The New Forest Thunder Knights became the first team to take a game from the league leading Cardiff Merlins I on Sunday.

On a humid day, the first game was tense throughout as the home side crept into an early lead and held on until the last out.

Chris Lawson got the ball on the mound for the Knights, and he got off to a swift start by striking out two in the first inning – stopping the Merlins from scoring any runs thanks to a run down also involving Rob Holbrook and Marcus Senior.

On the back of hits from Lawson and Senior, the New Forest team took the lead as Warren Doyle came home to score. Another scoreless inning followed for the away side, as Lawson struck out one batter and fielded two ground balls himself.

After the Knights added three more in the second inning, the Merlins fired into life as Saliya Wijesinghe homered to left field. Three more Cardiff batters made their way round the bases, to keep things close at 5-4.

Both sides exchanged more runs, leaving the game finely in the balance with two runners on, two outs and the score at 8-7 in the final inning. With Wijesinghe at the plate, Lawson worked the count full before the Cardiff hitter bounced the ball to Marcus Senior at third base – Senior threw a bullet across the diamond to Andy Swann at first and the Thunder Knights took the win.

The game saw Holbrook make his debut at Catcher for the home side, and he formed an excellent tandem with Lawson who finished the game with seven strikeouts and only allowed three hits. 

After a short break, Cardiff won the second game in a 20-3 rout. However, there were a number of standout performances from the Thunder Knights.

Mack Wylde made his pitching debut, throwing a good mix of pitches with the help of Sam Williams behind the plate. James Knight played a complete game at Right Field, tracking down a number of well hit balls and limiting the Merlins on the bases. Eddie Donald took two outstanding catches on the run at Centre Field and Williams upped his stolen base total to 23 with three during the game.

Ahead of a scheduled bye week, the Knights stand second in the Severn Division with a 10-8 record. A trip to the British Baseball Federation’s Summer Cup at Farnham Park is on the cards, before the last three games of the regular season.


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