Minors 2 softball just wouldn’t be the same without playing Raiders Green. Since 2011 we have traded blows against them, losing twice in that year and winning one apiece in 2012. After beating them at home earlier in the season it was time to visit their pristine pitch at Colliers wood, only this time Viene was playing for us and not pitching against us like last year when we lost in the 7th innings. To mark the occasion she debuted her new limited edition Chris ‘squinty eye’ Pirate sleeveless t-shirt and also brought along her girlfriend to watch, whilst Rob came to cheer on Alice again.
The omens certainly looked good for a Pirate victory with the Raiders struggling on 4-7 whilst the Pirates were on a three game winning streak. Clearly the Raiders were worried about losing as they brought in two ‘retired’ Gold players to replaced ‘injured’ players. Hmmmm- it’s legal but a little sneaky especially as there was no sign of injuries!
Paul (RCF), Viene (1B), Dave (LCF/Sub)–> Neil (sub/P), Josie (LF), Chris (SS/Sub)–>Sohan (Sub/SS), Shaz (C), Bola (3B), Alice (2B), Gids (P/LCF), Marines (RF)
Being the away team it was Pirates to bat first (thanks for pointing that out Neil) with Paul leading off for the team. Keeping a watchful eye for the massive divot in the batting box he let the first ball go before reaching for the second. That slight off balance move cost him dearly as the ball pinged off that bat straight into the glove of their 2nd base fielder and back to first for the out. Luckily both Viene and Dave managed to make base before Josie found also 2nd base glove which Chris left to pick up the RBIs and make it to third. That’s exactly where he stayed as Shaz (who never hits right) found ALSO found the 2nd base glove. Perhaps there was a little flirting going on there hey Shaz???
Raiders up to bat now this time with Gideon starting the pitching and Viene on first. Gids couldn’t have had a better start with 2 strike outs thanks to Gids left handed spin and a great Bola throw to Viene which saw her jump off the base to catch the ball and then tag up again for the out. Nice one and only two runs conceded!
Pirates 2, Raiders 2
Bola leads off this time and punishes the pitcher by taking the walk leaving Alice up at bat. From out of nowhere Alice absolutely smashed it into the outfield, clearing all the outfielders and send Bola home whilst taking third base. Go Alice! Gids followed this up with a fast ground ball allowing him to take second and Alice to go home while Marines became the second person in four to take a walk. Unfortunately Paul found his favourite 2nd base girl who took a great catch for the first out whilst Viene and Dave both made first and second before Josie also was taken out by 2nd base leaving Chris another potential grand slam. Unbelievably (and especially after striking out last week for the first time ever) CHRIS STRUCK OUT AGAIN- much to amusement of the Raiders! four runs scored though.
Once again the infield had a fun time with the Raiders with Chris and co operating a lockdown. It looked as if it was going to be a shut out until one of the Raiders Gold pounded a ground ball into the bushes in the outfield. Luckily the bushes worked to our advantage as he was only allowed a double but saying that he picked up the RBIs. Fortunately for us they were not so lucky with their next hit as Viene was able to make the play on first to end the innings.
Pirates 6, Raiders 5
With the scores so close it was definitely time for a much needed Pirate rally. Did it happen?- ummmm no! We completely crumbled and suffered a ‘3 up 3’ down with Shaz out on first, Alice caught by 2nd base (bloody her again) and Bola struck out. Nooooo- that’s not supposed to happen!
The only good point about this innings was defence. Bola owned third base this innings with two great throws to Viene on first before a slight overthrow yielded a couple of runs. Luckiky Alice was able to get in on the act also with a throw to first to take them down.
Pirates 6, Raiders 7
4th innings: (subs on- Neil and Sohan for Dave and Chris)
Oh oh. For the first time in 4 games we were losing! It looked as it we got off to a flying as Gids took advantage of a high ball to scamper to 2nd. Normally you would expect him to easily make home but poor Gids was left stranded there as Marines struck out, Paul was taken out for a third time in a row by 2nd base and Viene’s bomb was caught way deep by the outfield. It’s as if they knew exactly where we were going to hit!
