The New Forest Thunder Knights secured two wins over the Bristol Brunels on a wet and windy Sunday in Hampshire.

With the season nearing its finale, the Knights moved to 12-8 with the victories – putting the first-year team right in the playoff mix.

Game one saw the two teams trade scoreless innings, before a three run second gave the home side an early lead. The Knights took advantage of a series of walks with some alert base running, scoring on passed balls after a number of disciplined at bats.

Alex Frampton finally put the New Forest team in the hit column in the third inning with a single over the first baseman’s head. The hit sparked a five run half inning after Bristol had themselves added five runs in the other half.

Those runs would be the last that the Brunels scored in the first game, as a number of strong defensive plays by the Knights made sure of victory. Chris Lawson, Rob Holbrook and Sarah Banerjee combined to catch Sam Stainsby in a run down, Banerjee then combined with Frampton for a play at second and Danny Vinkler put in a strong performance at Catcher.

Vinkler stepped in to catch the game at the last minute, and his strong arm and excellent framing earned him joint player of the day honours in the 12-5 victory.

Mack Wylde had a great day in the field (photo: Chris Coope)

Mack Wylde earned his first player of the day mention in game two, where he excelled defensively at third base – throwing out three Brunel batters at first in a row.

Rhi McMah earned her first pitching win of the season, as she put up four innings, allowing just five hits and striking out a batter. Marcus Senior also earned his league leading second save of the year, as he pitched the final inning in relief.

The Knights again made the most of a number of walks and passed balls to score runs, as they converted eight walks into eight runs. Eddie Donald continued his late charge for team stolen bases title, adding three more to his record and moving him closer to Senior’s 28 on the year.

As the rain eased, the Brunels stayed close to the home side through to the final inning where Alex Lane-Kieltyka grounded out to Sam Williams at first base to end the 8-7 game.

A visit from the Weston Jets will round out the Thunder Knights home schedule next weekend, before a trip to Cardiff to take on the Merlins finishes off the regular season.

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