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Sox share spoils with Outlaws on Opening Day




Blue Sox pitcher, Rikson Martina, locks down the win on Opening Day. Credit - Laura Ross


Leicester Blue Sox pulled out all the stops when it came to celebrating their curtain-raiser for the 2019 season on Sunday, with Radio Leicester making the journey to the Western Park baseball field and the traditional ceremonial first pitch performed by club chairperson Brett Melville. Hosting the visiting Birmingham Outlaws for the Opening Day fixture, Leicester knew they would be in for a tough day having dropped two pre-season games to a mixed Birmingham team just a week earlier.



Starting pitcher Joel Upton took the ball in game one, but the top of the Outlaws lineup caused him trouble in the early going with the first three batters accounting for five runs in just the two innings. The Blue Sox hitters were not to be outmatched, racking up the hits and scoring six runs of their own, to lead 6-5 after two innings. The Outlaws offence continued to roll on, scoring two runs on three hits to open the third; Upton was able to halt that rally but fell back into trouble in the final inning. With Leicester down by one and Birmingham hitting, Upton got a quick first out on a groundball to shortstop Scott McMillan but then proceeded to walk the bases loaded. Leicester player-manager Dave Burke had seen enough, and brought in relief pitcher Rikson Martina, who escaped the jam with a strikeout and a lineout to first baseman Andrew Davidson, who made a leaping catch on a ball that seemed destined for right field. The bats were buoyed by this defensive mastery and rallied to score the runs they needed to win, with Rob Seward driving in Burke from second base for the walk-off win.



Game two saw Martina stay on the hill for the Blue Sox, and also struggle to get the better of the Birmingham top order. After falling behind 5-0 early, the home team managed to rally scoring 4 runs and seemingly being set to take the lead in the bottom of the 4th. With the bases loaded and 2 runs already in, Leicester slugger Davidson came to the plate, however the Birmingham second baseman was able to snag his hard groundball to end the threat. With Seward now on the mound in relief, the Outlaws bats came to life scoring five insurance runs to put the game out of reach for the Blue Sox.


Leicester Blue Sox player-manager, Dave Burke was pleased with the positive performance from his squad and the split Opening Day doubleheader, saying “The boys played hard and showed the division that we will be tough opponents throughout the year. With four debutants in the squad today, I couldn’t be happier with how they came in and how the team banded together.”


Next week sees an off week for the Leicester Blue Sox before the visit of Northants Centurions to Western Park on April 28th.


Game 1


Hitting

McMillan SS 1-3  2B R

Martina C-P 1-2 2SB BB K

Burke CF-C 0-1 3R SB 2BB 2RBI

Davidson 1B 2-3 R 2SB CS RBI

Seward 3B 3-3 R SB 2RBI

Fulton-Brown LF 0-2  K

Upton P 1-1 SB BB RBI

- Deacon CF 0-0

Stafford 2B 0-2 2K

Kew-Moss RF 1-2 R


Pitching

Upton 3.1IP 7R 4ER 7H 6BB 2K

Martina  (W, 1-0) 0.2IP  0R 0H 0BB K


Game 2


Hitting

McMillan SS 1-2 HP RBI

Martina P 0-1

- Ross IV PH-LF 1-2

Burke C 1-3  RBI

Davidson 1B 1-3 2B R SB

Seward 3B-P 0-2 R SB CS HP

Deacon CF-3B 1-3 R SB

Upton 2B 1-1  2B RBI

- Elsey 2B 0-1 SB BB

Andrews LF-CF 1-3 2B R RBI

Shuttlewood RF 0-3  R


Pitching

Martina (L, 1-1) 3IP 5R 4ER 5H BB 5K 2HP

Seward 2IP 6R 7H BB 2K

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