The Lions are becoming one of the longest standing teams playing in the Manchester Softball League (MSL). The saying goes that we are the most organised and dynamic team in Manchester. Over the years the Lions have always been extremely competitive in both the Manchester League and at tournaments up and down the country. The Manchester Lions were originally formed by Dave Wareham in 2002 and the team started in Manchester’s 3rd division. Through a lot of hard work, trainging sessions in the rain and sheer determination the Lions were quickly promoted up to MSL’s (Manchester Softball Leagues) First Division and worked hard to become platinum national champions in 2010.
Since then the Lions have continued to improve and finished 3rd in Division 1 in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 season then 2nd in both 2010 and 2011 – Is 2013 going to be the first year we win it!?!
Pitch 9 was host to the first ever league game between the Lions and Lightning (last year’s game was forfeit). This was the first time the Lions had faced new opposition in the softball league since 2010. (Hat tip to Statto)
There was a slight rain shower just before the game started which meant the ball skipped off the ground and the dazzling setting sun made fielding right field a nightmare. The first innings came as a bit of a shock when Lightnings lead off batter took a walk then Jo G hit a triple and scored the first run of the game. Smart pitching from Fulton struck out the next batter then a 1-3 play saw lightning move onto 2 out. The next batter took a walk which loaded the bases with a lefty up to bat. Kim made a great stop on 1st base and made the out at 1. As it turned out we did really well to keep lightning to only a single run.
The batting started in a similar way with 2 up 2 down for the Lions until the mighty Milson stepped up and hit a left field shot which bounced through the fielder and gave Gordy his first home run of the day (well first and only). On 2 out the Lions started to find their batting ways. A solid base hit from Ang then a double from Fulton and a single from Michelle kept the runs rolling in. Ed hit down the right field line scorning Michelle and then proceeded to get caught in a run down between 2nd and 3rd which in typical jammy fashion resulted in a home run.
After the first inning the score was 5-1 to the Lions. And that was the last of the scoring we saw from Lightning. For the next 4 innings they really struggled with the bats, Fulton had a stormer at pitch and must have had more 1-3 plays than in any other game recently. Kim made some super stops at 1st base to get the out every time and Lee had a solid game at short stop. It was a bit of a quiet game for April on 3rd base but made a good catch from a pop up when it was needed. Kris made a couple of catches in right centre that would normally have been easy but with the “ball disappearing for a while in the sun”, it made them not as simple as they should have been. With lightning needing to score one run to avoid a mercy in the top of the 5th, Ed had a couple of great plays from 2nd base and ended the game with a diving pickup and then throw to 2nd for the final out of the game.
Batting wise the Lions went a bit quiet before waking up again. Scoring only a single in the third innings before putting 10 runs on the board in the 4th innings. Particularly in the 4th innings everyone batted really well with highlights including clean line drive home runs from both Lins and Michelle and another from Ed. It was a base hitting master class that really demonstrated how winter training has paid off for the Lions.
MVPs were Ed and Lins.
The game finished in a mercy after the top of the 5th innings: 16-1
More About the Lions
As well as doing well in the Manchester Softball League, the Lions have also dominated at the various C Comp and B Comp tournaments over the years. We are now established as a very strong B-Comp league and tournament team and hoping to continue to improve this year. In 2009 we won the “C” nationals in the spring and the “Gold” Nationals later in the same year. In 2010 we went up to Platinum level and won that too! This is the first time any British Softball team has won national championships at 2 levels in a single calendar year and possibly the first time any team has won all 3 levels in 3 consecutive seasons.
To put icing on the cake, at the BSF awards in 2009 the Lions were announced as team of the year for our outstanding softball achievement and improvement. This is the first time a Manchester team has won the award!
The photo above was taken shortly after we won the Gold Nationals.. An updated team photo will happen soon!