So where do we start with Monday night? The Aces were the latest visitors to Dixon Park and the two teams served up another epic! Grab a cup of tea (or something stronger) because this is a long one!
The Aces opened up the batting and every hit seemed to find a gap or be too high for the fielder. The Sliders defence couldn’t get close to the ball and it took technical errors by the batters to get the outs as six were scored in the first. Sliders’ batting has been scratchy this season to say the least so it looked like a daunting task to keep up. However, it was to be a game of surprises and Sliders showed great plate discipline taking walks at the right time and getting base hits working the runners around to score five of their own.
Unusually, it was the defence that let Sliders down. Outs were hard to come by in the second made worse by a series of overthrows, poor decision making and some big hitting and the Aces doubled their score. Sliders kept in touch with three of their own. Both defences tightened up in the third with the Aces failing to score whilst John got round to add one to the Sliders total through some good base running. This was to be the theme of the Sliders next two innings – batters getting on base only to be got out running to second or third whilst scoring only one. The Aces on the other hand were making their base hits count, usually with a monster hit into outfield which even when caught advanced the runners.
In the fourth the Sliders defence once again got the basics all wrong and conceded six to make the score 18-10. Things tightened up in the fifth with both teams adding one. Aces didn’t score in the sixth, the second of only two innings where a team didn’t score, whilst Sliders got back into the game with three, Laura and John both scoring triples. Aces added one more in the seventh to leave the score at 20-14 with Sliders still to bat. The difference looked to be too great to make up but what happened next was the start of a great few innings of softball.
Dan started things off with a double and was driven in by Tim. Kirsty got on first before a Dave base hit got Tim home. Marian got a base hit before Johnny hit a 3RBI triple. There were a couple of outs although Johnny managed to get home to tie the game. Jay and Michal both got on base. The winning run was on second. Unfortunately, Dan made a misjudgement and rather than taking the walk with the count 3-1 tried to be clever and hit a ball he should have left grounding out on first. Tied game. In the eighth the Aces rediscovered their batting game and Sliders forgot how to defend. Dan, who had spent most of the afternoon on his knees taking catches let one go through him costing three. Aces scored six altogether and once again it looked like Sliders had left too much to do. Tim and Dave both hit doubles, Marian, Laura and Jay kept things moving with base hits to get the Sliders to within one. Jay was the tying run and Michal got her to third. Dan base hit leaving Tim to finish the job with two outs. With his team mates providing a lot of “helpful” advice he proceeded to drive at the short stop. The runners took off and despite having to cover more distance than the short stop, Dan put in a huge slide to be safe on second with Jay getting home to tie the game once again. Aces got the out so we were into the ninth with the score 26 runs each.
The Sliders defence didn’t learn their lessons from the previous innings. More outfield mistakes and big hits let in eight this time. But once again the Sliders bats were firing and the base running exceptional. Throughout the game Sliders had gained extra bases through good running. Dave opened with another double and Marian drove him home. Aces got two outs and that looked like the game but John drove Marian home before Jay, Michal and Dan all got base hits. Tim hit a 3RBI double which included a comedy moment where Ace’s pitcher Nate went tumbling over Dan on third who took advantage by getting an unlikely run. Kirsty and Dave got base hits with the latter driving Tim home. Once again, the tying run was on second and the winning run on first but unfortunately the Sliders just couldn’t quite get the job done.
Line-up: Johnny, Marian, Emma D (Laura) John, Dave, Andrew (Michal), Kirsty, Dan, Tim, Jay.
Highs: A great batting performance by everyone especially when under pressure and excellent base running (all the training has paid off!) Thanks to the Aces for a fantastic game.
Next up Sliders travel to Hydebank to face the Angels on 24th June.