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Legends game kick-starts our 10th Anniversary celebrations

Game ReportsPosted by admin Sat, October 15, 2016 18:54:49

Leicester Blue Sox celebrated their 10th Anniversary in style on Saturday 1 October with day and night events toasting a decade of success at the club.

Legends game

The club began its festivities at our spiritual home, the Western Park diamond, with a specially-arranged game between our current first-team and a ‘Legends’ ensemble featuring past stars of the Blue Sox as well as current players who have suited up for Leicester over many of our past ten seasons.

Shortly after the game started, storm clouds gathered but the resulting rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of either side that kept going for four innings before the game was eventually called due to the weather. The games' highlight moment was a fantastic home-run from the Legends’ Cory Shackleton – his first-ever in Blue Sox colours.

Our squads on the day were:

Blue Sox first-team (l-r)

Joel Upton

Rory Chandler

Ron Mason

Dave Burke

Damo Holland

Alan Edgington

Justenas Raupenas

Tomas Juskenas

Legends team (l-r)

Denny Walker

Shaun Hill

Cory Shackleton

Scott McMillan

Mark Hurst

James Corrie

Kev Hurst

and club-founder Mark Meredith

The game was also notable for the introduction of two new baseball players that have moved to Leicester from China to study, Toby Xu and Yifan Li.

Both sides played in great spirits, which set the day up nicely for the evening celebrations that followed later in the day.

The club would like to thank all who braved the wet conditions to play, as well as our loyal supporters who have been right behind the Blue Sox all season long, whatever the weather!

All photos by
Julia Upton

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Blue Sox bow out on high

Game ReportsPosted by admin Mon, September 05, 2016 17:58:34
Leicester Blue Sox concluded their 10th anniversary season, bowing out at the quarter-final stages of the playoffs against the strongly fancied Daws Hill Spitfires.

The game was played in glorious conditions on Bank Holiday Monday at the Farnham Park National Baseball complex near Slough.

Leicester's manager Alan Edgington banked on his Lithuanian pitching duo of Sigitas Juskenas and Justinas Raupenas, but things didn't go according to plan immediately into the first inning.

Juskenas struggled to find the strike zone and was replaced by Raupenas following a succession of walks and five runs coming across the plate.

The game steadied in the subsequent innings but the damage was already done and it was always going to be difficult for the Blue Sox to get a foothold in the game.

There was a moment of brightness in the third when Dave Burke singled to bring Joel Upton home but that was to be only run scored in a game that concluded with a 12-1 win for the Spitfires.

Daws Hill have been very strong all season and took the BBF Double-A championship the following weekend beating Sheffield Bladerunners 10-0 in the final, which perhaps put the Blue Sox result into perspective.

The club now look forward to celebrating their 10th Anniversary on Saturday 1 October, with a Blue Sox Legends game during the day at Western Park and the 2016 awards event at Goals Soccer Centre during the evening.

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Blue Sox progress to National quater-finals

Game ReportsPosted by admin Tue, August 23, 2016 15:02:59

Leicester Blue Sox have progressed to the quarter-final stage of the BBF Double-A playoffs following an emphatic victory over their local rivals Nottingham Rebels last Sunday.

Pitcher Justinas Raupenas got the start for Leicester, but ran into early trouble allowing a couple of runs to cross the plate for the Rebels in the first inning.

In reply, the Blue Sox bats cranked up the pressure on Nottingham when a colossal ten runs were scored. Hits were achieved up and down the Leicester line-up as they piled on the pressure from the start.

Raupenas then found his groove for the remainder of the game, giving up only one more run in the fifth inning before the contest was over two innings later, with the Blue Sox cruising to a 16-3 victory.

Leicester now travel to the National baseball complex at Farnham Park in Buckinghamshire for a tough encounter against number one seed Daws Hill Spitfires.

The quarter-final takes place at midday on Bank Holiday Monday, with the winners progressing to the National semi-final and finals event being held the following weekend.

Photos by Julia Upton

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Sox rise above Storm into second place

Game ReportsPosted by admin Mon, July 04, 2016 20:54:00

Leicester Blue Sox have climbed the table to second place, courtesy of two wins over Long Eaton at the weekend.

In game one Justenas Raupenas pitched a gem, keeping the Storm’s bats quiet for long periods. In support, Dave Burke found form for the Sox with an RBI double in the first inning that brought home Rik Martina as well as bringing in three more runs in the sixth inning courtesy of a two-out bases-loaded double to centre-field.

