Day 2 sweep for GB at Slowpitch World Cup

Sat 18 Nov 2017

The GB Slowpitch Team got their act fully together Friday on Day 2 of the WBSC Slowpitch World Cup in Plant City, Florida, sweeping three tough opponents to finish the round-robin phase of the tournament in pole position.

GB started the day with back-to-back games.  The first produced a convincing 18-6 win over the defending champion Bahamas, then GB blasted the Turks & Caicos Islands 29-7.  Four hours later, GB hooked up with Canada, undefeated to that point, took the lead with a nine-run third inning, then hung on for a 17-14 win.
 

Standings​

So the final round-robin standings look like this:

TEAMS

W L RF RA
Great Britain 5 1 96 56
Canada 5 1 107 69
USA 4 2 135 61
Bahamas 3 3 86 83
Curacao 2 4 72 103
Bulgaria 1 5 51 104
Turks & Caicos 1 5 57 128






You can see video of all three games from the second day here and higher-quality versions of some games here.


Playoffs

Coming first in the round-robin group means that GB will have a bye on Saturday morning while the other six teams start a complicated Page Playoff system where the first round of games will eliminate just one team.

On Saturday morning, USA will play Turks & Caicos, Bahamas wills play Curacao and Canada will play Bulgaria.  Only the loser of USA v Turks & Caicos will be eliminated at this stage.

GB will then swing into action at 1.30 pm Florida time against the winner of USA v Turks & Caicos, and if that turns out to be USA, GB will be facing the only team to have beaten them so far.

If GB can win that first playoff game, they’ll be done for the day and won’t play again until Sunday morning.  If they lose, they’ll play later on Saturday and will only be able to afford one more loss.

But GB’s performances on Friday suggest they don’t have to be afraid of anyone.


GB v Bahamas

The challenge in this game was always going to be keeping the powerful bats of the Bahamians at bay, and that is exactly how the game panned out.

Over the course of the first three innings, GB pitcher Mark Bowman didn’t allow a single hit to any of their men, and it wasn’t until the fourth inning when a misjudged fly ball to right field allowed a runner to get to third base, and the Bahamas scored their first three runs of the game.

By that time, however, GB had built up an 8-0 lead and were getting runners on base with consistency.  The British scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning on doubles and good baserunning by Matt Tomlin and Kelvin Harrison, who scored on a long sacrifice fly by Hannah Pitman.

In the bottom of the second inning, GB showed patience as back-to-back walks to Claudine Snape and Matt Tomlin loaded the bases and Kelvin Harrison followed by putting a 2-0 pitch over the left centre field fence for a grand slam and a 7-0 lead.

GB added a run in the bottom of the third inning and followed with two runs in the fourth after a leadoff double by Claudine Snape.  At that point, the lead was 10-3.

The Bahamas were bound to come back at some point, however, and they scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning to narrow the score to 10-6 on doubles by Eugene Bain and Reynaldo Russell plus a single by Jeffrey Woodside.

But GB’s response was decisive in the bottom of the sixth inning.  Singles by Jon Reynolds, Claudine Snape and Matt Tomlin were followed by Kelvin Harrison’s second grand slam of the game, giving him a total of nine RBIs.

Four more runs were scored in the inning, two of them driven in on Annie Dubovec’s triple, and three infield outs set down the Bahamas in the top of the seventh inning to give GB an outstanding 18-6 win.


GB v Turks & Caicos Islands

In the second of their back-to-back games, GB bats woke up from the start against the Turk & Caicos islands.
GB took advantage of their opponents’ defensive set-up and worked the corners of the Turks & Caicos outfield, sending 12 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and giving themselves a 7-0 lead before starting pitcher Mark Bowman threw his first pitch.

But the Islanders came back with three of their own in the bottom of the inning on a three-run blast.

In the top of the second inning, GB batted around the order again, and this time 10 runs came in to create an unassailable 17-3 advantage.

As hot as the temperature was, GB bats stayed hotter, connecting for another 12 runs in the top of the third inning for a total of 29 runs.

GB outfielder Kelvin Harrison stayed hot, going 3-for-3, and Tash Humphris, Manny Estevez, Mark Bowman and Chris Yoxall all collected three hits in the game while David Grey and Claudine Snape were both 2-for-2 as substitutes.

One of the standout plays of the game was an athletic leap by Mark Bowman to snare a line drive and end a T&C threat.

As much as this game was a one-sided affair, it was the quality of the hits that separated the two teams.  In a classic display of “hit it where they’re not,” GB players up and down the line-up used controlled swings to pad their advantage.

By the end, Great Britain had a runaway 29-7 victory.

GB v Canada

As the last game of the round-robin stage of the tournament, this contest between GB and a hitherto undefeated Canadian team was a decider to see who would win the pool.

In the beginning, it was all GB, as starting pitcher Matt Tomlin kept the dangerous Canadians quiet, facing only eight batters over the first two innings without allowing a run.

Meanwhile, GB were on the scoreboard early and often, with three runs in the top of the first inning (a double by Danielle Atkinson and a single by Chris Yoxall were the key hits), and two more in the top of the second (Amy Rice, Hannah Pitman and Kimberley Miller provided the offense).

Then GB effectively won the game with a nine-run outburst in the top of the third inning.  It started with an error and then four straight hits by Annie Dubovec, Jeff Swindell, Amy Rice and Manny Estevez.  The final runs came in on Chris Yoxall’s home run, and GB had a daunting 14-0 lead.

But the Canadians weren’t daunted, and almost cut the deficit in half with six runs in the bottom of the third inning after Ryan Jones led off the frame with a home run.

GB scored three more times in the top of the fourth inning to ease the lead back to 17-6 on singles by Amy Rice, Hannah Pitman, Matt Tomlin and Kimberley Miller.

But after that GB stopped scoring, and when Canada put up another six-spot in the bottom of the fifth inning, it was game on.

GB still had a 17-12 lead going into the bottom of the last frame, but nerves started tingling after Justin Pennell led off with a triple and then Daniel LaRose hit a home run.  But that was the end of the threat, and GB had their third straight win and the #1 seed for the playoffs.


Day 2 results

Curacao 18, Bulgaria 16
GB 18, Bahamas 6
GB 29, Turks & Caicos 7

Canada 26, Bahamas 8
USA 30, Bulgaria 0
Canada 25, Curacao 14
Bulgaria 23, Turks & Caicos 12
Bahamas 16, Curacao 2
USA 29, Turks & Caicos 7
GB 17, Canada 14

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