CHICHESTER Falcons ran out gold winners of the SSL Tom Prince indoor tournament.
Four round-robin games saw the Chichester side dispatch the Spitfires, Shafters, Brewers and Sluggers with well-honed skills and confident teamwork.
Pitchers James Wheeler and Jason Mercer led the line-up by tying batters up in knots, Louise Rowe confidently stamped out second base for the day and new recruits Madelyn Franco and Yuka Wada were supreme at first base to frustrate the opponents’ baserunners.
At bat the Falcons were typically rampant; home runs were unusually scarce but any hint of an opportunity for extra bases were duly taken, causing the Falcons’ familiar pandemonium on the diamond.
Dave Piesse orchestrated numerous textbook squeeze plays while Emma Brown darted round as the fielding opponents repeatedly opted to take the easy outs in preference to the Falcon lead runners.
Harsha Desai slammed to right field and Nick Harris effortlessly thumped the ball to the back wall to put up three runs with one swing of the bat.
At bat the Falcons were typically rampant.
In the field, the usual combo of Ben Sawkins at shortstop and Lucy Morris at first base dealt with most threats while Clive Janes ably mopped up behind, as the Falcons found themselves top of the group and in the gold final with the experienced Southsea Sharks, now in their 20th year as a softball team.
The Falcons had saved their best until last – all their hard work through winter practice paid off as more baserunning prowess put the Falcons 19 runs ahead going into the final innning.
Having crushed a grand slam moments earlier at bat, James Wheeler curved, lobbed and spun awkward pitches to the Sharks batters and managed to restrict them to routine groundballs to shortstop David Morris, who teamed up with Nick Harris at third base to repeatedly snuff out Shark runners and keep the score to 29-19.
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Pictured, back from left, Jason Mercer, Ben Sawkins, Nick Harris, James Wheeler, David Morris, Clive Janes; front, Harsha Desai, Yuka Wada, Madelyn Franco, Emma Brown, Lucy Morris, Louise Rowe.