Rise and shine: Diamonds reach semi-finals at Firstball tournament
It was an early start for the first tournament of the season as the Milton Keynes Diamonds prepared to set off for Loughborough to take part in their annual Firstball tournament.
As everyone gathered at 7am in the Kingston car park, we expected Leah Holmes to have been up for hours bouncing and ready for action. Unfortunately, she set her alarm late, had a lie-in, and had to floor it up the M1 for the first game…
Upon arrival the Diamonds were straight into action against the Nottingham Brewers. Craig Holmes quickly put the Diamonds in charge with the first of two home runs. In the field Leah had woken from her slumbers to catch a difficult flyball and Steve Lamb marked his tournament debut with a nice play at second base – even though the ball was as slippery as a bar of Imperial Leather. The Diamonds took the opening game 14-8.
A 45-minute break meant it was time to refuel. It’s times like this when the right healthy choices can pay dividends on the softball field. Adam Bee ignored this and went off to get a sausage sandwich.
Next up were the Yorkshire Dales. Rain had started to fall and the ground became quite muddy – so everything appeared to be in Yorkshire’s favour. However, a homerun from Steve and hits from James Bradley, Robyn Hillyard, Tilly Jones and Cathy Ford (who also had a nice lie-in!) helped towards an 11-1 victory. Everyone was keen to stand and chat with Paul Severn during the game – but that was possibly due to the fact he brought a massive golfing umbrella rather than his interesting conversation.
Next up were the Nottingham Misfits who kept Paul, Katie O’Connor and Steve busy in the outfield with some big hitting. As the game drew to a close the score was poised at 9-9. The Misfits found their way into the lead and then needed to take a final out to avoid the countback and potentially win the game. The Misfits runner refused to run to the base and Adam refused to make the out in a tense stand-off. Here’s a clip of the action:
The umpire called it a 9-9 draw.
In the final game the Diamonds needed a win to top the group against the Nottingham Redbacks. Leanne Reynolds delivered a fine hit showed and Cathy showed some fine balance on the bases to avoid a tag:
James capped a fine day at bat with a well-deserved home run as the Diamonds topped the group by winning 13-5 to advance to the semi final.
However, the day came to an end as the Diamonds’ hopes went up in smoke losing 12-2 to the Pyros. Paul had success with his seventh hit of the day – but the Pyros’ pitcher was too hot to handle as they went on to the final. The Pyros’ batting was equally impressive, but the score was kept down by Leah and Chris Russell who made great catches in the outfield.
So, a hugely enjoyable day came to an end and a great start to the season. Everyone played really well and the batting especially was superb. Fancy joining the fun at one of our other tournaments this year? Go to our Tournaments page to see the schedule and sign up for your place today!