Fortunately we were able to shake off our batting woes with some great defence. Sohan took a great catch at short stop which saw a fast ball bounce upward out of his glove and back into his hand followed by a Neil strike out. Neil finished them off for zero runs with a sprint into Shaz territory for a great catch- not that Shaz was amused as she had her eye on a diving glory catch. Next time Shaz!
Pirates 6, raiders 7
Neil leading off this time with his first hit of the season to left field, earning him third base. It looked as if he was going all the way until the Raider on third held her ground on the base and they collided much to their mutual annoyance. Apologies accepted on both sides as Josie took the walk, Sohan made first to RBI Neil and Shaz also made first before Bola was caught out by the catcher. Alice once again hit a great short to take second and the RBIs before she was out running on third as Gids was on second and Paul finally beat his blonde nemesis and made it to first base. At least we were back in the game with 4 runs scored!
At this point the game had firmly swung back in our direction with Sohan taking some great catches at short stop. With two outs and only one run conceded it was all going to plan until Neil’s throw to Bola just ducked under his glove allowing them to pick up another couple of runs as the ball went dead. They then picked up another run before Bola made the throw to first but once again in Raider Terminator fashion they had not given up and had gone ahead again.
Pirates 10, Raiders 11
Clearly the Raiders knew Viene a little too well as they were once again able to position themselves in just the right place for the outfield catch. Neil managed another great hit earning him third base again and was able to make the base thanks to Josie’s sacrificial hit or as Chris called it- a sac bunt. It looked as if Sohan was on for his first home run of the season before a Raider ringer caught him way out in the outfield. Noooooo! Just the one run scored.
Tight defence was definitely needed if we were going to hold the Raiders- which is exactly how we played. The highlight of the innings had to be the perfectly executed rundown from second to third which came about from Sohan’s fake throw to first. Considering Sohan doesn’t play in that position one can only speculate as to how/why he made the play although it’s possible that he took his lead from the ‘people’s short stop’. Either way the fake throw worked and the Raider made the run to third where Neil and Bola backed up the play to take the runner out in possibly one of the team plays of the season. That play had a great effect on the team as Gids made a great catch in the outfield (especially considering the last time out there the ball hit him on the head) as well as a great stop and throw into 2nd for the out. Zero runs scored!
Pirates 11, Raiders 11
This was it. The 7th innings and we were up first with Shaz hitting directly to the pitcher. Not even Usain Bolt could have beaten that throw as Shaz was out running to first. Bola hit a sweet shot to make second and then home after another massive hit from Alice who was having a great game until she decided to chance it and run from 2nd to 3rd after Gid’s high ball dropped into no man’s land. Aaaaaagh! That made 2 out which became 3 out as Marines was caught in the outfield. 1 run scored though- this was going to be as tight as a gnat’s chuff!
Of course the Raiders came out fighting but with a great catch from Bola on third it looked as if we might just squeak it. That became a distinct reality with two on base and Gids made an amazing running catch (no dive though Phil) in the outfield to stop them in their tracks. Two down and squeaky bum time as the their second base girl stepped up to hit. . Not only had she been solely responsible for taking out half our team (including Paul x 3) she thumped a fast ground ball at Chris which took an awkward bobble giving their lead runner just enough time to beat the throw to home. Scores level now and breath held as their big hitter hit massive (but high) to right field, corkscrewing just enough to dodge Marines glove as their 2 runners come home.
Game over. Good game but shame we lost. The rivalry will continue…..
Pirates 12, Raiders 14
MVP: Joint winners- Gids (1000%, great pitching and catches), Alice (0.750, great fielding)
Defensive award: Gids (running catch in 7th innings)
Runners up: Viene, Bola, Sohan
Shaz Neil of the day: Running in to take Shaz’s catch