Can anyone remember the joy experienced when Hampstead Heat went down last season? It wasn’t because they are a horrible time (unlike certain others that could be mentioned), it was due to the fact that their pitch at Parliament Hill is bloody miles away, on a hill, full of idiots who insist on walking across the pitch and last but not least, mosquito infested. Lucky for Heat they were able to bounce back into Minors 2 courtesy of another team folding, only this time they had combined with the Werewolves to make a stronger team.
Despite the pitch being an hour’s journey for most Pirates the entire team had arrived by 6.45, including Neil who had come along to watch and play as extra hitter. We also had a couple of spectators in the form of Ben from the Parrots and Agi who had heard about Marines skills with a bat. For the first time this season we actually had some time to warm up with both throwing and batting as did the opposition whilst we waited for the umpire to show up. And waited, then called, waited a bit more until 7.20 when when the Blue finally showed up. At last it was Game On!
Shorty (CR), Marines (2), Chris (SS), Josie (3), Dave (CL), Shaz (EH), Neil (EH), Olivia, (C), Gids (P), Eva (LF), Paul (1), Lucy (RF)
Talk about a great start for the Pirates. With Shorty back in his familiar lead off position we were quick to pick up 7 runs in a row with the first 7 batters all making bases and driving each other home while Chris picking up yet another homer. Our blinding start came to an abrupt end when Olivia was out on running to first and both Paul and Eva were caught out in the infield.
Heat had showed up in full force but were looking distinctly limp in their first bat. No sooner had we started then Gideon had already struck one of them out and our tight defence paid off as we held them to just 2 runs.
Heat 2, Pirates 7
Not such a great start this time- Lucy was first at bat and struck out followed by Shorty who was called out for stepping out the box after hitting an absolute monster of a shot. Three points about that call-1. Shorty has never ever been called out for foot out the box 2. It appeared the Blue only made the call as Shorty rounded second base 3. It was a Home Run!!!
Things went from bad to worse when Marines was left on first base as Chris was out running to first whilst holding his groin (strain as opposed to stiffy) leaving us with no runs scored.
After their shaky start Heat certainly responded with some decent batting of their own. It’s not that they hit big but they did succeed in hitting the gaps and forcing some mistakes from our infield as well as the blue who incorrectly called in infield fly just as Marines caught it. Luckily we were able to bring their 6 run innings to an end with some great work by Paul, Gids and Chris combining to take the outs.
Heat 8, Pirates 7
Back in again and Josie to lead off with a great hit to get to first and Dave to 2nd. Despite Shaz striking out and Neil out running to first both Josie and Dave were able to make it home before Gids fell to fielder’s choice. With only 2 runs scored in 2 innings our 7 run rally in the first seemed like a distant memory.
Once again the Heat picked up some more easy runs. Shorty did well to get his glove to deflect an almost certain home run whilst Lucy backed him up but they were able to capitalise on our mistakes. It looked as if they were going to pick up another couple through an overthrow when Olivia took a difficult relay catch at home and just narrowly missed the tag, before Gids managed to get another strike out and the Blue called one of them out for foot out the box! Maybe he was just making up for Shorty?
Heat 12, Pirates 9
With the sky clouding over and light rain falling it looked as if the game was going to slip from our grasp. Luckily it had the opposite effect with Eva, Lucy and Shorty all making home thanks to a ‘legitimate’ Shorty home run we were level on 12-12. With only Paul out on first it looked as if we were going to be able to make them pay with Chris up to bat but the ball just hung on the air long enough to be caught. Josie hit a belter of a shot but their pitcher took a great catch for the 3rd out. Once again Gids managed another strike out whilst Josie was able to make a great play to snag a bag heading to left field and tag the base. At last we had held them to zero runs and hopefully had found our rhythm.
Top of the 5th, 12-12. As Bola would say- squeaky bum time!! And then, after three rubbish innings the bats got hot again. Dave, Shaz, Neil, Olivia, Gids, Eva and Paul all made it round to pick up runs. Marines punished the pitcher with a pressure walk and made it home following hits from both Chris and Dave. We were still going strong with Shaz demonstrating a full superwoman dive into 3rd base and Neil on 2nd before we were all out having batting 16 in a row for 10 massive runs! wooooooooohoooo. This had to be a game winning innings????
You would think so but someone hit a switch and turned off our defence. Once again the Heat punished our mistakes and were able to drive in 2 runs at a time courtesy of walks, dropped balls, fielding mix ups- you name it- we did it! Were it not for Paul’s bare handed take it could have been even worse but we were finally able to take the 3rd out. The damage was done though with 12 runs conceded.
Pirates 22, Heat 24
Shaking off our worst defensive innings ever we quickly stepped in to bat. Gids hit an amazing shot to take his first home run followed but Eva, Paul, Lucy, Shorty, Marines and Chris all made it home. 7 runs on the spin, no outs and both Josie and Dave on base- we were flying! Surely nothing could go wrong this time?? Surely the game was completely in our hands??? Surely we were going to win??? Well?
You would think so except the Blue had a very different take on the situation and decided that he was going to call the game as it was too dark too play- health and safety apparently! That was it- no heads up, no discussion and more to the point he ignored the fact that both teams were still willing to play out the game. To add insult to injury we pointed out that he was in fact late which completely affected the outcome of the game to which he replied he was there at 7.15 (ummmm not correct). To our horror we realised that by calling the game half way through an innings it meant that the game reverted back to our shitty 5th innings where they took a 2 run lead.
In trying to resolve the situation fairly Chris offered to take 3 auto outs to allow the Heat to play which they agreed to, only to have the idea dismissed by the Blue (again). At that point we suggested the fairest outcome was to call the game a drawer but after initially agreeing, the Heat took the win. Can’t blame them for that as they didn’t do anything wrong but our anger was directed at the Blue who disappeared far quicker than he arrived.
Final Score: Heat 24, Pirates 22
It took a good few minutes to wind down from the worst decision against us since that game against the Raiders in our first season. There was no bad feeling against the Heat who invited us back to their pub allowing Ben to deliver a great one liner- ‘we’d love to come, but not sure we can find it in this light.’ By the time we eventually got there it seemed that everything was conspiring against us as the pub closed the kitchen just as we ordered (but not before Heat ordered) and to top it off Dave left his pork pie back up stash in the rubbish bag which meant crisps for dinner and a very annoyed Dave.
At least Gids got to meet and have his photo taken with Jon Snow!
MVP: Marines (3 from 3 and 2 walks)
Runner up: Dave (5 from 5)
Defensive play: Josie (snag and tag)
Runner up: Paul’s barehanded take
Shaz of the day: Face diving into 3rd base