Game ReportsPosted by admin Tue, September 19, 2017 16:47:17
SUNDAY 17 SEPTEMBER
Three excellent and dramatic finals were played
today at Farnham Park as National Champions for 2017 were crowned in the
British Baseball Federation’s Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A divisions.
The first game to get under way, at 11.00 am on a cool and cloudy
morning, was the Double-A final between the Leicester Blue Sox and Tonbridge,
both teams that had won the Single-A National Championship in recent seasons.
This turned out to be a tense and well-pitched game that was in doubt until
Leicester scored four runs in a bizarre top of the ninth inning to turn a 5-4
lead into a much more comfortable 9-4 advantage. It’s not often that one player
can be said to win a baseball game single-handed, but in this case the evidence
was pretty clear. Read the report below to find out why the MVP award could
only have gone to Leicester’s Rikson Martina.
DOUBLE-A CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Leicester Blue Sox 9,
This final was in doubt until Leicester pulled away
in what became a nightmare top of the ninth inning for Tonbridge, but in truth,
this game was the Rikson Martina show.
The mercurial Leicester star, who was a live-wire
catcher in Saturday’s semi-final win over the Latin Boys, took the mound in
this game and threw the full nine innings and 139 pitches, giving up only three
hits and five walks while striking out five. Tonbridge had baserunners in seven
of the nine innings, but Martina used his curve ball to good effect and got 13
infield ground outs.
“I didn’t want to go more than 140 pitches,”
Martina said after the game. “And I beat it by one!”
But that was only half of Martina’s contribution;
the rest came with the bat.
Martina had four hits in five trips to the plate,
including a triple, a double and three RBIs, plus two stolen bases and two runs
If Tonbridge never see Rikson Martina again, it
will probably be too soon.
Neither side scored during the first three innings,
and to begin with, it was Tonbridge starter Cristian Secareanu who held down
the Blue Sox. But Secareanu had pitched the full game during Tonbridge’s
semi-final win on Saturday, and he left the mound with one out in the Leicester
third inning, replaced by Sorin Puiu.
Puiu finished off the third inning without
difficulty, but ran into trouble in the top of the fourth as Leicester opened
the scoring with three runs. Rikson Martina’s triple was the big blow, but
three Tonbridge errors helped the Blue Sox cause.
Leicester stretched the lead to 4-0 with a run in
the top of the fifth inning. Rob Seward singled, stole second, and came in,
inedvitably, on Rikson Martina’s double.
But in the bottom of the fifth the Tonbridge
offense finally got going and cut the deficit to 4-3 on singles by Matt Styles
and Laurence Hodgkins plus two Leicester errors.
Over the next three eventful innings, each team had
plenty of chances but could only add one run each, and so Leicester held a
slender 5-4 lead when they came to bat in the top of the ninth inning, knowing
that Tonbridge would have the final turn at the plate.
But everything that could go wrong for Tonbridge
did so in a long and painful half-inning. Leicester had three hits, and none of
them left the infield. Sorin Puiu committed a balk that sparked a long argument
that got Tonbridge Manager Amanda Murphy ejected. There was also a hit-by-pitch
and a throwing error by Puiu when he had a Leicester runner dead to rights
between second and third. The result of all this mayhem was four big runs for
Leicester that took the wind out of the Tonbridge sails.
A tiring – and no wonder – Rikson Martina walked
pinch-hitter Gen Edwards to open the bottom of the ninth inning, and Ben Carter
followed with a single. But Leicester’s good fortune continued. Laurence Hodgkins
hit a soft liner to Giedrius Janulevicius at third, and even though
Janulevicius threw the ball into right field trying to double off Gen Edwards,
Leicester got the out anyway when the ball was returned because Edwards had
never tagged up.
When Martin Barker hit a one-hopper back to
Martina, Rikson held the ball for a second in silent celebration, then fired to
first to end the game and cue the real celebrations, with Leicester players
forming a mass on the mound.
“We definitely played to our strengths,” Leicester
Manager Alan Edington said afterwards, “and micro-managing the players today
gave them the freedom to do this. Cool heads prevailed – at least most of the
time! And Rikson Martina telling me he wanted to pitch the whole game made
things easier – I just had to let him do it!”
SATURDAY 16 SEPTEMBER
Semi-final games in the BBF’s Single-A, Double-A
and Triple-A National Championships started at 9.30 this morning and finished
in the cold, dark and damp, well after 7.00 pm. But we now know who will play
the finals on Sunday.
Six semi-finals were played on the two baseball
diamonds at Farnham Park today in weather which was mostly cold and cloudy, but
with a few fleeting glimpses of the sun and one short but vicious rain and
hailstorm -- weather more suited to March than mid-September.
Leicester Blue Sox 17,
Latin Boys 3 (7 innings)
The Latin Boys probably came into this game as
favourites, and at the end of three innings they only trailed 3-2.
The threat of a big inning by Leicester in the top
of the third was averted when the Latin Boys brought in Yefri Aguilar to
replace starter Alex Lopez with one out and the bases loaded, and Aguilar
struck out Scott McMillan and Chris Mee to end the threat.
But that was really the end of the road for the
Latin Boys, as Leicester scored six runs in the top of the fourth inning and
steadily pulled away for a mercy rule win after seven innings, scoring three
more in the top of the fifth, two in the sixth and a final three in the
Catcher Rik Martina had a single, a double and
three walks for Leicester while Rob Seward and Andy Davidson each had three
But the main reason for Leicester’s unexpectedly
easy win was pitcher Justinas Raupenas, who pitched the full seven innings,
struck out 13 Latin Boys and gave up only four hits and four walks. The Latin
Boys had at least one baserunner in every inning but the sixth, but Raupenas
came up with big pitches when he needed them, ending five of the seven innings
Long before the end, it was clear that the Blue Sox
would be at Farnham Park on Sunday.
Game ReportsPosted by admin Tue, September 05, 2017 20:00:41
The stage was set for the BBF Double-A quarter-final between Leicester Blue Sox and Long Eaton Storm on Sunday just gone.
The magnitude and importance was felt across both squads leading
up to first pitch, with signs of rain sure to fall.
A solid start to the game was made by the Sox,
with Long Eaton falling behind by four runs coming up to the
mid-way point of the game. Justas Raupenas was in control of the game at this stage but could the Storm battle back?
In the latter stages of the game, the pressure was starting to tell and nerves were beginning to mount in the Leicester dugout as Long Eaton clawed their way back into the game.
With the rain now in full flow, Blue Sox went into the bottom of the last inning holding onto a 9-5 lead.
Two more runs crossed the plate but Martin Andrews turned the screw on Long Eaton with a vital outfield catch for the second out of the inning and Raupenas held his nerve to strike out the last batter to secure 9-7 win for the Light Blues.
The Sox march onto Farnham Park on the weekend of the 16/17 September for the 2017 Double-A National Baseball Championships. First up on the Saturday is a semi-final encounter against the top seed from the south. Based on current standings that could mean the East London Latin Boys although they need to overcome their own quarter-final playoff this weekend.
With the final set for the Sunday 17 September, Leicester are theoretically two wins away from securing their third National Championship in eight seasons and they will relish going into these finals as underdogs.
Still a lot of baseball to go!
Photo: Julia Upton @JulesU13
Report: Rob Seward
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.
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
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)
Legends team (l-r)
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Rik Martina avoids the tag and slides into score.
credit: Rob Campion
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.
Rob Campion Website Twitter
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
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.
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
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
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”.