Down 5-4 at the end of the fifth inning, the Bats rallied with eight runs, with crucial hits by Kwan Cheung and Rich Evans, to secure the win behind an excellent pitching performance from Sean Wilkins who struck out eight Bears overs five innings pitched.

The second game went to the Bears 9-6 with some crucial errors robbing the bats of a sweep despite some strong offense. Alex Brown, Lachie Ng, Tim Singiser and Sean Wilkins all had multiple hit games with Brown and Singiser both recording doubles.

Manager Tim Singer said, “I was really proud of how everybody played. It was a great team effort. We’ll look forward to the next game and will keep those bats rolling and the pitching going well.”

Close, but none of their namesake’s famous cigars! The Brunels suffer excruciating defeat in the New Forest.

It was heartbreak in Hampshire as the Brunels lost both their games to the New Forest Knights by one run.

The first game went to the Knights 13-12 after the lead had changed hands several times. Seven errors didn’t help the Brunels cause. Justin Trory and Dongwoo Jang had good days with the bat in hand combining for four hits and four runs batted in. However, down one run in the top of the final inning the top of the Brunels order was unable to score, leading to a Knights victory.

The second game was also a tight affair, with the Brunels defending a 17-12 lead in the bottom of the final inning thanks in part to Brunel’s manager Alex Lane-Kieltyka hitting his (and the team’s) first ever home run. However, the final inning began with three consecutive walks to load the bases for the Knights. An error and a base hit brought in two runs to drag the home team to within two runs. Not to be outdone by his opposing manager’s heroics earlier in the game, Knights manager Sam Williams then entered as a pinch-hitter and hit a walk-off three-run home run to break Brunels’ hearts, as the Knights snatched a last gasp 18-17 victory.

Brunels’ third baseman Ash Day described the second game as “a heartbreaker which we lost on a walk off three run homer. Despite the losses there were so many positives to take into the next game.”

Next up:
The Brunels travel to Bournemouth to take on the Bournemouth Bears A on the Saturday, while the Buccaneers host Taunton Muskets at Somerdale Pavilion on Sunday.
Both the Bats and Badgers have an early-season bye week.