by Michael Benton, www.namur-angels.be
The Namur Angels continued their quest through the Belgian League playoffs with two games against the Borgerhout Squirrels on Saturday and Sunday (03-04.09.2011). The Angels entered the weekend with a slight lead over the Royal Greys for second place and added an extra game to that by sweeping the Squirrels while the Greys split their series with the Pioneers. The Angels pounded the Squirrels in both games, winning by scores of 8-1 on Saturday and 10-1 on Sunday.
In Game 1 on Saturday, the Angels came out swinging as they scored 5 runs in the second inning, which was led off with a home run by Michael Benton. The inning continued to roll after that with two walks and then three consecutive doubles from Thomas Vandenabeele, Vincent King, and Nicholas Frederick. The third inning started the same way as the second as Michael Benton led off by hitting his second homer of the game to put the Angels ahead by the score of 6-0. They would add two more runs in the 8th when Theodore deBellefroid and Cedric Nauts came around to score for a little extra insurance.
Justin Latta took the mound for the Angels and pitched another great game despite battling the heat and an illness. Through four innings he had faced the minimum and had only allowed one hit and no walks. He continued on to pitch eight complete innings, allowing just 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 10 batters. He allowed one run in the 7th inning on a shot to center field that rolled all the way to the wall and resulted in an inside-the-park-homer. Nicholas Frederick then came in and pitched a perfect 9th inning to complete the 8-1 victory.
Sunday would continue to be the same story as the Angels again jumped on the Squirrels early by scoring three run in the 2nd inning, this time completely given to them. The Squirrels walked the bases loaded and then a passed ball and an error allowed Michael Benton, Jerome Sana, and Cedric Nauts to score. The Angels continued to attack the Squirrels as the added three more runs in the 4th on an RBI double from Nicholas Frederic, an RBI groundout from Benton, and an RBI single from Sana. Two more runs came across in both the 5th and 6th innings as well to bring the Angels total up to 10 for the game.
Cedric Desmedt got the start on the mound for the Angels and he two set the tone early as he struck out the side in the first inning and then never looked back. He allowed one run on a chopped infield single with two outs in the second inning but would not relinquish anything else. He allowed only 5 hits and four walks in 7 innings with 7 strikeouts to earn the win before the rain came and ended the game early on in the 8th inning.
The middle of the lineup was big for the Angels as cleanup hitter Angel Williams Rosario collected three hits, and Nicholas Frederick and Michael Benton, the 3rd and 5th hitters, each had two hits as they combined to score 7 of the 10 Angels runs. Next week the Angels take on the Royal Greys on Saturday and Sunday (10-11.09.2011) needing just one win to clinch a spot in the Belgian Series and take on the Hoboken Pioneers, who clinched the first spot this weekend, for the Belgian League Championship.
Photo: Frédéric de Laminne, www.event-pics.be