by Stephen Evans
The 2019 Baseball Scotland season started of with a derby in all three cities for the first time in Scottish Baseball History. The Comets took on their rivals the Galaxy in Glasgow; the Cannons hosted the Giants in Edinburgh; and the Granite City Oilers took on newly founded, cross town rivals Aberdeen Express in the first ever Chalmers Series, a best of three competition throughout the season.
Starting on the mound for the Oilers was second year man, Federico Gambedotti, the Italian flame throwing right hander. The Express would start Shane Sures, a first-year club member from Canada.
Leading off for the inaugural at bat for the Express was Ross Crawford. Crawford would draw a six pitch walk to start off the game. He would proceed to swipe second base and advanced to third on a dropped strike three. Third was as far as Crawford would get in the first inning as Steven Ironsides was thrown out at first after a second dropped strike three. The Express put runners in scoring position yet could not capitalise right off the bat.
Federico Gambedotti would lead off for the Oilers and started off with a deep fly ball to right field. Shane Sures would face five more batters, walking one, giving up one hit, while producing two more fly outs by the Oilers.
Over the next five innings, the defence of both teams would really shine as each team pitched a shutout going into the seventh inning. Pitcher Shane Sures would record the first strikeout for the Express pitching staff in the second inning, finishing with four total strikeouts on the afternoon. Oilers third baseman Alan Clark made a miraculous diving play to keep a hard-hit ground ball in the infield. Solid defence defined most of this afternoons contest.
The Express would strike first in the seventh inning when Shane Sures reached second base on a two out double. He then stole third base to give his team another great opportunity to plate a run. Veteran Jared Thomley came through in the clutch, singling up the middle to score Sures from third and break the deadlock.
But the Oilers would not be kept down for long, as Jim Scott lead off the bottom of the seventh with a walk, followed by single by Scott Black. Scott and Black would advance on a throwing error, and the Oilers would have runners at third and second. Dundee native Ross Marnie stepped into the batters box ready to capitalise on the situation. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Marnie then crushed a screaming line drive all the way to the fence, and under, in left centre for a ground rule double, scoring two runs for the Oilers. The Oilers would eventually bat ten in the inning, scoring five total runs and leaving two runners on base. The score was now 5-1.
Steven Ironside then lead off the top of the eighth for the Express, who had no intention of giving up. Ironside would lead off the inning with a double to right centre. Two batters later, Ironside would find himself on third, advancing on yet another dropped strike three play to first base. With two outs in the inning, and a runner at third, Mafe Mastrocesare would single to the right side of the field, scoring the runner from third and chipping away at the Oilers lead. Jack Geddes would then reach on a walk, but the Express rally would fall short as Gambedotti would strike out Ross Crawford to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, the Oilers would plate five additional runs blowing the game completely open. The Express could not recover and the final score of the first game of the Inaugural Chalmers Series, and the first game for both teams of the 2019 Baseball Scotland season, was 10-2.
Winning Pitcher: Federico Gambedotti 14 K, 4 BB, 10 H, 2 ER
Losing Pitcher: Shane Sures 4 K, 11 BB, 10 H, 5 ER
Aberdeen Express host Edinburgh Giants on April 14th at George W. Chalmers Field in Aberdeen
Granite City Oilers host Edinburgh Cannons on April 7th at George W. Chalmers Field in Aberdeen