Weston Jets well beaten by Cardiff Merlins
- Credit: Kev Robson
Weston Jets ended up well beaten by closest rivals Cardiff Merlins in their South West and Wales Baseball League double-header on Sunday.
Cardiff are the runaway leaders of the SWWBL this season having won every one of their games so far and hot favourites to win the Championship, so Weston faced a daunting task away from home.
Jets were also missing a number of their key players as they faced Cardiff's ace Japanese pitcher Taka Kano, who quickly set about making short work of Weston’s batting line-up.
The first three Weston batters went without score in the first inning, a feat Kano repeated as he retired the entire Weston batting order over the first three innings, striking out six of the nine batters without a single Weston player managing a hit.
The Weston defence was holding it’s own, putting up stout resistance to limit Cardiff to just five runs in the first half of the game, with Russel Carpenter at third base even managing to pull off an unassisted double play to retire two of the Merlins batters at once.
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Darren Hines and Jack Wynn finally managed to break through Kano’s dominance and get on base, but when they did they found another of Cardiff’s strengths in the throwing arm of catcher Rei Nishizono, Kano’s Japanese compatriot.
Nishizono’s throwing ability was unbelievably good and he picked off Hines and Wynn as they attempted to steal.
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The final score in game one was 10-0 to Cardiff, but Weston could certainly hold their heads up high with how well they had battled and refused to collapse.
Game two proved a very similar affair as Kano again destroyed the Jet’s batting order with his blazing fastball but once again the Jet’s defence put up formidable resistance.
Hines managed another hit and could boast he was the only Weston batter Kano had failed to strike out in either game, and when Roy Gillett hit a ground ball he drove home James Carter for the Jet’s only run of the day in a 16-1 loss.
Hines said: “This was always going to be one of our hardest fixtures this year. The strength of Cardiff’s team plus the fact a few of our key squad members were unable to travel made us huge underdogs.
"Despite this I was impressed with the positive mindset of the team and the way everyone supported each other and gave a really good account of themselves. We are really improving every game."
Centre-fielder Dan Kirby-James added: “It was an honour to have the opportunity to face pitching of that quality. I was really proud of how the team played defensively restricting Cardiff to a low run count while both our pitchers (Marshall Hanney and Aaron Moore) pitched beautifully and with great accuracy."
The Jets face Bristol Buccaneers at their home diamond Robson Field on Sunday in another double-header, with the first pitch at 12 noon.