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