The main highlight from Long Eaton was Oscar Martinez’s two-run homer late in the game, but it wasn’t enough for them to avoid a 9-3 defeat at the finish.

Sigitas Juskensas took to the mound for the Blue Sox in game two but found himself in early trouble, giving up three hits in the first inning including a double from Virgil Garcia. Thankfully Leicester tied it up at the bottom of the first inning.

The remainder of the game continued to see-saw in a similar fashion with both teams committing repeated fielding errors, which saw the score-line clock-up considerably.

Juskensas showed great composure in an unsettled game, striking out six Long Eaton batters, which proved to be the difference between the sides, as the Blue Sox completed a win-double over the Storm with a 16-10 victory.

In doing so, the Sox elevated from fifth position to second in the BBF Central Division and back in the playoff hunt.

This weekend, there is no baseball action as Leicester Blue Sox will be guests at this Saturday’s Western Park Festival.

Leicester resume their playoff push the following Sunday (17 July) with a home double-header against Milton Keynes Bucks, who are breathing down the necks of the Blue Sox in third place.

Photo: Rik Martina avoids the tag and slides into score.

Photo credit: Rob Campion

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Blue Sox nullify Storm on Opening Day

Game ReportsPosted by admin Fri, April 22, 2016 09:24:28

Leicester Blue Sox got their Double-A Central Division season off to the best of starts with an emphatic 11-1 win against Long Eaton Storm at Western Park.

A tougher encounter was expected, as Long Eaton had remained unbeaten all the way through last season.

But, this time around, they were put to the sword at the first time of asking.

New Blue Sox manager Alan Edgington selected his predecessor, Dennis Grogan, as his starting pitcher.

Grogan threw a complete game and only gave up two hits over seven innings.

Leicester's hitting was phenomenal, and included doubles from Ron Mason and Rikson Martina, as well as a blistering two-run hit from Sebastien Stafford.

Grogan also weighed in big at the plate, batting in a total of four runs over his four at bats.

Edgington said: "Although Dennis dominated on the mound and with his bat, it was a complete team performance from the guys all the way through the batting line-up and in defence.

"This bodes really well for the season."

Leicester's 10th anniversary year continues this weekend, with an away match at Stourbridge Titans this Sunday 24 April.

Photo credit: Rob Campion Website Twitter

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Blue Sox Juniors come of age at YNBCs

Game ReportsPosted by admin Wed, September 23, 2015 19:13:35

Leicester Blue Sox u18’s closed out another successful season at the BBF Youth National Baseball Championships last weekend, with a pair of exciting games against top quality opposition.

It was a coming of age tournament for the Blue Sox Juniors programme, with the nucleus of our u18 team having played together since it’s inaugural year of 2012.

Following the first couple of seasons coming to terms with the quality gap between new and existing programmes, the Juniors came into their stride last year with their first-ever league wins and an impressive silver medal finish at the BBF Youth North Baseball Championships.

At the start of 2015, Team Coach Phil Rudkin set his sights on going one better this season, knowing that being the top team in the North would mean a first-ever appearance at the BBF Youth National Baseball Championships for Leicester Blue Sox.

With a 3-1 regular season record under their belts, the u18’s still needed to be the top placed team in the round-robin YNBC North Qualifier in June. They achieved this feat by the narrowest of margins; a count-back win against last year’s North Champions Cartmel Valley and another nerve-jangling one-run win against regular foes Halton Polecats.

Following this success, the u18’s continued to play baseball all through the summer with players rostered on both Blue Sox adult teams, as well as star player Rory Chandler’s debut appearance for the GB Juniors in the Czech Republic.

And so to Farnham Park, the National home of baseball and softball – a real 'field of dreams' right here in the UK. The place where everybody wants to play, but only a privileged few have in its' relative short history.

A tough draw ensued with the Blue Sox being seeded fourth and paired in the semi-finals against last year’s u17 Champions, the LYBL Bulldogs, skippered by two of the top coaches in this country Miguel Rodriguez and Cody Cain.

Semi-final: Leicester Blue Sox 1 LYBL Bulldogs 6

Arriving at Farnham Park with the first semi-final reaching an abrupt conclusion seeing the London Mets putting old rivals Herts Harriers to sword in record time (with a 13-3 mercy win) thoughts started to turn towards the outcome of the second game of the day.

