After the complete loss of the 2020 season due to the pandemic and a further delay of two weekends due to the weather, competitive baseball finally resumed when the Weston Jets made the long road trip to Newquay to play the Cornish Claycutters in a two game double-header.
It looked a very daunting task for an inexperienced Jets side facing off away from home against one of the very best teams in the south west, in fact Weston were without their top five hitters from the last season and five players in the starting line-up were making their Weston debuts.
Yolanda Berry made history by becoming the first woman to play a competitive league game, starting at second base for Weston.
The Jets however started strongly in Game one left fielder Aaron Moore and captain Nick Hodder both driving in runs to give Weston a narrow 4-3 lead after one inning, helped by an outstanding catch at the centre field fence by James Mortimer and some fine defensive plays by shortstop Cosmin Bilciurescu.
Cornwall came back strongly as expected, and by the mid game point led by three runs.
A well hit ball from Hodder fell agonisingly short of the fence and unfortunately no runs were scored.
Hodder was to have his moment with his next at-bat however, when he launched a ball deep over the left field fence for the Jet’s first home run of the new season.
Ultimately though the Claycutter’s defence proved the difference.
Two good double plays saw the visitors edge game one by the final score of 10 runs to eight.
Game two saw Aaron Moore start as pitcher for the Jets for the first time and he was understandably shaky in his first appearance giving up eight hits and walking six batters.
Cornwall were also struggling on the mound however and after two innings the score was tied at 10 runs apiece.
Veteran Lee Sargent took over pitching duties for the Jets and assisted by some great defence, the Jets were again hanging on and trailing by just two runs as the game entered it’s later stages.
It was Cornwall’s pitcher whose nerve broke first, giving up six walks which were capitalised upon by some aggressive Weston base-running which included a steal of home plate by Darren Hines, and Sargent closed the game out helped by a brilliant diving stop at first base by Hodder to earn a great first win of the new season by 16 runs to 14.
Afterwards Nick Hodder said: “It was a huge achievement for me personally to finally hit a home run especially after going so close in my previous at-bat.
“The team played brilliantly as a unit, James (Mortimer) took a great catch and Cosmin (Bilciurescu) made some fantastic stops. Given that for some of the players it was their first competitive game ever.
“I was delighted to earn the MVP award but it really was a great whole team effort”.