Double, Double! Loughborough repeats as BUCS National Baseball Champions
4 May 2023
The second annual BUCS National Baseball Championship was held at Farnham Park National Baseball and Softball Complex starting on 25 March, with 11 teams fighting to be uni baseball champions! Despite a weather-postponed second day of play, this year's tournament saw Loughborough University defend their title to become back-to-back BUCS National Baseball Champions - and giving Loughborough the honour of the baseball-softball double Championship for the second straight year!
Teams were divided into two groups for pool play across Saturday and Sunday morning, and the BSUK team on-site kept the games moving despite wet weather during the week. The scores from pool play were as follows:
Day 1 Scores:
Oxford University 10, Bournemouth University 0
Swansea University 5, University of Nottingham 3*
|University of Central Lancashire 7, University of Nottingham 0||
University of Essex 3, University of Stirling 2
Swansea University 8, University of Surrey 2
University of East Anglia 10, York University 0
University of York 2, University of Stirling 1
University of Central Lancashire 9, Swansea University 1
University of East Anglia 8, University of Essex 0
Loughborough University 9, Oxford University 2
University of Central Lancashire 7, University of Surrey 2
|University of Essex 3, University of York 0|
Bournemouth University 7, Loughborough University 6
University of Nottingham 5, University of Surrey 1
University of East Anglia 7, University of Stirling 1
*The game finished 5-5 due to time constraints; per BUCS Baseball Regulation 7.3.1, in case of a tie at the end of the last open inning, “the winner will be determined by count-back to the last team that held the lead at the end of an inning.”
The University of Aberdeen withdrew from the competition earlier in the week; per BUCS Baseball rules, each of their scheduled fixtures is considered a 7-0 forfeit.
Saturday's competition ended with a cautiously optimistic look at Sunday's forecast, but sadly, it was not to be. Despite fantastic assistance from the University teams - in particular, UCLan, UEA and Loughborough - to dry the fields, play was suspended, and a makeup date was announced for the four Semifinalists - The University of Central Lancashire, Oxford University, Loughborough University, and the University of East Anglia.
3 May – Semifinals and Finals
The Third of May saw beautiful weather at Farnham Park, and pristine playing conditions, with the four semifinalists returning to conclude the National Championship Tournament!
|Loughborough University 7, Oxford University 5|
|University of Central Lancashire 7, University of East Anglia 0|
In the first semifinal, Loughborough faced Oxford in a rematch of pool play. Despite strong competition from Oxford, including a late rally, the defending champions were able to hold on to a 7-5 victory and book their return trip to the final. In the day's second semifinal, newcomers UCLan - in their first season for both baseball and softball - led early and never looked back, en route to a 9-0 defeat of the UEA Blue Sox.
|University of East Anglia 12, Oxford University 2|
In the third/fourth placement game, the Blue Sox of UEA jumped out to a quick lead on their way to a 12-2 victory over Oxford, securing a third-place finish - their second straight finish in the top 3 in BUCS Baseball!
|Loughborough University 5, University of Central Lancashire 3|
The final started off quickly, with home team Loughborough jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. However, UCLan would not go down without a fight, and after a pitching change, began to chip away at the lead. UCLan worked hard to push across a run in the third, and with a 5-1 deficit headed into the fifth and final inning, Loughborough were just three outs away from repeating. A sharp rally by UCLan with one out saw two more runs score, and brought the tying run to the plate, but Loughborough's Martin Clowes struck him out to end the game, and Loughborough were champions again!
Standings and notes
With Loughborough's victory, they have now won the BUCS National Championship in both baseball and softball for the second straight year - giving them the double-double of championships. UCLan, meanwhile, featured two players thought to be the first to receive domestic baseball scholarships in Alfie Hill and Nathan Simmons, and came second in both baseball and softball in the programme's first year. With more universities looking to add baseball and softball, will Loughborough be able to repeat for a third straight year? only time will tell...
Due to the rain-shortened tournament, BUCS Point were awarded as follows:
|2||University of Central Lancashire||36|
|3||University of East Anglia||24|
|T-5||University of Essex||13|
|T-7||University of Nottingham||9|
|T-9||University of Stirling||6|
|T-9||University of York||6|
|11||University of Surrey||6|
|N/A||University of Aberdeen||0|
Now that the university baseball and softball seasons have wrapped up, university players are encouraged to use the Team Finder to find their next team with the BSF or BBF! If you’re a university student who needs further assistance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Keep Playing.”
If you know of a college or university looking to add baseball, softball, or both to their BUCS programme, email us here.
The BUCS Softball and Baseball National Championships will return to the National Baseball & Softball Complex at Farnham Park in 2024!
All photos: Jody Demay-Davies