Liverpool Trojans hosted the Halton Jaguars at Bootle this Sunday in what would be a poignant fixture for both the Trojans and the Yankin’ Off crew. After four years studying in the UK, Chris Luciano was heading home to the States. Sunday’s fixtures would constitute his last games as a Trojan.
With Martin Godsall on the mound, it didn’t take the Trojans long to record their first outs, the top of the first ending with two runners stranded on base. Harry Wren was brought home on an Andrew Heap double to open the scoring for the Trojans. A short second inning saw only Garcia advance for Halton, reaching first on a wild pitch. Halton found trouble in the third, with the Trojans in a bases loaded situation – Ian Blease hit by a pitch, Chris Luciano hitting a single and an Andrew Heap walk – but a groundout to first base ended the inning stranding all runners on base.
Halton managed to get into scoring position, courtesy of Nick Bustin and Carl Heesom before Godsall recorded three successive outs – two courtesy of Blease on first, one a strikeout. Godsall further contributed in the fourth with a run following an error, bringing the score to 2-0. Harry Wren had the only run in the fifth, thanks to a Heap single and James Hobson recorded his first run, reaching home from second base following an Alan Alger single to end the game Trojans 4-0 Jaguars.
Game two saw Chris Pittard take the mound for the Trojans. His previous home start, as we reported, was a tough game with an insane pitch count. But this week saw him on form, shutting Halton out during the first two innings whilst his teammates combined for two runs – Harry Wren came home in the first, thanks to a single from Luciano and Alan Alger ran home on an error after stealing two bases.
Mark Poole was brought home on a sacrificial play by Mike Dixon before a flyout to shortstop Luciano brought Halton’s third to a close, Trojans 2-1 Jaguars. The bottom of the third proved disastrous for Halton, with their pitcher tackling the full Trojans rotation for a total of five runs – Godsall advancing home via a Danny O’Broin single. Pittard and O’Broin brought home by a Harry Wren double and Alger and Wren brought home by a Blease single. Trojans 7-1 Jaguars, end of the third.
Top of the fourth saw two quick outs for Halton – a groundout to first from shortstop Luciano and a flyout from Nick Bustin to centre field that was pretty close to being a home run. But thanks to a Carl Heesom single and a couple of stolen bases, Halton were poised to score. With bases loaded, Halton scored two quick runs from Heesom and Cross, but it was only a matter of time before Pittard recorded the third out against Garcia, stranding two runners on base.
A thrilling bottom of the fourth saw the Trojans battle for a mercy-rule killing. As Halton’s pitching began to show cracks, the Trojans struck hard. Four walks in five plate appearances brought about a Halton pitching change, but the damage was done. Hobson, fresh from his first run in the early game, came home once again, albeit a walk after Ian Blease was hit by a pitch (also his second of the day!) After nine pitchers and six runs, Halton had their first out of the inning, a strikeout against Luciano. Mason and Godsall followed in quick succession, both on called strikes.
With the score now 13-3 in favour of the Trojans, they headed to inning five desperate to shut Halton down and start the toast to Luch early. Both Dixon and Homer were tagged out at home plate and a series of singles from Hulme, Bustin and Heesom kept the Trojans on their toes before a flyout to right field by Cross recorded the final out and retired the side. Final score Trojans 13-3 Jaguars.
Following the game, the Trojans gave our man Luch an emotional send off. With bats raised, Luch walked from the field to a guard of honour, then found himself the victim of a drowning and a cream pie. As the beer flowed and the barbecue sizzled, the Trojans bid farewell to their teammate, but as coach Rob Alger informed me, they must also turn their attention to upcoming games.
With a short layoff before the next game, the Trojans have time to rebuild and reorganise. With James Hobson stepping up late in both games and showing the discipline on both occasions to record a walk and also to score, expect Hobson to step up and become a regular member of the starting roster in the coming weeks. The pieces are there to continue to defend their AAA championship but I’m sure, like the Yankin’ Off studio, things won’t be the same without one of their brothers taking part. I’m told Luch’s number 9 was retired by the Trojans following the game, which was a great touch. It also meant Luch didn’t have to wash the shirt before he went home…
© David Griffiths 2013