A favourite in the softball calendar, seven Manchester teams travelled over the Pennines for Leeds Tournament.
We all love a tournament and the annual Leeds Tournament in Wetherby has a special place in our hearts. A well organised event and brilliant venue make for a good weekend with the greatly anticipated party and karaoke on the Saturday night.
Lightning halted two rounds of games on the Saturday but this dampened nobody’s enthusiasm. The Drizzle girls managed a good rendition of Nine To Five on the karaoke and we all managed to crawl from our tents the next day for Sunday’s games. Camels took the Cup in Gold Tier with Meerkats claiming the plate. Our captains give their analysis below.
Camels win the day at Leeds
by Adam Hugill
After a couple of weekends of NSL play, Camels were looking forward to a more relaxing trip over to Leeds Tournament, which is always a highlight in the softball calendar. Despite a brief break for lightning the team made calm progress on the Saturday with four wins from four before cracking on with the real reason for coming, the Saturday night party. A civilised team meal quickly descended into chaos.
Sunday morning’s first game arrived with many of the team very much worse for wear but shook it off to claim a win against Terriers but fell to what turned out to be our only loss of the weekend against Travelling Dodgers. Luckily, the team retreated for naps, coffee and bacon and regrouped to see off Sheriffs and finish the round robin 6-1.
“A lead off walk gave MVP of the final Leonie Colley the chance to walk it off which she did with aplomb smashing a line drive to the outfield.”
A semi-final win against a talented Guernsey development team followed with the best game of the weekend saved for last. Playing local side Terriers, the game ebbed and flowed with never more than a run or two in it before the penultimate inning. The Terriers bats came alive with 8 runs in the top of the inning, with time running out Camels roared back with 8 of our own before holding the Terriers. A lead off walk gave MVP of the final Leonie Colley the chance to walk it off which she did with aplomb smashing a line drive to the outfield.
A great weekend and special thanks to the organisers and umpires who managed to keep the tournament running despite the weather not playing ball!
By Chris Gresty
The Mavs love Leeds and had a wonderful weekend of singing, supping and Softball with a couple of impressive wins and a winning draw against the eventual plate winners. Special thanks go to the top guest talent of Karin, Jaqui and Brad who were brilliant.
Meerkats win the Plate
By Sonia Hine
We had a tough Saturday, going ahead on a couple of games, to then lose by one, but then had a complete switch, and did the same with other teams on the Sunday to go 5-0
Sunday we went 5-0 and I think we came back from losing to win. Think we were down 8-1 in the Sheriffs game and won 11-9 and Misfits game 11-7. In the semi final, we were down 2 runs and 1 out. Brian hit a massive hit to RC splitting the field to bring the two runs in we needed. Jay hit me in before that.
By Andrew Bogie
We weren’t at our best, but played in good spirits in Silver, mixing players from Thunders 2-4. We beat one team twice (Pirates), had our all-Mancunian fixture against Tigers lightninged off, and lost the rest of our group games, and then played a really entertaining, low-scoring final against Pyros, which we very narrowly lost.
“Special mention to Ashley Swaby for absolutely smashing a home run against Pyros.”
Bryony James deserves a special mention for 1) being a great, positive captain; and 2) having her best game in the final (2 clutch RBI hits, several strike outs, immaculate ground ball fielding), for which she was awarded MVP. Special mention to Ashley Swaby too for absolutely smashing a home run against Pyros.
By Stephen Beddows
Our first game saw the Tigers taught a batting masterclass by the United Nations who scored heavily against us with an opening salvo of 9 in the 1st to which we replied with 3 of our own including a HR for Harry Schulte. United Nations added 8 in the 2nd with no reply to take the game out of reach of the Tigers who had a taste of how difficult silver may be.
The heavens opened and a thunderstorm cancelled our second game against the aptly named Drizzle (part of Manchester Thunder) resulting in a 7-7 draw.
A delayed start against our next opponents Pimlico Pirates saw us bat deep in the 1st as we racked up 5 runs which our opponents managed to match. Simon Sharp hit a fine HR in the 2nd but we couldn’t follow it up with any more runs. In a close fought game, the pirates edged it 14-13 to hand the Tigers another loss. Our final game of the day pitted the Tigers against Cardiff, a low scoring wet and tired Tigers who just couldn’t seem to get the bats going despite managing a late 4th innings rally in which Simon Sharp bagged his 2nd HR of the day, it wasn’t quite enough as we went down to another defeat.
A lovely sunny day after the previous day’s thunderstorms saw Tigers with a late start up against the youthful University of Nottingham. The youngsters came out of the blocks early with an 8 run 1st innings despite outscoring them in the next 2 innings including a HR from Ed Covington it wasn’t enough to record the win as the Tigers went down 10-8.
Oxford Foxes were our second opponents of the day, once again the bats were cold despite HRs from Dan Strayer and Bailey Saunders, we managed a record our lowest offensive score of the weekend with just 5. Consistent hitting into the gaps by the Foxes was the difference as they put up 13 runs despite pitcher Rich Goar’s best efforts. The scoreline was not reflective of the efforts put in by our defence.
The final game of the Round robin was the Pyros in which the Tigers sleeping bats sprang to life. Dan Strayer bagging his 2nd HR and Rich Goar’s superb pitching the highlights of our best performance of the weekend. left us in last place going into the SF round.
The draw saw the Tigers pitted against the Pyros (again) in the semi-final. Confidence was high after the win against them an hour earlier. A new Pyros pitcher started with a 0 then their bats hit 5 giving us a hill to climb. The next 2 innings saw fine defensive work from both sides keeping the scoring low. With time running out the Tigers started the 4th innings 6 runs behind and rose magnificently to the challenge by batting round the order and amassing 8 runs with a HR from guest Ashley Swaby (Drizzle).
Despite the best efforts of Rich Goar (pitching a fine game) and getting a quick out we ran out of time and the score rolled back to the last completed innings giving the Pyros a revenge win and sending the Tigers home.
Huge thanks to Bailey for picking up guest for all our games due to a last-minute drop out through injury (get well soon TK). Thanks to all the players on both days for your efforts and laughter all weekend.
Fireballs make their tournament debut
By Andy Whatmore
We won 4, lost 2 and drew 1, to finish third in the team’s first tournament. We lost in the semi final to the Yorkshire Dales. Great pitching all weekend from Mitch Gilbert and Arthur Hung. Great hitting of both big and small balls. Fantastic fielding all over the park and the whole team performance over both days. Good to see tournament rookies blossom as the weekend went on. Immensely proud of the whole team. Star of the show, Frankie (pictured).
Thanks to Leeds Softball Association for another cracking tournament and we look forward to visiting next year!