With Chandler starting on the hill for the Sox, Coach Rudkin knew his team had a real chance of competing, so long as everyone on the team played their part and to the best of their ability.

Going 3-0 down in the first inning was a bit of a sucker punch, but the boys in light blue regained their composure with a much better defensive display in the next sequence of plays.

Dropping just the one run in the second, Chandler then emphatically shut down the Bulldogs in the next three innings assisted by some great defensive plays from both the infield and outfield.

Blue Sox then made it a little bit more uncomfortable for the LYBL coaches when one run came across the plate, to keep the game close at 4-1. Leicester’s bench and nearby support was electric!

When Chandler’s pitch count was up, Max Bennett came on in relief and with that, the break in pitching enabled the intensity of the preceding innings to die down, allowing the Bulldogs to re-group and re-focus.

Bennett pitched well to keep the Sox in the game, well away from mercy loss territory, but the Blue Sox bats were quiet when it mattered the most and the Bulldogs ultimately marched on towards the final, adding a further two runs at the conclusion.

6-1 was certainly no thrashing and Leicester earned the praise of LYBL’s coach Cody Cain who was impressed with how well the Blue Sox pitching and defence kept the game close for so long.

The LYBL players are veterans of the European Little League and Varsity Circuit, so going toe to toe for a complete game was a huge marker demonstrating just how far the Blue Sox Juniors programme has come in a little over three years.

The Blue Sox players had their heads held high at the end of day one, looking forward to celebrating a great performance that evening at an arranged team meal with their team-mates and family.

Bronze Medal Game: Leicester Blue Sox 3 Herts Harriers 16

Day two was a very early start, arriving in thick fog for an 8.30am warm-up and 10.00am first pitch.

The atmosphere at Farnham Park this early in the morning was a quite subdued, even for a third / fourth place match.

The prize was the opportunity of a first-ever competitive win against the Herts Harriers, who have been a bit of bogey team for the Junior Sox over the past four seasons. Last year, Leicester came very close to breaking this hoodoo with an agonising one-run defeat at an inter-league fixture at Grovehill Park.

Could the Sox round off their 2015 season with a historic win against their old foes?

Charlie Oxley took to the hill facing some hungry Herts batters. The key difference between the teams, was making things count when runners were in scoring positions. Whilst the Harriers got players across the plate, the Sox were continually stranded with bases-loaded; an extra hit or so away from matching the Harriers inning by inning.

And with that the Herts lead continued to build; it was broken up momentarily when Rory Chandler brought in a three-run inside the park homer, but any further signs of a comeback were snuffed out in the top of the fifth to deliver a mercy loss to the Sox.

The disappointment of a second YNBC defeat proved to be short lived. The players left Farnham Park with good spirits and memories of a fantastic weekend of top quality baseball.

Leicester Blue Sox u18 Team Coach Phil Rudkin said “I’m incredible proud of all my team who stood up well facing their strongest opponents to date. We handled ourselves with great class and a spirit that endeared us to whoever we came into contact with. This group of boys continues to justify our belief within the club, that the future looks very healthy”.

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Leicester Blue Sox u17 qualify for 2015 YNBCs

Game ReportsPosted by admin Sat, July 04, 2015 17:31:54

Leicester Blue Sox Juniors Under-17 and the Hull Junior Scorpions Under-14 teams are the first teams to qualify for this year’s BBF Youth National Baseball Championships after Northern Youth Qualifiers played on Saturday 27 June in Halton.

Under 17 Qualifier

Halton Polecats 13, Cartmel Valley 7

Cartmel Valley 9, Leicester Blue Sox 9 (Leicester win 9-7 on count-back rule)
Leicester Blue Sox 4, Halton Polecats 3

The Leicester Blue Sox Juniors have booked their place in the BBF Youth National Baseball Championships for the first time in their three-year history.

The Blue Sox didn’t do it the easy way, relying on a count-back win after tying with last year’s BBF Northern Youth Champions Cartmel Valley, then squeezing out a one-run victory over Halton in the deciding final game of the day.

The Northern Under-17 Qualifier was played as a three-team round robin tournament, and the team with the best win-loss record on the day would progress as the Northern representative at the YNBCs, which will be held at Farnham Park in September.

In the first game of the day, the Halton Polecats eased past a young-looking Cartmel Valley by a score of 13-7.

