Softball: Falcons take flight to the play-offs

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Chichester Falcons pulled off another double victory to book a place in this weekend’s indoor league play-offs and a chance to take the title.

Their first match was a white-knuckle ride against Portsmouth University Shafters, who swung away but could not find their way past human vacuum shortstop Ben Sawkins, who acrobatically scooped up everything to left-field before gunning the ball to third baseman Max Hookway to deny any extra bases.

At bat, the Falcons’ plate discipline earned them walk after walk while Alex Rigert took every opportunity to disrupt the fielding with some spectacular break-up slides into base.

The second innings saw the Shafters go all-out with their hitting, allowing pitcher Dave Morris to take advantage with some brutal drop-ins which the batters could only foul off to catcher Lucy Morris.

They left the Falcons needing only three runs to win, and the Chichester side duly dispatched the Shafters within moments thanks to a sweeping three-run homer from James Wheeler. The second, hotly-anticipated grudge match was against Baffins Brewers.

The Brewers’ eagerness to get around the diamond allowed sharp-thinking Jenny Dunn and Lisa Martins to capitalise by making a right-field catch and fizzing the ball to first base before the Brewers lead runner could tag up - much to the delight of the Falcons outfield.

The Brewers managed to notch up eight runs in the first, but the Falcons sank their talons in at bat. Lisa Martins scored probably the shortest single on record when her spinning hit barely made it past the plate, but the Falcons spirit shone through as she determinedly raced for first base.

The Brewers hesitated and Hookway duly ran in from third to emphatically score. The final inning turned into a clutch situation for Wheeler as the Brewers hit a grand slam, but he stayed in full control and the Falcons fielded defiantly to shut out the Brewers and end the match 22-16.

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