Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend Irish League roundup 16th/17th June


First of all, the Greystones v Northstars 'A' league game was postponed due to injuries suffered by some of the Northstars players in their car accident a couple of weeks ago. Best wishes to John Want and the other players involved, hopefully they get well soon.

'A' division results
Spartans 11 Hurricanes 1
Blacksox 17 Twins 1

'B' division results
Spartans 13 Hurricanes 26

Match report
Spartans 11 Hurricanes 1
The Hurricanes and Spartans met in wet, cold conditions on Saturday 16th with both teams looking to carry on recent good form. It was the Spartans who emerged with their impressive unbeaten record intact, and the 'Canes who go back to the drawing board. The Spartans are now 8-0 and have pole position in the race for one of the top two places and a place in the 'A' league final. The Hurricanes drop to 3-4 and need to reel off a few wins to stay in contention.

The game could have been so different, if the 'Canes could have managed a couple of hits with runners in scoring position. They loaded the bases an amazing four times, once with no outs, and were unable to score on any of those occasions. Their lone run came with the game already out of reach at 9-0. Four times the sacks were full of 'Canes but the Spartans pitcher played the role of Houdini for the afternoon and managed to wiggle out of every jam.

Andrei, the Spartans Romanian ace, mixed a hard curve with a good fastball to keep the 'Canes from scoring in those key situations. What makes the loss even more painful is the 'Canes, in particular Tommy Hernandez, Chris Foy and Andy Martin, worked some really tough at bats to get on base through the walk. The 'Canes saw some of their best, most intelligent at bats of the season in working hard to get on base. Sadly when they did they either failed to hit, or just ran into bad luck. If you have 18 base runners and score once something is against you on the day!

The key moment of the game came with the score at 2-0 to the Spartans but the bases full of 'Canes and no outs. Alex Bettancourt blasted what looked like a single up the middle but Andrei managed to get a glove to the ball, knock it down, and throw the runner out at the plate.

In comparison, the Hurricanes pitching struggled. Starter Cormac Eklof went 3 2/3rds innings giving up 5 runs, 2 earned, striking out 5. He was relieved with 2 outs in the fourth. Woody Woodburne came in and didn't have any luck with his tricky knuckle ball, a pitch that's probably very hard to throw in damp, cold weather.

Some positives for the Hurricanes included the stellar play of Lorcan Sherlock behind the dish, replacing injured star Tom Kelley, who has a fracture in his ankle and is out at least six weeks. Lorcan worked extremely hard and called a good game too. Another positive was the line drive single that new player Dara Beirne hit in the sixth inning. He looks like a good pickup.

Several big games on the horizon for the 'Canes. The only consolation they can take from Saturday's loss is they are unlikely to see a pitcher like Andrei until they play the Spartans again later in the summer. You just have to tip your hat to him and move on.

Match report
'B' division results - Spartans 13 Hurricanes 26
Another American football score for the 'Baby Canes' who are scoring runs like crazy. Feisty Japanese star 'Utah' did much of the damage on the basepaths with his up-tempo style of baseball. Meanwhile, starter Garret Pearse and relievers Alex Bettancourt and Eric Valkys did enough on the mound to lead the 'Baby Canes' to another victory in their reinvigorated quest for the 'B' league title.

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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
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