Game Two, between Leicester and Cartmel Valley, was a lot closer, but Leicester, significantly, took a 9-7 lead going into the final inning. Cartmel tied the score and then brought in veteran pitcher Luke Armstrong to prevent the Blue Sox from achieving a walk-off win. Armstrong succeeded, but his efforts were in vain as the tournament rules awarded the win to the Blue Sox, counting back to the last complete inning when a team was leading.

This set up what turned out to be a deciding game in the third round-robin match between Halton and Leicester, two teams that have had their fair share of one-run encounters in recent seasons.

It was the Polecats who drew first blood, establishing a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Blue Sox tied it up in the top of the third, only for Halton to regain the lead, 3-2, in the bottom of the frame.

And so to a nerve-jangling final inning for both teams. Halton allowed the Blue Sox to stage a two-out rally, with the tying and go-ahead runs scoring for Leicester on a combination of a hit batter, a walk and subsequent errors.

Going into the bottom of that final inning, could Leicester cling onto their 4-3 lead? It wasn’t quite the comfortable 1-2-3 inning they were hoping for, but the Blue Sox prevailed, qualifying for their first-ever YNBC appearance.

Under 14 Qualifier

Hull Scorpions 6, Halton Polecats 5
Hull Scorpions 12, Leicester Blue Sox 6
Halton Polecats 13, Leicester Blue Sox 5

Having being defeated by Halton in a previous tournament, the Scorpions were out for revenge in the first game of the Under-14 Northern Qualifier, again played as a three-team round-robin.

Hull jumped out to a two-run lead in the second inning, but in the third, the Polecats bounced back with five runs from a combination of hits and errors.

The Scorpions managed to tie the game at 5-5, with GB Cadet pitcher Myles Janson taking to the mound to keep Halton quiet for the rest of the game.

The win was secured when Hull loaded the bases and a walk to Cameron Donnelly brought home Tom Read with the decisive run.

Hull then secured their qualification in Game Two against the Leicester Blue Sox. Leicester pitching ran into trouble in the early going, giving Hull the upper hand, and the Scorpions capitalised with some timely hitting whenever a pitched reached the strike zone.

Leicester did manage to pull the contest back to a one-run game halfway through, only to let the Scorpions off the hook in the final innings, and they steamed ahead to a 12-6 victory.

The final game of the day was effectively a consolation game between Halton and Leicester, with the Polecats coming out on top with superior pitching and hitting.
Photos by Simon Hancock

The Road to Farnham Park

The BBF will shortly be announcing the qualification format for the remaining YNBC places and age groups.

Joining Leicester in the Under-17 Championship in September will be three teams from the South.

Hull will also compete with three Southern teams in the Under-14 Championship.

A Southern-only Under-12 Championship will be contested for the second time at Farnham Park and the BBF will also be consulting about the feasibility of an Under-10 series.

The YNBC weekend has been set for 19-20 September. Southern playoffs will take place earlier in September at a venue to be decided.

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Sox bounce back in home opener

Game ReportsPosted by admin Wed, April 29, 2015 07:57:36

Leicester Blue Sox picked up two impressive wins against Milton Keynes Bucks at Western Park last Sunday.

After narrowly losing both their games at Birmingham Bandits the weekend before, first team manager Dennis Grogan was hoping for an improved performance on home soil.

Despite a pair of injuries to key players early on, Grogan was able to shuffle his pack and the Sox quickly built a commanding lead off the back of impressive pitching from Sandy Rosendo.

The game concluded with a 19-1 win for Leicester, their biggest-ever win against Milton Keynes.

Game two was more closely contested with the lead exchanging back and forth. Leicester ran into trouble in the sixth inning when the Bucks piled on six runs to open up a 10-5 lead.

In response the Blue Sox scored sevens runs of their own to edge back ahead, only for Milton Keynes to tie it up 12-12 in the top of the final inning.

The Sox held their nerve and with a runner on base, it was the slugger Grogan who secured the win with a walk-off home run to seal the match at 14-12.

Grogan said: “the second game was such a great game to play in with lots of highs and lows, both teams fighting for the win. I'm proud of the guys, we played good baseball and didn't let any minor errors affect our chemistry.”

With these wins, Leicester move up to second place in the BBF Triple-A Central division. This weekend they take a break from league action and compete in the BBF Knockout Cup, once again against Milton Keynes. A win would see them through to the quarter-final stage.

First pitch this Sunday 3 May at Western Park is midday.

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