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The growth of the Milton Keynes Softball League continued with the first appearance of the Northants Praetorians in the outdoor league. But the reigning champions, the Homerun Hornets continued last season’s form with a 23-7 win.

The Hornets team had some changes with Karen and Kim Davies joining the line-up. Injured captain Chris Borah took the clipboard to coach the team and direct tactics. A dream come true for Chris.

In the early innings, Cathy Ford (eventual MVP) continued her amazing run of hitting as the Hornets got to work. It seemed certain that Chris Flynn would be sent home by third base coach Hedley Bevan, but the runner inexplicably held at third. Hedley protested his innocence during the inquest, but it is understood his position of third base coach is under review, with Lauren Ratcliffe’s sausage dog Steve understood to be in line to replace him.

The Praetorians were three runs down after the first, but Aaron Maine got them on the march with a leadoff homerun. However, the Praetorians’ swords were blunted in the next three innings as the Hornets took a commanding 14-1 lead.

A swarm of home runs from Trevor Morley (MVP), Alan Davis and Hedley Bevan were a huge boost to the Hornets' cause. The Hornet on hiatus, Natalie Davis, attempted to keep energy levels high by offering out-of-date Maltesers to teammates. To be honest they were past their best. I stole three and will hopefully have digested them by next Tuesday.

Kim Davies deserves a special mention with two singles and a walk in her first ever competitive softball match. After securing a perfect 1.000 average in her debut game, there was concern that she may announce her retirement – thankfully she didn’t. Well done Kim!

The Praetorians also had a number of players making their first appearance outdoors – including Nina and Beckie – the latter winning MVP. The team fought hard to the end – scoring six runs in the fifth – with Aaron Maine’s second home run giving him an early lead in the home run leaderboard.

Louis Bojko was doing a great job at shortstop until he took a nasty-looking injury to below the midriff. While he kept the ball in the infield, it did appear from his subsequent reaction that another ball may have been involved in the stop. Get well soon Louis from all the gentlemen.

So a good effort by both teams and welcome to the outdoor league Northants. Next up is the Roundabout Rhinos making their outdoor debut against another new team, the Herts Buzzards. Exciting times – see you on Tuesday!

Thanks to Natalie Davis for the photos (and the Maltesers).

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