Leicester Blue Sox accomplished a double achievement at the weekend, beating local rivals Long Eaton Storm to pip them to the post for the 2019 BBF Single-A Central Division title, as well as securing a high seed in the upcoming National playoffs.
The day started with Leicester two wins behind Long Eaton in the standings with the knowledge that a sweep in this double-header, along with a combined runs difference of eight would be enough to the top the division.
Game one started with Rik Martina on the mound for the Sox. Backed by some hard-hitting Leicester jumped to a 5-2 lead in the first inning, featuring a two-run double from Dave Burke and a two-run single from Rob Seward.
Martina held the lead for the Blue Sox shutting down the Storm for the next two innings. The Sox then tacked on five more runs, including a two-run single from James Kew-Moss to make it 10-2.
It was then the turn of Martina to contribute to the scoring in the fourth inning with a lead-off home-run. Joel Upton weighed in with a two-run double and Leicester were sitting pretty with a 13-2, or so it seemed.
A meltdown inning then followed with Long Eaton clawing back five runs, but Martina responded in the bottom half setting down the Storm in order.
The rally soon evaporated, with Leicester adding on one more run before the game closed out 14-7.
Given the runs difference in this game, all Leicester needed to do in the second match-up was win by any score line to secure the Blue Sox's first divisional title in nine years.
Armando Da Silva took the ball in game two and enjoyed a solid three innings, including setting down the top of Storm’s order in both the first and third innings.
Da Silva helped his cause with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. Even more runs were batted in the second inning from Rob Seward, Seb Stafford as well as Da Silva to take a 6-1 lead.
Long Eaton then battled back in the fourth inning driving in three runs off four straight hits to reduce the scoreline to 6-4. Leicester replied with two runs of their own in the bottom half, including a mad dash home from Rik Martina at third base, following a sacrifice fly out to shortstop.
Da Silva then found his groove again and kept Long Eaton quiet for the remainder of the game, helping Leicester to ride out 8-4 winners at the conclusion, along with the 2019 Central Division title in hand.
Leicester Blue Sox now progress to the National quarter-final playoffs and welcome the Essex Redbacks to Western Park this Sunday 26th August. First pitch is at midday, with the winners progressing to the BBF Single-A National Baseball Championships being played at Farnham Park, Slough on the weekend of 7th/8th September.
Let's go Blue Sox!