Falcons start strong in 2021 season

Josh Bristow at bat

Chichester Falcons celebrated their first Solent Softball League game of 2021 with a thrilling win over Solent Sluggers in a high scoring, good natured battle.

The Falcons came hot out of the blocks with a seven run first inning, including a third base hit from Lucy Morris and a home run for James Blackall, following up with a solid shut out to leave the Sluggers well behind early in the game.

But by the 5th inning, despite a home run from debutant Dominic Stephenson, the Falcons had been limited to only two runs and the Sluggers exploited mistakes in the Falcons defense to claw back an 11-9 lead.

Sensing defeat, captain David Piesse rearranged the infield, moving Rose Bhanji to first base and Rachel Horton at catcher.

The Sluggers' advance was halted, thanks to a brace of outstanding diving catches from shortstop James Blackball, and Chichester went into the final inning just behind.

With some aggressive hits from the top of their order and gutsy base running from Hettie NcNeil, they concluded their batting with a three run lead.

At the bottom of the seventh, pitcher Jason Mercer picked up his third strike-out of the game to hold the scores at 15-16, before Ally Warr took a vital catch in left outfield to seal the win.

MVPs Hettie McNeil & Bronte Harvey

The following week, the Falcons travelled again to Portsmouth, this time to face the high flying Dodgers.

Wasting no time, Chichester got ahead 5-1 in the first thanks to another homer from James Blackall, followed by a fierce club to centre field by Hettie McNeil.

Pitcher Jason Mercer battled with a nasty crosswind and struggled to find the zone, but nevertheless gave the Dodgers virtually nothing to hit comfortably – with each walk came an out at second shortly after, as Bronte Harvey consistently shut the door in the middle infield.

Debutant George Farmer made a good account of himself, with a third inning double and a confident performance in centre field, linking up well with Ally Warr in left.

But it was Josh Bristow in centre right who really shone for the Falcons – his numerous athletic, deep catches and two home runs in the later stages took the game well beyond the Dodgers’ reach, leaving the Falcons to win comfortably at 22-14.