The British baseball regular season started on May 2, with action in seven of its 17 leagues. We will primarily cover the top circuit, the National Baseball League (NBL), while highlighting noteworthy feats in the lower tiers. For more on the exceptionally complex structure of British baseball, we recently published a primer [link]. The NBL looks primed for some excitement as the London Mets aim for their fourth straight title and eighth consecutive championship series appearance.
The highlights start with Jessica Vernon, a long-time Bracknell player and coach, who became the first known woman to pitch in a NBL game for Herts. That alone would be impressive enough, but Vernon was the only person to toe the mound and record a 1-2-3 inning on either team. Moreover, she did not do it alone, as Marianna Casal suited up at second base, almost certainly making the Falcons the first-ever national league team with two women between the lines at the same time.
Some noteworthy performances from Game One of the season include a rollicking 23-22 final at Herts, where a 5-for-5 with five runs and five RBI performance for Essex Arrows’ Giovanni Escalona led the team to victory despite a longball, two doubles, and a single by Chris Hiche, who drove in seven for the Falcons and three doubles and a single with four RBI for Phil Clark. Also in an NBL opener, the London Capitals’ Masa Hisaguchi spun a rare shutout (7IP, 7H, 1BB, 8K). 14-year-old Travis Harfield’s 8-for-10 performance helped the Lancashire Legends to an Opening Day sweep before “slipping” to a 3-for-7 effort on the second weekend.
BBF National Baseball League Standings
Box scores are available here [link]. All games contested in or immediately outside Greater London, regardless of team name.
Home team listed second.
Week 1 (May 2)
Lancs. Legends 10 – Lon. Legends 8
Capitals 10 – Mets 11
Arrows 23 – Falcons 22
Lancs. Legends 18 – Lon. Legends 6
Capitals 6 – Mets 0
Arrows 16 – Falcons 13
Week 2 (May 9)
Arrows 18 – Lancs. Legends 3
Capitals 7 – Lon. Legends 3
Mets 22 – Falcons 2
Arrows 8 – Lancs. Legends 9
Capitals 12 – Lon. Legends 2
Mets 22 – Falcons 3
League Leaders in Lower Leagues
Highlights of the first fortnight of play include a four-homer game for Martyn Hamilton in an 18-11 Single-A win for Essex Redbacks on May 9. Hamilton is believed to be the first player ever to hit four round-trippers in a British baseball games. Alex Sencion hit a grand slam and a three-run homer for Milton Keynes Bucks in an 18-11 win over the Cambridge Monarchs in BBF Double-A play on May 2. The Monarchs had a grand slam of their own.
|BBF Triple-A South||7||Essex Redbacks||3-1||.750|
|BBF Triple-A South West||4||Bournemouth Bears||2-0||1.000|
|BBL Triple-A North||4||Opening Day||June 6|
|BBF Double-A Central||6||Oxford Kings||4-0||1.000|
|BBF Double-A South East||6||Croydon/Sidewinders||3-0||1.000|
|BBL Double-A North||4||Opening Day||June 6|
|BBF Single-A Central||6||Essex Redbacks||4-0||1.000|
|BBF Single-A South||6||Brighton Jets||3-1||.750|
|BBF Single-A South East||6||Tonbridge Wildcats||2-0||1.000|
|BBF Single-A Severn||4||Opening Day||May 30|
|BBF Single-A Wessex||4||Opening Day||May 16|
|Single-A East of England||8||Three teams tied||2-0||1.000|
|BBL Single-A North||7||Opening Day||June 6|
|Single-A Westcountry||5||Opening Day||May 16|
|Single-A West Midlands||7||Opening Day||June 6|