Aces v Sliders is rapidly becoming one of the most anticipated clashes of the Softball Ulster season! After coming out on the wrong side of a nine innings classic at Dixon Park Sliders travelled up to Henry Jones looking to add to their two recent victories. For the third game in a row Sliders got to double figures in the first innings once again showing great hitting and plate discipline putting pressure on the Aces pitcher. Good base hits and a couple of walks advanced batters before John hit a 3RBI home run. Paul, Laura and Dan hit doubles and Andrew a triple before Tim and Johnny hit 2RBI home runs. The innings finally came to an end with Sliders almost twice around the order.
One of the features of the game the last time these two teams met was the huge hitting from the Aces. It was more of the same on Monday and Sliders outfield didn’t deal with it too well dropping catches or just simply missing the ball conceding four runs through homeruns. After the excellent first innings Sliders lost their way with the bat over the next four innings letting the Aces back into the game. In the second they got one run and conceded three with the outfield making amends for the first with a couple of catches. In the third a couple of walks and base hits got Sliders two but they were unable to cope with the Aces big hitting in defence. They scored seven running the outfield all around the park to get within one but the real damage was done in the fourth where the Aces scored twelve, finding gaps, putting it over the outfield’s heads and getting bases through defensive errors.
It looked like the game was over with the score at 26-17, a Tim homerun the only high point of the innings. The fifth was a low scoring affair, Sliders getting two and the Aces only one. Michal, who had come on at three took an excellent reflex catch low to his right. Going into the sixth Sliders were losing 27-19 and heads were dropping. However, in the reverse fixture they’d been far behind going into the last and once again they found the bats. A series of base hits and walks set Andrew up to smash it into the outfield for a 3RBI triple that he was unlucky not to get a home run with. Michal hit a double and further base hits added to the score. Johnny hit a home run as Sliders scored nine to go one ahead. Aces hit three of their own to lead 30-28 going into the seventh.
Sliders finished as they started with another huge innings. Eight of the nine batters up got to first gradually adding to the score. Jay broke the run by hitting a 2RBI triple that despite taking off for home sensibly turned back as the ball flew into the catcher. A couple more base hits meant Sliders scored ten defending a lead of eight. The first Aces batter found a gap before Paul took a catch in the outfield and there was nearly a double play with the runner running back to tag up. The Aces girls were doing the hitting and there was a close play from Johnny to second which didn’t quite stick. The next hit was an infield fly and Sliders thought they’d won it with a tag out on second but after clarifying the rules with the umpire the runner was safe. A walk loaded the bases and the invitation was duly taken with a huge home run into the outfield that was always curving away from Laura. Sliders now had four to defend but didn’t panic. Johnny pitched well putting the batter under pressure before a high one was sent out to left centre. Tim, who had moved there from third steadied himself under it taking the catch well to win a topsy-turvy game 38-34.
Highs: Home runs for Tim (x2), John and Johnny, another excellent batting performance especially under pressure in the sixth and seventh, Michal’s reflex catch at third and more great weather.
Line-up: Johnny, Marian, Kirsty, John, Tim, Andrew, Laura, Dan (Michal), Paul, Emma D (Jay)
Thanks to the Aces for another great game and to Cubby who umpired both (really long) games.