20 May 2022
The Northstars took the trip down the M1 to Dublin to take on the Mariners Bs on a warm, slightly overcast day. The Mariners were trying to turn a couple of wins into a streak and the Belfast team were undefeated. Both had plenty of momentum and it was shaping up to be an intense occasion where both knew mistakes would need to be at a minimum.
The Northstars unfortunately did not get going at the start and 4 errors in a row left leadoff man, Joaquin “J-ROD” Rodriguez back in the dugout for 1-0 and the bases loaded. The inning should have been over from their perspective. They then thought they were going to get out of the inning with the damage limited, however, Ben Sullivan crushed a 2-out, 3 ribbie, opposite field hit to the right field corner. Great start for the Mariners.
All credit to the Northstars though as they didn’t faulter and knew that whenever they happen, purple patches do not last. They kept to the task, stuck to the fundamentals and put runs on the board. They did so well to come back that the frustration started to show with Starting Pitcher, Matt Dutton. He had to pitch more that he had been accustomed to so far this season, hit his limit and was relieved by Gao Zhikai on the mound towards the end of the 3rd.
Both teams then continued to respond to each other. The lead changed multiple times and between them, there were only a few duck eggs to be seen on the score sheet. For the most part, defence was not poor but everyone was seeing the ball well at the plate. Although in the end, it was the Mariners who prevailed, 17-12.
Performance wise, the entire Mariners played well and only 3 players from the line-up didn’t have multiple hit days. Gao Zhikai pitched extremely well and kept focused when the Northstars threw all they had at him to record his first win of the season. But Coach Dan Hawtree was left with no choice but to award Game MVP to Ben Sullivan. 5 for 6, a Double, 100% OBP and 6-RBIs.
A very special mention must go to the Umpire, Logan Finnegan. There was a scheduling issue, and it did not look like the game would go ahead. However, he stepped up and did a good job from behind the plate.
Next up for the Mariners B’s is two games in less then a week against Cork Comos 1 and Mariners Baseball Vikings on June 4th and June 8th respectively. Both will be played in Shanganagh Park but they will be the away side at their own venue, for the first time, when they play the undefeated Vikings.