BOTH of Bournemouth Bears’ sides were in action as they looked to build on their 9-3 (AAA) and 7-3 (A) starts to the season.
The Triple A side travelled to face the Bristol Badgers at Somerdale Pavilion. With the sun beating down, the Bears came out winners in both games, by scores of 11-7 and 25-16.
Jose Lopez continued his excellent start to the season by picking up the win on the mound in game one.
The Venezuelan leads the AAA national rankings in wins, innings pitched and forced ground outs, adding seven strikeouts on 106 pitches against Bristol.
The Bears’ bats got off to a good start with manager Ben Hyde leading the game off with a hit to centre field.
He was backed up by hits from Williams Vega, Rafa Ugas, Lopez and Carlos Velazco as the away side put up three runs in the first inning. However, the Badgers countered with five runs of their own to take the lead.
What followed was a pitchers battle, as both sides showed good defence and recorded multiple strikeouts – Vega still managed to add his second hit of the game with a hard hit triple to left centre field, but the score remained close going into the final inning.
With the score tied at 6-6, Lopez led off the seventh inning with a hard hit double, he went on to score on a fielding error. Tom Walker then drove in Juan Miguel Ortega and Ugas before scoring himself on a Hyde groundout.
In total the Bears added a clutch five runs, putting Lopez in the perfect position to seal an 11-7 win.
Game two was frantic as both teams piled on the runs. The end outcome was a 25-16 win for the Bears, with Carlos Velazco pitching his first innings of the season and picking up his first win and the player of the day in the process.
The game started in similar fashion to the first matchup, with the Badgers taking a 4-0 lead after the first inning. The Bears roared back in spectacular fashion, putting up 14 runs across the second and third. Velazco backed up his pitching on the way to a four hit game with a vital RBI to rally the away side, before the entire batting order combined for nine runs in the third.
Velazco struck out the side in the bottom of the third, but the Badgers did not give in.
Across the fifth and sixth inning they rallied for 11 runs of their own. However, the visitors closed out the game in the top of the seventh, with Vega putting the cap on a seven-hit day as the Bears added six runs and finished the game in style.
The Bears’ Single A side split their matchup with the Taunton Muskets, who provided a good test for both the home side’s experienced and rookie players.
Pete Datlen took the mound in game one, picking up the win for the second time in as many games. Mitch Sullivan closed out the win with two innings of relief, in which his struck out two of the Muskets’ batters.
The home team have been strong whilst running the bases all season, and that continued with manager Warren Doyle getting on base to start the game, before stealing second and third on back-to-back pitches.
Sullivan then drove in Doyle, showing why he currently sits in the top five nationally for A level hits. Marcus Senior and Manny Baez then joined Sullivan and Doyle making their way over home plate to put the Bears up 4-0 entering the second inning.
With the score 6-4 entering the third inning, Senior earned himself player of the day honours with three fielding assists from third base to sit down the Muskets in order.
The Bears never looked like losing game one from that moment out, with Baez’s bat a particular highlight as he almost sent a deep strike to left field for a home run. Sullivan and Eddie Donald also recorded multi-hit games as the home team won 12-8.
Game two was a different story as the Muskets fired their way past the Bears in a 17-7 loss for the home side.
Shaun Barrett hauled in a rasping line drive in left field for the play of the day, whilst also showing discipline at the plate to earn two walks and a run.
Rhi McMah drove in a run and struck three batters out in relief of Senior on the mound, and Leigh Froud turned his plate appearance into a walk and a run for the home team.
Triple A are back in action this weekend at home to Richmond, and Single A face Cornwall in a neutral site game on June 26.