Liverpool Trojans Baseball Club Bootle Stadium, Maguire Ave, Bootle, Merseyside. L20 9PQ
Cartmel Valley Lions May 19th 2013
Sunday 19th May - Two hard fought victories by the Trojans against the Cartmen Valley Lions
Liverpool were made to work hard for the two wins in Sunday's double header, as a spirited Cartmel side pushed the Trojans to the limit. Although game one finished 10 - 4 in favour of the Trojans, it was the Lions who were ahead for most of the game.
Lion's pitcher Motoki Nakai, walked the lead off batter Harry Wren in the top of the first and was immediately punished, as Paul Smith's double drove in the run. But that was it for the Trojans until the top of the fifth as Nakai's pitching was backed up by some skillful play by Cartmel's young infield.
Mario Escobedo was on the mound for the Trojans and pitched an outstanding game holding a strong Cartmel batting line up to just 6 hits over the seven innings with 5 K's, giving up just 3 earned runs.
The game turned in Liverpool favour from the fifth inning as Nakai lost the strike zone and began to walk batters. A bases loaded walk to Ian Blease eventually leveled the scores. Andy Heap's single to right field drove in the go-ahead run as the Trojans closed in for the kill.
Nakai was eventually replaced on the mound by James Pearson in the sixth as Liverpool's hitting opened the game up. Chris Pittard doubled to start the inning and was eventually plated by Mario Ecscobedo's single to left field. Chris Luciano scored on a passed ball, while Ian Blease's RBI single drove in Escobedo. Liverpool scored three more in the top of the seventh, as Chris Pittard's second double of the day drove in a couple, and Luciano's sacrifice fly drove in the Trojans 10th run. The final score of 10 - 4 didn't necessarily reflect the competitive nature of the game as both teams played some great baseball in a very entertaining contest.
Game two was a much closer contest as both team's defensive play ensured a tight battle right up till the final out. Liverpool opened the scoring in the second inning as a couple of walks and a hit batter loaded the bases. Once again it was Cartmel's pitching that let them down, as a bases loaded walk to Chris Luciano gave the Trojans lead. Paul Smith, who has a reasonably quite day with the bat, reached base on a fielder's choice, and gave Liverpool the opportunity to score a second run.
That's how it stayed until the bottom of the fifth, when one at bat changed the whole complexion of the game. A couple of base hits and a walk loaded the bases for Cartmel. The Trojans looked to have dodged a bullet however, as the next two batters were retired. Up stepped Estevez Santos, who had been hittless up to this point. His single to left field got the base runners moving as the panic set in. A poor throw to home allowed a second run to score, an overthrow to third allowed a third run to score, then Santos challenged the throw home to score the fourth run off a single to left. NO!!! STOP!! With calm restored, Martin Godsall eventually steadied the ship and closed the inning without further score.
The Trojans somehow managed to tie the game in the top half of the sixth inning as once again walks by the Lions pitchers cost them dearly. Harry Wren picked up his 7th walk of the day as Liverpool plotted their comeback. Two further walks in the inning to Martin Godsall and Paul Smith gave Liverpool the chance to draw level. A wild pitch and an infield error was all it took for the Trojans to even the score.
A full length diving catch from Chris Gary in the outfield and some sterling work by Harry Wren at third and Chris Luciano at second, sent the game into extra innings as tempers began to fray, calls were questioned and finger's were pointed.
LUUUUCH! was the call from the Liverpool bench as Chris Luciano singled to start the top of the Eighth inning. Paul Smith grounded out to shortstop (again), but allowed Luciano to advance to second. Danny Byrne reached 1st on an error allowing Luciano to score on the overthrow, somehow allowing the Trojans to take the lead.
The bottom of the eighth saw more drama as Cartmel had two men on base with the hard hitting Luis Arrevillagas up to the plate. Martin Godsall had the opportunity to walk Arrevillagas, but instead chose to rise to the challenge and go after the batter. With two strikes on the batter and two outs, a high fly ball was launched into shallow right. Collective breath's were held as a posse of Trojans gathered underneath. Emerging from the crowd was the unmistakable cry of LUUUUUUCH!! I got it! With a dive backwards and a tumble resembling an Olympic gymnast, Luch emerged with the ball in his glove to end the game and extend the Trojans lead at the top of the pile. What a day!!
A rich history of baseball exists on Merseyside dating back to the 1930's. On July 20th 1933, appeared the first mention of an American style Baseball League. At this time, the game was already established in London and had existed for about 11 years under the banner of the Anglo-American Baseball Association. Teams such as the London Americans, the London Canadians and the London Japanese all competed.
The original team was formed in 1946 by ex-servicemen returning from the second world war. During the early years the team were on a very steep learning curve as the standard of baseball in the UK was extremely high. During the mid 70's and early 80's the Trojans won the British Championship 3 times and won their own division for nine consecutive years, at the time a British record. The current Liverpool Trojans are setting their own high standards and are keen to follow their predecessor's winning ways.