BSF Leagues Round-up: September 2018

Wed 12 Sep 2018

The 2018 slowpitch softball season is now over, or almost over, for most leagues around the country, and league and divisional winners in most leagues have been determined.  Below are reports on what happened in several of these leagues during August.


SEFTON SOFTBALL LEAGUE

In the second week of August there was a major incident involving one of the St Helen’s Sabres players, Hayley Paton, who was struck by a hard-hit line drive at third base while playing against the Southport Seagulls.

The ball fortunately tipped her glove before hitting her just under the eye.  Thankfully, Hayley is fine now after treatment for her injury at the hospital.  All of Sefton Softball wishes her a speedy recovery.  The match was abandoned due to the injury.

A week before, the Seagulls had lost against the Formby Fins for the third time this season.  The 22-12 win gave the Fins a perfect record against the Seagulls over the season, which was crucial in their push to dislodge the Seagulls from their grip on second place in the league.

In the same week, the Crosby Vikings continued their push for an unbeaten season with a 16-8 win over the Sabres.

In the following week, however, the Sefton Sharks put up a massive 27-8 win over the Vikings to hand them their first loss of the season.  The Vikings had been only two wins away from a perfect season, but the Sharks put an end to that, and the win gave them a huge boost in the three-way battle for second place.

So the race for the runner-up spot in the league came down to the final day, when the Sharks claimed second place with a 22-12 win over the Seagulls.  The Fins did their job by beating the Sabres 20-17 but lost out on second place on the head-to-head rule as Sharks had won two of their three meetings over the season.

The abandoned game from Week Two in August was played on Monday 3 September alongside the league’s second Rookie Game, where all the rookies are invited down to play a match for experience with and against current Sefton Softball League players.


WINDSOR AND MAIDENHEAD SOFTBALL LEAGUE

In the final week of the 2018 Windsor and Maidenhead Softball League season, the Windsor Knights and Bracknell Scorchers 2 beat their closest rivals to win the Division 1 and Division 2 tiles respectively.

Division 1

Windsor Knights overcame first the RG Blue Sox and then the Maidenhead Royals in back-to-back weeks to seal the Division 1 title.  Then the Royals and Blue Sox fought out an amazing final game for the runner-up spot, with the Royals taking the honour after overturning a 16-run deficit to win 22-21.

Last season’s champions, Farnham Phoenix, after a very up-and-down season, completed the top four.  The Knights’ triumph put the ghost of last year to bed, when on the last week of the season they had failed to win their last game and thus lost out to the Phoenix. 

Performance of the season goes to the TV Typhoons, who finished fifth in their second season, one place higher than last season.  The TV Tornadoes, however, failed to keep pace with their sister team, and while they kept their hopes of survival alive until the very last week, a defeat to BA Jets condemned them to Division 2 for 2019.

That particular game also ensured that the BA Jets survived after a season in which they diced with relegation.  The BA/Tornadoes result also ensured that the Maidenhead Rebels survived a second season in Division 1, a season when they also won more games that they had in the previous campaign.

Division 2

In Division 2, the race between Bracknell Scorchers 2 and the Rattlesnakes for the top spot ebbed and flowed all summer.

During the early part of the season Scorchers 2 set the pace, as they had done in 2017, and just as in 2017, they lost the top spot when they lost to their nearest challenger, the Rattlesnakes.

Unlike 2017, however, this season Scorchers 2 kept in the race and took it to the final weeks, when it all came down to their visit to the Rattlesnakes in late July.  With both teams on a 10-2 record, this was a winner-take-all game for the title and promotion.  Scorchers 2 won this encounter in impressive fashion and followed it up with a final-week win to end the Rattlesnakes’ brave attempt to overtake them.

The Wildcats had pushed both of the top two all the way after an indifferent start to the season, but a late dip in form ended their hopes in early July.

The performance of the season in Division 2 goes to the TV Hurricanes, last season’s bottom team; this season they managed an impressive fourth-place finish.

At the other end of the table, while Scorchers 2 were winning the league, the first season for Scorchers 1 ended with the wooden spoon.

Predictable performance of the season goes to the Blue Sox.  They went through the season on a win-one-week, lose-the-next pattern until the very last weeks of the season.  That left them in fifth place, just behind the TV Hurricanes by virtue of having conceded two more runs.

The Division 2 table was rounded off by the Rascals in sixth place, one place lower than last year, and the Flyers in seventh place with an 3-11 record, the same as they achieved in 2017.


