Updated: Apr 10, 2019
The Sheffield Bruins made the short trip south to the Nottingham Rebels to begin the BBL AAA North 2019 season. With Cartmel and Liverpool postponing, a sweep would set up an early lead in the top division.
Opening day honours went to Luis Frometa and Jamie Ratcliffe for the Bruins and Rebels, respectively. The two flamethrowers dominated early proceedings with Ratcliffe sitting down the first three road hitters, whilst Frometa danced with danger, only to clutch up and shut out the home side.
Ratcliffe piled the pressure onto Sheffield in the second inning as he came round to score on a wild pitch. 1-0 Rebels. A couple of walks from the Sheffield hurler put runners into a scoring position. Nerves were settled with two more strikeouts, but with runners going on contact and the an unfortunate error by second baseman on a pop-up, three runs scored. Frometa managed to close the door against his pitching counterpart in the next at bat to end the inning. 4-0 Rebels.
The Rebels loaded the bases in the third, but with two strikeouts, Jordan Grocott was the only run to reach home plate. 5-0 Rebels.
After a shut out 3rd inning, the 4th finally saw the Bruins break through. After Luke Martin reached first base on a walk, the speedy centre fielder stole second base. Meanwhile, the ball was thrown into no-mans land, allowing Luke to take off for third, comfortably putting himself ninety feet from scoring. Chris Pickford drove him in on a ball hit back to the pitcher; Ratcliffe glove flipped to home, but Martin’s speed was too much. Pickford got himself in to scoring position on a passed ball, with Jorge Llamas driving him home on a well hit line drive. 5-2 Rebels.
One last security run was added by Shan Henry on a screaming base hit. With the score at 6-2 Rebels, the Sheffield Bruins looked to bounce back. The last chance for Sheffield saw a great start with a leadoff double, crushed into the gap from Jorge Llamas. Charlie Batho then walked, and a wild pitch to start Brady Yang’s time at the plate saw the runners advance ninety feet. One more wild pitch saw Yang on first and Llamas hustling home, 6-3.
Runners at the corners with no outs saw a string of controversial calls and close plays draw the game to a close, with the comeback being pulled short.
Final Score: Nottingham Rebels 6-3 Sheffield Bruins
After losing the first game of the season, the Sheffield Bruins got into the fighting spirit aiming to split the two game series. Game two saw a pair of the first game infielders take to the mound, AJ Tosses vs Jorge Llamas.
An early threat was posed to Llamas as Nottingham put runners in scoring position to lead off the game. Shan Henry took to the plate and proceeded to hit deep to right field; however, the well positioned Mike Davis caught the ball, reducing Henry's hit to a SAC fly and only allowing one run to score. Nevertheless, the Rebels continued to hit well leading to two further runs before ending the inning on back to back strikeouts. 3-0 Rebels.
Inning two saw the game spiral out of reach for the Bruins, as the hitting of AJ Tosses, Shan Henry, and Jamie Ratcliffe took centre stage, scoring an additional three runs. 6-1 Rebels.
The next 4 innings were tightly fought, with both teams scoring the odd well-worked run to take it to 9-3 at the end of the sixth.
The top of the order was up for the Bruins, with a fading chance to salvage something from the weekend. Neil Davies singled, but the throw to first saw an error that resulted in the ball out of play, allowing Neil to take second. Luke Martin rips a triple, bringing a run in. A walk for Chris Pickford on a well contested full count sees Luis Frometa to the plate, a well hit single moves Pickford and scores Martin. Llamas once again clutches up with an RBI single, which is matched by another single, this time from Mike Davis. A walk from Natalie Wong see bases loaded for Brady Yang, who hits a loud double to bring in two more, taking the score to 9-9. The Bruins were back to the top of the order with only one out, but AJ Tosses takes back some control with a strike out of Neil Davies. Luke Martin bags another double, taking his total number of RBIs to three for the inning. A vital eight-run inning saw the Bruins take the lead. 11-9 Bruins.
Though the lead didn’t last long, it was motivational to a team that had only mustered 6 manufactured runs up until that point. A very important strike out to Jamie Ratcliffe spurred some hope of an end, but Shan Henry drove home a run to put the pressure on. It looked like a walk-off opportunity for the Rebels, but the game was held to 11-11.
Going into extra innings saw the Bruins lead again. Luis Frometa reached on a walk, and began to immediately put on the pressure with a swipe of second; an error on the throw down finds its way into the middle of the park, allowing Frometa to reach 3rd. Jorge Llamas was next up to bat, a man flawless at the plate and over one hundred pitches in. A SAC fly makes its way home too late allowing the Bruins to once again take the lead. 12-11 Bruins. Jorge Llamas then closes the door for the final time by striking out 2 and forcing a ground-out to shortstop, preventing the Rebels from chancing another comeback.
Final Score: Nottingham Rebels 11-12 Sheffield Bruins