It was an afternoon to forget for the Muskets down in Plymouth today, with the team taking their first loss of the 2018 season against a merciless Mariners side. Having entered the weekend with a perfect 4-0 record atop the Northern Conference the Muskets were the form team going into their first game against former league champions Plymouth.
The top of the first innings started out with two outs for the Muskets, with the first two in the order falling quickly. However the Muskets rallied with two outs, Kevin Snow, Leroy Bailey and Chris Chantrey drawing walks, before a single from Rob P got two runs on the board. However it was to be a very short lived lead for the Muskets, as the Mariners immediately struck back. A huge bottom of the first saw the Mariners take a 9-2 lead, a lead that the Muskets would not come close to clawing back. The Muskets attempted to start a comeback in the top of the second, with Jamie Pollard, Kevin and Jake Palmer drawing walks, before Leroy and Chris got hits to add another two to the Muskets total. Jake then stepped up to the mound to relieve the ailing Leroy, however, while the Mariners bats were swinging more freely, they managed to find a few gaps in the Muskets defence. Two catches at left field for Dean Emery and a strikeout for Jake got the Muskets out of the second inning, but it was for a loss of another eight runs, leaving the away trailing 17-4. The Muskets began to tighten up their defence, with some nice infield plays at second, shortstop and third, keeping the Muskets in contention.
Alas the Muskets failed to capitalise with the bat, only adding a solitary run in the next two innings. It wasn’t until the top of the fifth that the Muskets started to look like getting a rally together. Stuart Pike lead off with a walk, with Mark Cross, Jake, Jamie and Chris following suit, while singles for Kevin, Rob and Stuart on his second at bat of the innings gave the Muskets a glimmer of hope. With the Muskets hitting double figures on the score board they needed to keep things tight to ensure a close game. Unfortunately, as injuries started to niggle too much, the Muskets just couldn’t stop the Mariners from scoring. Two more big innings for the Mariners saw them take a 34-10 lead and while the Muskets tried to edge back into the contest in the top of the seventh, with Stuart getting his second hit of the game, the rally didn’t materialise.
The Mariners took the contest 34-11 in seven innings, and while there were positive for the Muskets to work on, it was a day to forget for the Taunton outfit. The win keeps the Mariners in touch with the early leaders of the Southern Conference, the Exeter Spitfires and the Muskets look forward to hosting the Spitfires on Father’s day next Sunday. It will be another tough test for the Muskets, as the Spitfires are now the only unbeaten team in the South West Baseball League this year.