Zeist provides Meteors with stiff competition

Tue 6 Jun 2017

The London Meteors Men’s Fastpitch Team made their annual trip to Zeist in Holland on 3-5 June to take part in the 34th Zeister Slot Tournament, hosted by the Phoenix Softball Club, and had three great days of games against top opposition.

The Meteors finished out of the medals places with a 3-4 record, but that included two tie-break losses in extra innings, including a 10-9 defeat to the Dutch National Team, the eventual winners of the tournament.


Why we go‚Äč

Zeist has been a favourite tournament for the London Meteors going back to the 1990s, and the British team is always welcomed back every year.  This not only allows GB-based players a chance to compete at a more advanced level than the Great Britain Fastpitch League (GBFL), but also gives them the exposure required to prepare for higher-level tournaments such as European and World Championships.

The tournament can also provide exposure for individual players to get picked up to play for European teams.

And above all, Zeist is a fun tournament, which is the reason why so many teams come back every year.


Positives

While the Meteors didn’t finish as high as they would have liked in the seven-team tournament, there were a lot of positives to take away.

The team was a mixture of old and new players, but with a preponderance of youth in the team, ensuring that the London Meteors – and the GB Men’s Team programme -- will have a solid foundation for years to come.

Mixed results from round-robin games were partly a result of GB Men’s Team Head Coach Kevin Stockford playing people at different positions to see where he could play them on the final day – but more importantly, at the WBSC World Championship in Canada in July.

The Meteors played a number of close, high-level games and took last year’s champions, the Tenerife Caribeños, to a tiebreak after the score stood at 3-3 at the end of seven innings (eventually losing 12-5 in the eighth, a score that did not reflect how most of the game went!).  The Meteors’ game against the Dutch National team was 9-9 after seven innings, but the Dutch then managed to bring in the winning run.

Meteors’ players had some great at-bats, and displayed some spectacular fielding, but this wasn't consistent enough throughout the tournament to bring the team more wins.


Results

Round-robin scores were:

DAY 1
Netherlands 10, Meteors 9 (8 inns)
Horsholm Hurricanes (Denmark) 6, Meteors 3
Meteors 4, Germany 0

DAY 2
Tenerife Caribeños 12, Meteors 5 (8 inns)
Meteors 11, Czech Under-19s 3
Meteors 7, Hoboken Pioneers (Belgium) 5

DAY 3
Quarter-final:  Hoboken Pioneers 11, Meteors 0

In the semi-finals, the Horsholm Hurricanes defeated the Caribeños 6-0 and the Netherlands squeaked by the Hoboken Pioneers 7-6.  The Dutch then beat the Hurricanes in the final by a score of 9-2.

Meteors Manager Wesley Knapp said: “Meteors competed well with all these teams and we had some really great games, so there were definitely positives to be taken away from this tournament by each and every player.  The blend of youth and experience in the team was great to see and we will hope to see this again next year.”


Roster

The Meteors team for the 2017 Zeister Slot Tournament was:

Henrik Braask
Geoff Clayton
Neil Davies
Ieuan Gale
Kelvin Harrison
Gareth Jooste
Wesley Knapp (Manager)
Michael Lee
Ryan Martin
Roman Matuska
Trent Nash
Dion Nukunuku
Josh Peat
Kenny Pregnell (Captain)
Kevin Stockford (Coach)
Matt Tomlin

Henrik Braask from Denmark and Roman Matuska from the Czech Republic (now living in Holland) joined the team again this year as guest pitchers, and Kevin Stockford also put in a solid performance on the mound.

The Meteors particularly appreciated the assistance provided by New Zealand Black Sox guest player Dion Nukunuku, who controlled the infield from second base and used his experience to help the younger players when required.

Top individual achievements included Kenny Pregnell leading the tournament in home runs with three, and Ryan Martin heading the Meteors’ batting with a .524 average.

For more information on the Meteors’ stats at Zeist, please contact Wesley Knapp:
Wknapp01@gmail.com.

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