Rhinos charge to first MKSL title
The Roundabout Rhinos won their first MKSL title with a strong performance to win 18-10 over the Willow Lakers. A good crowd was in attendance to see the two teams enter the field accompanied by a spectacular smoke display (which cleared just in time for the lead off batter to see the first pitch!)
Excellent hitting from Vickie Robson, Carl Billson, and Steve Lamb ensured the Rhinos charged to a 4-0 lead - one they were to hold for the rest of the game. The Lakers responded with Paul Severn and Lauren Shkurko getting on base, but a double play put the brakes on the comeback.
Solid pitching from Adam Bee kept the Lakers in touch and a superb low diving catch by Richie Murray raised spirits, along with a couple of excellent outfield catches by left-fielder Katie O'Connor.
However, the Rhinos responded with great fielding of their own with Steve Lamb diving full length for a superb sliding outfield grab.
The Lakers continued to fight hard, reducing the gap to 8-4 by the end of the fourth inning with rookie Hannah Priestley returning from injury with an RBI. Trailing 18-8 in the bottom of the seventh, a home run from Richie Murray reducing the arrears, but a strikeout from Stephen Vallance wrapped things up for the Rhinos.
The quality of the Rhinos hitting proved the difference throughout, with Carl Billson leading the way with two ground rule doubles, coupled with consistent hitting from Vickie Robson and Steve Lamb - who went on to be named MVPs. Vickie had three hits and Steve hitting at 1.000 with six RBIs and a homerun. Rookie Jason Hulford also weighed in with his first ever homerun and lead off hitter James Bradley went 4-4 and turned a crucial double play.
The champagne corks were popped and the Rhinos celebrated their first title, becoming the third team to win MKSL, although an interloper managed to get in on the team photo...
For the Lakers it marked the end of another fine season, topping the table again, however by the time they actually win a final they'll probably look like this...
Huge thanks go to Jodie Bull and Jon Reynolds for setting up the diamond, Hedley Bevan for the commentary and pyrotechnics and Liz Knight for travelling from London to umpire.
Attention now turns to the Codebreakers Cup with several MKSL players and teams taking part - and our 2021 Awards Night. There's still time to sign up, but please do so asap as we are finalising numbers.
Please fill in this form if you'd like to attend and celebrate a great season and see the Rhinos receive the trophy!