Nottingham shades second Battle of the Shires

Wed 13 Nov 2013

From the Leicester Blue Sox website:

The second annual Battle of the Shires took place at Western Park in Leicester on Saturday 5 October and looked set to be a great  success until a heartbreaking injury to a key player from the Leicester Blue Sox.  Nottinghamshire went on to take two of the three games to win the title.

The event pits teams from Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire against each other in the three disciplines of baseball and fastpitch and slowpitch softball.
 

Fastpitch

The day started brightly with an exciting encounter between Nottingham Fastpitch and Leicester Blue Sox Ladies in warm autumn sunshine.  Blue Sox starting pitcher Jade Cerff ran into a little bit of trouble in the early going, giving way to an impressive display from reliever and Blue Sox débutante JJ Rushworth, and the former GB Under-19 pitcher got Leicester right back into the game with a impressive three-up, three-down inning in the third.

But equally impressive was the pitching of Nottinghamshire's Amanda Castilla, who managed to suppress the Blue Sox revival, allowing her teammates to step on the gas to take the game 14-8.
 

Baseball

Game Two switched codes to baseball and what was expected to be a thrilling pitching and hitting duel between All-Stars Shannon Henry for Nottingham and Dennis Grogan for Leicester.  With a shortened outfield fence, the game looked primed for home runs.

Defense was on top for the first two innings apart from a couple runs in the bank for the Blue Sox, but then tragedy struck in the top of the third.  With two outs, Dennis Grogan appeared to throw a wild pitch that almost cleared the backstop.  However, the sound of a crack was also heard from his arm, quickly followed by a fall to the floor.  Grogan was motionless on the deck and Blue Sox first aiders were quickly on the scene.

The emergency services arrived and took the injured player to hospital with a suspected spiral fracture of the humerus, or upper arm.

Play resumed afterwards with Sandy Rosendo placing Grogan on the hill for the Blue Sox and the game shorted to four innings.  Nottingham managed to pull a run back before the game closed at 2-1 to Leicester, which set up a “winner takes all” slowpitch finale in Game Three.
 

Slowpitch

What followed was a runs extravaganza for Nottingham, so much so that the scoreboard lost count!  The game was quick but enjoyable for all, allowing the day's events to end on a positive note, with Nottinghamshire collecting the 2013 Battle of the Shires title.

Battle of the Shires organiser Matt Crawshaw said: “It looked set to be a perfect day with beautiful autumnal conditions and lots of fun on the diamond.  Regrettably, Dennis was struck down with a very unfortunate injury, but credit to our volunteers Phil Rudkin, David Garratt and Dan Fieldhouse, who attended to him and his family, getting them all home safely. 

“On behalf of everyone at the club, we wish Dennis a speedy recovery,” Matt added, “and of course congratulations to Nottinghamshire, who played without fear across all three codes today and finished the job as worthy winners.  We look forward to the 2014 Battle of Shires event in Nottingham next season
hopefully injury-free!”

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