Chichester Falcons were agonisingly close to bringing the cup home from the Rookieball tournament in Southampton. Aimed at C and D grade softballers, the purpose of the tournament was to give new and fringe players some games early in the outdoor season.
The round-robin matches started versus Baffins Brewers and after a poor start with three outs with no bases made in the first, the Falcons re-grouped to achieve a third-innings total of 11 to secure a 12-7 win. Bronte Harvey kept third base safe, making two outs in one inning.
Next up were Redbridge Raiders, and although the Falcons were 5-2 down after the first, they once again got their heads up, shutting out the opposition for four innings in a row to bring home an amazing 11-6 win.
Pitcher James Mortimore was immense at bat as he crushed his way through two home runs and managed a 79 per cent on-base percentage.
The last group match against Monmouth Rockets was a much tighter affair with both teams playing well under pressure. This turned out to be the deciding match for the group top place, and the penultimate innings ended at 7-6 to the Chichester side.
With time running out, the Falcons needed only to stay at bat for five minutes to win the game. With instructions from captain Jason Mercer to avoid any outs and get on base, the Falcons did exactly that, knocking in four runs with no outs and running the game out of time for the win.
Nick Harris justified his position at short-stop with some athletic plays and accurate throwing, as Milko Giuffrida kept the in-field together at second base while keeping the runs ticking over.
Lucy Morris was a rock on first base, mopping up mis-throws and bagging several outs in the process, as Stefan Panayotopoulos caught almost every flyball to left field and hit a huge home run at a crucial point in the game to keep the Falcons in the hunt for a tournament win.
The tournament final against a Solent League scratch team appeared at first to be a little one-sided with the scratch team fielding some experienced players.
However the Chichester underdogs held their nerve and were 5-4 up before the final innings. Nick Harris justified his position at short-stop with some athletic plays and accurate throwing, as Milko Giuffrida kept the in-field together at second base while keeping the runs ticking over.
However, some big hitting from Solent left the Falcons outfield struggling and the match closed out at 10-5 leaving the Chichester the tournament runners-up.
Molly Rayner’s debut tournament delivered an impressive 64 per cent OBP and she came home seven times during the tournament, but Louise Rowe blew away the stats as she achieved an amazing 84 per cent OBP, five runs and five RBIs.
Photo: (back) – Stefan Panayotopoulos, Nick Harris, James Mortimore, Jason Mercer; (front) – Louise Rowe, Molly Rayner, Lucy Morris, Stanley Morris, Bronte Harvey, Milko Giuffrido
The Falcons adults and juniors practice every week at Oaklands Park – anybody interested in joining should email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.chichesterfalcons.com
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