Softball: Falcons soar into play-offs, but can’t cap first season with title

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Chichester Falcons rounded off their inaugural season in the Solent Indoor League by taking the runners-up trophy after a fiercely-competitive double header.

The first fixture saw the return of Baffins Brewers for a play-off. Brewers won the toss leaving the Falcons to bat first, which they did with great aplomb as Alex Rigert pounded the ball through the infield, notching up several RBIs.

Jenny Dunn showed quick feet as she darted around the diamond to frustrate the Brewers infield, who struggled against the Falcons persistent base running.

Having already put double figures on the board, the Falcons took the field. Shortstop Ben Sawkins pulled off arguably the play of the season by acrobatically catching a flyball off the wall then executing a full-stretch diving tag at second base to retire the Brewers’ lead runner.

The Falcons’ second innings brought another 12 runs thanks to strong line drives from Lisa Martin, leaving the Brewers a mountain to climb. The match ended 23-15 to the Falcons, putting them into the grand final.

The final saw the Falcons second favourites against Hursley Hurricanes, who won the toss to field first. The Hurricanes were anxious to assert themselves, allowing the Falcons to capitalise on nervy fielding.

Dave Morris consistently hit for the corners, buying time for the Falcons to load the bases ready for Ben Sawkins to crush the ball into the back wall for an emphatic grand slam.

James Wheeler toed the rubber to pitch at the Hurricanes, who hit well before the Falcons infield settled, ending the innings with a one run difference.

In the second, the Falcons went for all-out base running which, despite extra runs scored, proved costly on the diamond as the experienced Hurricanes tagged out several runners.

The final innings saw brave fielding by the Falcons but the Hurricanes hit well to outfield.

The outcome was kept secret by the umpiring staff until the end-of-season award ceremony afterwards, where it was revealed the Hurricanes had won 20-16.

League organisers also awarded male most valuable player of the league prize to human vacuum shortstop Ben Sawkins to the delight of his fellow Falcons.

Falcons coach James Wheeler said: “The secret of the Falcons’ magic is the combination of sense of fun with a will to win, which has created a team spirit that has star players from the Solent League now clamouring to join the side.

“They trained hard and formed a tremendous team.”

For more information on the Falcons, email dmorris4873@gmail.com