Falcons fly to final - but rivals Knick the win
After a busy winter of indoor games, Chichester Falcons headed to Portsmouth for their first outdoor tournament of the new season, '“ SSL Firstball '“ and came out swinging.
In the group stages Ally Warr and James Mortimore led the Falcons’ offensive charge, consistently slugging the ball deep into the outfield, bringing Hettie McNeil and Keaton Irvine in to score, with Mortimore notching up a stack of monstrous home-runs.
As usual the Falcons defence was tight on the opposition, marked by series of catches in deep left field by Warr, with Ben Sawkins flashing some quick moves at shortstop and Veronika Green gunning the ball to Lucy Morris who made some dazzling stretches to beat out the runners at first base.
In the quarter-final, clever base coaching and a pep-talk from player-manager David Morris turned the tide in a low-scoring game against multiple league trophy-holding OAPs.
Returning to their ‘small-ball’ strategy of manufacturing runs one hit at a time, the Falcons loaded the bases at the bottom of the last innings for Seita Sawasaki to blast a grand slam ‘sayonara home run’ to take Chichester into the semis.
The semi-final with Southsea Sharks turned into a great display of softball and sportsmanship. Player/coach James Wheeler smoked the Sharks right-fielder with a laser hit, bringing two runners home but a great relay from the Sharks had their pitcher, Andy Burgess, and Wheeler colliding with a big tag out at home plate.
After the two former Arun Panthers dusted themselves down and hugged it out, the end of the innings saw the defensive play of the tournament with Sawasaki and Bronte Harvey, at catcher, showing some incredible game smarts with Seita first faking out the opposing runners and redirecting his throw to Harvey. She tagged out the runner stealing home before launching the ball across the diamond to second base for Wheeler to lay on the tag and complete the trick double play.
Falcons made it to the cup final where they were finally beaten by the Itchen Knicks, but not without a fight. With bases loaded, pitcher Jason Mercer crushed a home run way out into left, bringing in four runs to keep the game close – but Knicks took the cup 16-10.