EAST MIDLANDS SOFTBALL LEAGUE

The East Midlands League is approaching the sharp end of the season, just as many other leagues are finishing.

Division 3

With just one game to go in the Division 3 race it’s still all to play for, and it’s the Nottingham Redbacks leading the way with a 4-3 record.  Right behind them are the Beeston Beavers, on 3-4.

The teams have played all their cross-divisional games and, through a weird twist of fate, they play each other in the final game of the season.

A win for theRedbacks will clearly secure them the title, but with the Beavers having beaten them earlier in the season, if the Beavers can win the final game the teams will be tied on 4-4 records and the Beavers would take the title on head-to-head.

The other team in the division, the Nottingham Rebels, are currently without a win and are desperate to get some points on the board.  However, their last opponents, Misfits 2, are fighting a relegation battle themselves in Division 2, so there won’t be any free points given away.

Division 2

In Division 2, the Sheriffs are three points clear of Brewers, but unlike in Division 3, the teams still have three games to play.

As of this writing, the Sheriffs and Brewers had still to meet, with each of them scheduled to play the division’s bottom team, Misfits 2, as well.  Following that the Brewers have to go to Division 1 Pyros for their final game, while Sheriffs also have to play First Division opposition in the unbeaten Pyromaniacs, so the race for the divisional title could go either way.

At the other end of the table, Misfits 2 are bottom in part because they have only played four of their 10 games.  Tigers, who sit above them, have points on the board, having played eight games, and the teams still have to play each other.  That game could prove to be the decider with regard to who goes down to Division 3.

Division 1

In Division 1 the Pyromaniacs have already wrapped up the title with three games still to play.

But at the other end of the table their club teammates the Pyros – winners of the first half of the league – find themselves bottom having only won two games so far in the second half of the season.  However, the Pyros still have four games to play while the Leicester Royals, who are only three points ahead of them, have now completed their season.

Having beaten the Royals in both of their league games, Pyros know that just one win from their last four games will see them safe due to the teams’ head-to-head record, which would consign the Royals to an immediate return to Division Two.


Playoff and All Stars Weekend: Sunday 16 September

So what does all this mean for the winners of the divisional titles?

Unlike other leagues around the country, the EMSL is split into two halves, mainly to allow the University of Nottingham to be able to play a full league season while students are still in the city during April, May and June.

This means that there are divisional winners from each half of the season, so to determine who will represent the EMSL at next year’s BSF League National Championships, playoffs are held between the Spring season winners and those who take the title in the Summer season.

The Pyros (Division 1), Leicester Royals (Division 2) and Misfits 2 (Division 3), winners in the Spring season, are now gearing themselves up for the playoffs, with only the Division 1 opponents for Pyros known from the second half.  They will meet their clubmates, the Pyromaniacs.

Immediately following those playoff games on 16 September, an All-Star team of the best players from across the league will face the Division One playoff winners in a show game.
Last year the All-Stars came back to win this game against the Pyros with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, and we’re all looking forward to a similarly thrilling game this time around!


PUBLISHERS SOFTBALL LEAGUE

The Publishers Softball League’s 2018 season finished in the mid-August heat.

Wednesday Division

The GDS Griffins, already the champions of the seven-team Wednesday Division, played their final game against close rivals the Buttheads.  The Griffins lost, but still ended with 31 points and the crown.

Many congratulations are due to the Griffins, and to the Buttheads for giving them a close race after moving over to the Wednesday Division this year.

League stalwarts the Piranhas and Ticklers weren’t far behind and also had a close race, while the new Penguins finished their first season as a much-improved team, with two wins under their belt, and edged past the always-fun Bedford Square Bashers.

Tuesday Division

The six-team Tuesday Division offered closer races, with the three teams at the bottom all registering 18 points and run differential deciding the final standings, with the Silver Bears in fourth place followed by the Hachette Hawks and Batstreet Boys.

Farther up the table, the three teams beginning with ‘S’ battled it out for the top spot, with the S&S Sharks emerging victorious, the previous champions Sage Superheroes in second place and the Springer Sluggers just behind them.

It’s been a fantastic season for the league, thanks in no small part to new President Colin Russell and the new Committee, who have put in a lot of hard work to raise standards and make the league professional and well-run, with fun games, good umpires, and good times had by all.

Everyone was very much looking forward to the annual PSL Tournament on Saturday 1 September, where a good number of C and D-grade teams from the Greater London Softball Mixed League played alongside the PSL teams, all of whom would have been delighted and bemused to be playing on flat pitches!

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