Bristol Buccaneers kept up their push for a playoff spot after sweeping the Bristol Brunels in the local derby at the weekend. The Buccaneers won the BBF/SWWBL Single A double header games 15-8 and 14-9 to move to three games behind division leader, the Weston Jets.
They took advantage of some inconsistent pitching by the Brunels who gave up 22 walks despite matching the Buccaneers at the plate. In the first game, outfielder Rachel Everett drove in three runs with Phil Midgley and Jean-Pierre Bernard also able to drive in two runs each as the Brunels pitchers struggled to find the strike zone.
In the second game, Buccaneers outfielder Simon Schwarz hit a double, while Everett put in another good display with the bat in hand. For the Brunels, Justin Trory, debutant Jessica Page and Rich Evans had multi hit days but despite fighting back, the team was unable to get the better of Buccaneers closer Jake Boyer who struck out eight Brunels over his three innings pitched.
“We did exactly what we had to do on the afternoon but despite the win we need to cut down our fielding errors if we are to make a serious challenge for the playoffs,” said Charlie Deeks, the Buccaneers assistant manager. “We have some crucial games coming up and need to make sure we don’t slip up.”
Despite it being a tough afternoon for the Brunels, there were encouraging signs for the club’s development team. “Our pitching struggled but I was delighted with the way that the team’s rookies are improving game by game particularly with their approaches at the plate and their ability to make crucial plays in the field,” said Brunels assistant manager Alex Lane-Kieltyka.
The Bristol Bats had a wild afternoon against Richmond Dragons in their BBF AA clash, also at Somerdale.
The Bats won the first game 8-6 on the back of a strong pitching performance from Josh Boulton who pitched a complete game and struck out nine Dragons. First baseman Michael Comport provided most of the run support with two runs and three hits including a double and a triple.
Centre fielder Billy Garrett and catcher Chris D’Angelo also had good games with the bat with four hits between them. Garrett also took a spectacular catch to end a Dragons fightback.
The second game was wild, with the lead changing hands several times. The Bats found themselves 8-4 down going into the bottom of the sixth inning, but strong batting from the top of the Bristol line-up pulled the scores level.
The Dragons offense then exploded with 14 runs at the top of the seventh inning, including a grand slam, to put the game out of reach for the Bats. Sean Wilkins and Alex Brown were the most successful of the Bats hitters with six hits and four runs between them.
“Michael Comport and Josh Boulton were fantastic in the first game but the second game was always going to be a challenge with key pitching depth missing. Unfortunately eight fielding errors forced us to go the bullpen early, and our offense wasn’t able to keep up,” said Bats player manager, Neptali Ortega-Gutierrez. “However, splitting our doubleheader means we are tied with Richmond for first place in the division as we get towards the business end of the season.”
Next weekend the Bats travel to Guildford to take on the Mavericks while all the other Bristol teams have a week off.
None of the teams will have games on the 25th June as the BBF League takes a break for the MLB London Series which will see the Chicago Cubs and the St Louis Cardinals face each other in a two game series at the London Stadium.