Like a fine wine that gets better the longer you leave it, the Rascals got better the longer they played. With a very big squad to accommodate including a number of new players, it was not unexpected that it might take time to get the perfect blend. But, persistence and a lot of hard work on the training field paid off
A Good Start.
The season got off to the best possible start with a home win and a pretty convincing win at that. To get that first “W” on the board is all important with a new team and the bonus of scoring twenty plus runs was a real tonic.
With that early victory under their, there was a lot of confidence going into the first away day of the season. That trip ended in a 13-11 defeat against the RG Blue Sox 2. Looking back, it was a game the Rascals should have gotten something more from and that may have changed the way things panned out over the next few weeks.
As it was, that first defeat was the start of a run of 4 games without a win. The schedule also didn’t favour the Rascals as their next two fixtures we against the then lead leading Scorchers 2 and then the previous year’s Division winners, the Wildcats. The Scorchers 2 were two strong in every department and the 23-6 margin of victory was fair. The Wildcats can into town having recovered from their early season woes with a very strong team. In recent years the Wildcats had inflicted some heavy defeats on the Rascals, and this first encounter of the year followed that pattern as the Rascals went down 27-4.
As we entered June, the opportunity to end the winless run was presented to the Rascals as they entertained the then bottom placed Scorchers 1. A close game again evaded the Rascals as the Scorchers 1 chalked up their first win of the year, 32-21.
Hurricanes Epic Part 1
Mid-June, the Rascals hadn’t won since opening night and while they had played well in patches, they hadn’t quite got the breaks and converted their good play into points. Away at the Hurricanes that changed. In one of the best performances of the season, the Rascals showed both their ability to score freely and then be strong in defence. This game looked over in 3 innings as the Rascals overpowered the Hurricanes defence as they raced into a 17-2 lead after 3 and half innings. The game looked over as the Hurricane came to bat in the 4th, but the host had other ideas and going into the last inning the Hurricanes had reduced that lead down to just two runs with the winning runs on base. It took a fine game saving catch from Anne-Laure Bugeja with the Hurricanes posed to complete a remarkable come-back.
We Spoke too soon.
It looked like the Hurricanes games was the turning point, Going into the game against the title chasing Rattlesnakes, confidence was high. Unfortunately, unlike the previous week, the Rascals came up against a team right in form. The Rascals did very well to hold the Rattlesnakes to just 3 runs in the first two innings, the area the Rascals couldn’t get going was their batting, 3-0 become 10-0, then 16-0 after 4 innings as the Rascals failed to convert their runners in scoring position into actual runs. The Rattlesnakes controlled the game from the start and 16-0 was in the end a fair reflection of the game.
You don’t always get what you deserve.
The next encounter was a enthralling 7 innings of hard fought game against the Blue Sox. This was the Rascals best all-round team performance of the season. On defence the Rascal’s did not commit a single fielding error, so it had to be a very good performance from the Blue Sox to win 15-9. The difference in the end was the batting, the Blue Sox hitters found a couple more gaps than the Rascals, and when the Rascals needed a bounce to go their way, it favoured the Blue Sox.
Building to a climax
It was starting to look like the Rascals would have one of those seasons as they faced their longest trip of the season with an away to the BA Flyers. The Rascals performances have been getting better and better and against the Flyers this continued as they quickly jumped into a 13-4 lead after 3 innings. In extremely hot conditions 13-4 became 18-4 after 5. Two years ago, the Rascals had lead 10-1 going into the 6th inning and lost and when a poor 6th inning saw the Flyers reduce the deficit to 18-10 history looked to be repeating itself, but this time around 4 runs in the last gave the Rascals their third win of the season 22-10.
The up and date rollercoaster of the season continued. A good win then followed by a tough fixture as week 10 paired the Rascals against the title chasing Scorchers 2. This was another good performance from the Rascals and they were in the game at 14-10 till the 6th inning. It took a gear change from the Scorchers to finally put enough on the scoreboard to end a valiant Rascals challenge. 21-10 doesn’t really reflect how close the game was and how close the Rascals came to denting the Scorchers title chances.
After Scorchers 2, came Scorchers 1. Having pushed their sister team so close, the Rascals showed how it could have gone seven days ago. The final score of 33-17 was even a little misleading as to the total dominance shown by the Rascals, who lead 33-6 at the bottom of the 6th. A little compliancy crept in near the end, but that takes nothing away from a result that saw them score over 30 runs for the first time this season. One win was followed by two as the Wildcats forfeited. Then, just like buses, a third came in the the return fixture against the Hurricanes.
It all ends in the rain.
After 13 weeks of glorious sunshine and some fantastic ball, the final game of the season saw the heavens open. A rain and hail-soaked Rascals couldn’t raise themselves for one final game. The Rattlesnakes took control from the off, scoring 5 to the Rascals 1 in both the first and second inning, which was extended to 13-2 in the third as they shut the Rascals out. The high point of the game was the 4th as the Rascals scored twice and held their hosts to zero, but that was it for the evening as a 7 run 5th ended the game and the season.
What did it all mean?
The Rascals finished 6th. While this was a place lower than last season, this was the first full season for half of the players and this bodes well for 2019.
Come and Try Softball
We run sessions on Friday’s throughout the year to enable anyone interested to try Softball. If you think you would like to give Softball a try, or to learn more about Maidenhead Softball Club and to get involved in Softball, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.