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We’ve had the indoor final, we’re back on the green grass of Woughton Playing Fields, we’ve heard enough of Chris Borah’s jokes during the soft toss batting drill, Jake Clarke is excitable – that means the Outdoor League is back in action!

The Willow Lakers took on the Double D’s in the eagerly awaited season opener. The match – otherwise known as the Shkurko family derby – was a tense affair, with the Lakers sneaking it 16-13.

The game got off to quiet start with the Lakers failing to trouble the scorers in the first. Sophie Shkurko – returning from injury – began an immaculate evening at first-base. If you are running to first and the ball is heading towards her – you know it’s over!

The D’s took the lead in the second inning, but the Lakers took a 9-1 lead by the fourth. Adam Bee has been hitting home-runs since the Cretaceous Period, but it was great to see Dan Pritchard start the season on fire with a home-run of his own.

The highlights of the game were surely Katie O’Toole’s huge home-run – closely followed by a double by the D’s MVP Kass Carry. Both were great moments which make the League so exciting to play in.

The D’s hopes meanwhile started to sag as they struggled to add to their tally in the early innings. Brad Davidson, also returning from injury, was denied a home-run despite hitting the ball 18 feet over the head of outfielder Paul Severn. He attempted to nonchalantly return the ball after catching it on the fence – but underneath his hand was ******* killing from the palm catch.

It was a good day for rookies with Kimberley Angell and Shoshana-Toli Dzialoszynski making promising debuts outdoors. On the training pitch many other new players were also honing their skills ready to follow in their footsteps.

The D’s started to fight back in the 5th and 6th innings with some big hitting of their own, scoring 11 runs to bring the score to 12-12 late on. This kept Lakers MVPs Paul Severn and Katie O’Toole busy in left field – especially as Katie was still tired from the weekend tournament and Paul was exhibiting juggling skills better suited to Moscow State Circus than a softball field.

Also in the action was pitcher Craig Holmes who was forced to take evasive action from a powerful line drive towards his nether regions. I am reliably informed that he does not wear a cup, but if he did, it would probably be inside out by now.

Going into the top of the 7th the Lakers led 15-12. It was tense as Jason Jenkins (D’s MVP) caused concern for the local farming community as their livestock was sent scurrying for cover by his flyballs into the fields behind. But thanks to Adam Bee's ice-cool pitching, the Lakers held on for the win – adding another run in the bottom of the 7th.

So, a great game and a great start to the League. Over 45 people attended the match and the training as our softball family continues to grow. The next game sees reigning champions the Homerun Hornets play newbies the Northants Praetorians. The action starts at 6pm. Be there!

(Thanks to Kate for the photo)

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