The Mix take two tough losses at Women’s Cup

Wed 22 Aug 2018

Wednesday 22 August – The British club team The Mix dropped their final first-round pool game at the European Women’s Cup in La Loggia, Italy this afternoon in controversial circumstances, then lost their first game of the Championship playoff round-robin this evening.

This afternoon, The Mix had a 2-1 lead over Witches Linz from Austria after four innings in the final first-round pool game for both teams.  But after the ejection of Head Coach Robbie Robison and third base player Holly Newell in the top of the fifth inning for a rules violation – a decision that the umpires later admitted was wrong -- the Witches took advantage of the confusion to sweep to a 12-2 victory over the last two innings of the game.

This evening, The Mix, who finished third in Pool B, played the Amager Vikings from Denmark, who finished third in Pool A, in the first game of the Championship playoff round.  But The Mix were still clearly feeling the effects of what had happened in the afternoon, and the Vikings cruised to an 8-1 win in five innings.

The results mean that it will be a struggle for The Mix to make the Page Playoff at the end of the tournament, especially because their two remaining playoff games – one on Thursday afternoon and one on Friday morning – are against the teams that finished first and second in Pool A, Princ Zagreb from Croatia and Trnava Panthers from Slovakia.

But tomorrow is another day, and The Mix will hope to put the extraordinary events of this afternoon behind them.


Amager Vikings 8, The Mix 1

Let’s deal first with this evening’s Championship playoff game.

Both teams scored a run in the first inning, but after that the Danes just kept scoring and The Mix, mentally and physically depleted, just fell away.

The Mix’s run came when Louisa Scott walked, Alana Snow singled – she had The Mix’s only two hits in the game – and Sian Wigington scored Louisa with a sacrifice fly to left field.

That was the only run given up by Vikings starter Shannon Keen, who walked just one and struck out three in addition to giving up just the two hits to Alana Snow.

The Danes tied the score in the bottom of the first inning off starter Ysa Urquiaga, who pitched 3+ innings, but added two runs in the second inning and three in the third, during which Gabry Sassoli took over the pitching.

The Danes had 10 hits and also took advantage of two walks and three errors by The Mix. 

A single Danish run in the bottom of the fourth inning made the score 7-1, and one last run in the fifth inning brought up the mercy rule margin and ended the game.


Witches Linz 12, The Mix 2

At the end of four well-played innings this afternoon in their final first-round pool game, The Mix were leading Witches Linz from Austria 2-1. 

Then, in the top of the fifth inning, the Austrian coach raised an issue over the numbering of players on The Mix’s line-up card.  After discussion by the umpires, Head Coach Robbie Robison and third base player Holly Newell were ejected from the game and The Mix were prevented from re-entering their starting third base player and had to put someone there who had rarely played the position.

After that, everything fell apart.

The Witches went on to score five runs in the top of the fifth inning and six more in the top of the sixth, and the final result was a 12-2 mercy rule win for the Austrians in six innings.

During the sixth inning, Robbie Robison was summoned back onto the field by the umpires and given an apology: there should never have been any ejections, and The Mix should have been allowed to re-enter their player of choice, Hannah Pitman, at third base, which would have sorted the confusion over numbers.

But by then the game was effectively over, and as The Mix did not register a protest at the time, the unfortunate result stood, despite further apologies made later by the Tournament Commissioner and the Umpire-in-Chief. 

It can never be proved how much the mistakes made by the umpires affected the result of the game.  But there is no question that a close, tight contest turned into something completely different after those mistakes occurred, leaving The Mix without a Head Coach on the field, with a third base player who had hardly ever played the position and in a confused state.

The result left The Mix with a 1-2 record and a third-place finish in their first-round pool group, which qualified them for the Championship playoffs.  But they have taken their losses against Witches Linz and Sparks Haarlem – the two teams going through with them – into playoff round-robin, and so they started the playoff round at a big disadvantage with a record of 0-2.

Now, after tonight’s loss to the Amager Vikings, their record stands at 0-3 with two games to play.


Tight start

Alana Snow started in the circle for The Mix – her first stint as a pitcher in British softball -- and she held the Austrian team scoreless over the first two innings.

Meanwhile, The Mix had taken the lead in the bottom of the first inning against Austrian starter Amber Schisler.  With one out, Chelsie Robison walked, the Austrians failed to get an out on Alana Snow’s bunt and a single through the right side of the infield by Sian Wigington cashed the run.

After Alana Snow walked Austrian right fielder Larissa Donau to open the top of the third inning, Gabry Sassoli replaced her in the circle and kept the Austrians from scoring.  But she had a big assist from Alana, who had resumed her normal position in centre field and gunned down Larissa Donau trying to score on a single by Breanna Tourtillot.

Both teams scored an unearned run in the fourth inning. 

A walk, a wild pitch and an infield error gave the Austrians their first run of the game in the top of the inning, but The Mix reclaimed the lead at 2-1 in the bottom half when the Austrians committed two errors of their own and Gabry Sassoli scored.


Bad end

Then came the top of the fifth inning, the controversy over the line-up card mistake, the ejections and the refusal by the umpires to allow The Mix to make a legal re-entry to replace their ejected player.

The team was clearly affected by all this, and it must have played a part in the swarm of runs the Austrians scored in the fifth inning off Gabry Sassoli and in the sixth inning against Ysa Urquiaga.

Most of the runs in the fifth inning were the result of infield hits plus an error, though veteran Austrian National Team player Martina Lackner did have a double and Gaby Hardinger had a pinch-hit two-RBI single to right field. 

In the sixth inning, the Austrians simply hit the ball: Martina Lackner, Brianna Setree and Anna Kemmer all had doubles, and there were two other singles and two walks, but no Mix errors. 

Martina Lackner took over the pitching for Witches in the bottom of the sixth inning, and struck out the side to end an unfortunate game.

Scores

Scores from the third day of play, where the initial round-robin concluded and the Championship playoffs began, were:

Pool A
Princ Zagreb (Croatia) 3, Trnava Panthers (Slovakia) 2
La Loggia (Italy) 1, Hrabiny Wroclaw (Poland) 0

Pool B
ISA New Zealand 9, Fenix Valencia (Spain) 6
Witches Linz (Austria) 12, The Mix (GB) 2

Championship Playoff
Amager Vikings 8, The Mix 1


Standings

Final first-round pool standings at the European Women’s Cup are shown below.  The top three teams from each group advanced to Championship playoffs.

Pool A
Princ Zagreb (4-0)
Trnava Panthers (3-1)
Amager Vikings (2-2)
La Loggia (1-3)
Hrabiny Wroclaw (0-4)

Pool B
ISA New Zealand (3-0)
Witches Linz (2-1)
The Mix (1-2)
Fenix Valencia (0-3)

The full schedule and all results from the tournament can be seen here: http://competition.europeansoftball.org/2018/loggia/schedule.php.

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