Monday, May 24, 2010

Dazzlers tame the Tigers at Clissold Park, Tigers @ Dazzlers, 24 May 2010

The crowds, led by Maggie’s parents, gathered in the Monday evening sun to witness the Dazzlers break their losing streak with a confident and convincing victory. Transport problems resulted in the Dazzlers taking to the field late and with only nine players, however the Tigers failed to take full advantage of the gap in the outfield (made even bigger by Ed’s acrobatic fielding techniques, i.e. falling over), scoring only two in the first innings before Erin arrived to bring the team to full strength. The Dazzlers responded in fierce fashion, batting round the order to get nine home and give themselves a comfortable lead. Tidy fielding yielded a shut-out in the top of the second, before Jack took out the Tigers first catcher of the night on a close play at home to score the Dazzlers’ tenth run.

This naked aggression must have riled the Tigers as they responded with their best innings of the night, scoring five to bring the score to 7-10. Unfortunately for the visitors, the Dazzlers hit their straps at this point and did not concede another run in the next three innings. Last week’s misdemeanours were atoned as the infield gave Amy much better service at first base, vindicating skipper Chicken’s rostering of Simon at second base where he had a super game and Maggie made an eagerly anticipated return to third base. Although not his daughter’s wedding day, Sicilian Rob made the gift of a walk to the Tigers’ big hitter but it was of no consequence.

The Dazzlers continued well in offence throughout these innings, scoring in each one, and with everyone scoring. Simon had a flawless 5-5 at the plate scoring each time, Nikki made some good hits and made it round to score even with an injured leg, Nicole recovered from a disappointing strike out in the first innings to place some great drives over the infield to get on base, Ed produced another home run and Amy reversed her poor batting form of late. In fact the Dazzlers would have done even better had the Tigers' first baseman not been such a safe glove as he took down some mighty powershots from Erin, Maggie and Jack, who took out his second catcher of the night in retaliation.

Despite the Tigers scoring two consolation runs in the final innings, the Dazzlers did not need to bat again.

MVP for the night was Erin. Despite being late, she did take a clean catch while the full force of the Ed Taylor One-Man Slapstick Show was bearing down on her, and that is no mean feat.

Tigers 9 (2 x 5 x x x 2)
Dazzlers 24 (9 1 2 6 4 2 -)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Careless Dazzlers Count the Cost, Comer's Homers @ Dazzlers 17 May 2010

The Dazzlers played host to Comer’s Homers on Monday night. Having pipped the Homers in Richmond over the weekend, the Dazzlers (plus Hayley from Meteors stepping in at the last minute – thanks!) took to the field with an air of expectation. The game began cagily with both teams giving the other a certain amount of respect, however the Homers settled quicker and over the first three innings took a lead of 6-4. The Dazzlers reacted as if it were 16-4 and their heads started going down. There was a palpable ebb of confidence away from the Dazzlers and this was evidenced by uncommited, sloppy fielding and a general lack of intent when batting and running.

After no score for either team in the fourth innings the Homers took advantage of the Dazzlers’ loss of focus and got three home. This took the score to 9-4, and despite some reasonable hitting in the bottom of the fifth the Dazzlers only managed to score with one runner. The Homers by now were comfortably picking out holes in the field and doubled their score over the final two innings. With the game effectively lost, the Dazzlers seemed to relax and played with much more freedom at the plate to get four home; unfortunately this was too little too late and the game ended in defeat.

To take some positives from the game, there were some good plays. A few nice catches were taken in the outfield; Rob had a great game pitching, throwing strikes at crucial times; some sharp infield plays went down; and at times there was some clean hitting to get on base. However the bad outweighed the good, as indecision, lack of communication, poor execution, and panic crippled the Dazzlers, especially towards the end of the game. Last year we might have got away with this, but the tougher opposition in Minor League Div 1 will punish mistakes, and the Homers proved no exception. Fumbles and overthrows cost the Dazzlers dear in defence and at the plate there was no apparent strategy.

MVP for the night was legitimate businessman Rob Tona, who added some solid hitting to his unflustered performance at the pitcher’s rubber; if only he had been backed up by the fielding he deserved, it would have been a different story.

Last week the story was that there’s no shame in playing well and losing to a better team on the day. This week the Dazzlers lost because they played badly against a team they could have beaten. Perhaps there is shame in that, but a bigger shame would be not to bounce back next week and head to Clissold Park with focus, confidence and HOO-HAH!

Homers 18 (2 x 4 x 3 4 5)
Dazzlers 9 (x 4 x x 1 x 4)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Down South - Dazzlers @ Raiders Red. 10 May 2010

Clapham South was the location of some high quality softball on Monday night, as the Dazzlers travelled south of the river to a ground which had played host to some emotional nights for the team in recent years. However the presence of some newer members, including Nikki playing as starting catcher on her league dayboo, helped to clear the collective Dazzler mind of bad memories and the team came together to give a respectable performance in a tight match.

In the top of the first innings some tight fielding held the Dazzlers to nil, with only Isaac getting on base. In reply the Raiders opened their account with an enormous home run, the first of several. In the second Steph got on base with a strong hit before a misunderstanding resulted in her being run out by Ed who was enthusiastically bounding round the bases, as his huge hit deserved. He ended up stranded on second and another run to the Raiders had the score at 0-2 going into the third innings.

After two quick outs the Dazzlers bottom order instigated a rally with Sicilian lemon merchant Rob* and Maria* getting on base, ready for Jack to shepherd home on a home run hit inside-out to rightfield. This gave the Dazzlers the lead for the first and only time in the game. The Raiders' consistent scoring continued despite some tricksy pitching by Simon and big catches in the deep from Ed, Erin and Jack. The Dazzlers added a fourth run to tie the scores in their next inning, with Steph batting in Chicken Tony who had hit a triple. It was the infield's turn to shine next as Isaac and Amy both bagged difficult catches and the game went into the fifth innings at 4-5.

Three up, three down in the Dazzlers' next innings, before holding the Raiders to no score for the first time, courtesy of short-stop Tony racing to win a forced out at second. Come the top of the seventh, the Dazzlers' lone run wasn't quite enough to make the home team bat for a final time and the game finshed 5-6.

MVP for the night was Jack with three big outfield catches and a home run plus two more RBIs.

Despite the result, the Dazzlers can be pleased with some solid defence against an excellent batting team, as they were beaten only by some impressively enormous hitting. The Dazzlers' own game at the plate was resilient in the face of some disappointing innings, trusting one another and constructing runs with teamwork which shows that there is more to the team than the first two innings.

Dazzlers 5 (x x 3 1 x x 1)
Raiders 6 (1 1 2 1 x 1 -)

*I think. I may be wrong.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

First Ball!