By Jude Clarke, Learning Exchange Programs, Program Manager

In addition to working in their various youth and community placements in Boston, the Tyrone Donegal Partnership Wider Horizons group has been enjoying the many social activities which the IIIC has organized for them. One such event was their first ever softball game as the Boston Blue Sharks took on the Irish Red Lobsters. Would the Blue Sharks chew the Red Lobsters?

The Blue Sharks started well as Gareth got a hit and was batted in by Sean to score. A great catch by Lee from Reece’s hit was a great defensive play for the Red Lobsters. In the bottom of the 1st the Blue Sharks could have had Lee out early only for Sean ‘butter-fingers’ dropped the catch, doh! Lee, Martin, Michael, Aodhan, Christina and Clare all had hits as the Red Lobsters took a 3-1 lead.

In the 2nd inning defenses were on top as both teams failed to score. For the Blue Sharks Emma’s hit was spectacularly slid in by Tom to take 3rd base but then Declan, Chloe P and Captain Kim were quickly struck out in what appeared to be some rather dodgy swatting at wasps rather than actual batting. The Red Lobsters followed this with an equally dodgy display with Erika, Kellie and Lee all quickly out.

In the 3rd Sean Paul got things off to a flyer with a great hit, and he was backed up with hits by Gareth, Reece and Chloe A before Declan was struck out (again). The Blue Sharks tagged on 3 runs before Kim hit a high fly ball only to see Lee totally clean out Jude as he pulled off a spectacular catch to record the 3rd out. Kellie was brilliantly caught out by catcher extraordinaire Sean Paul before Aodhan’s cool run meant that the score stood at 4 – 4 after three innings.

Today’s game produced some fantastic displays of catching in the field and two such catches were made in the left outfield position in the 4th inning by Michael. These came off huge hits from Tom and Reece. Perhaps it’s all the catching skills gained in playing hurling and/or cricket at home, but this really was excellent play. In the bottom of the 4th the stand out play was Clare’s great hit and run to 1st base where she completely took out Tom to tag the base. The Blue Shark’s cunning policy of changing pitcher every 5 minutes was confusing them as much as the opposition and so the Red Lobsters sneaked into a 6-4 lead at the end of four with runs being scored by Erika and Jude.

The Blue Sharks leveled the game in the 5th as Sean Paul and Chloe A scored runs. Amazingly the game was now finely balanced at 6-6. An extra inning was needed to split the teams and despite good hits from Sean Paul and Gareth it was a great play by Christina and Michael at 3rd base to force out Chloe A that snuffed out the Blue Sharks attack. And so it was left to Sarah to bat Jude in for the winning run (with Lee sprinting around the bases like a man possessed in the belief that his run would score too and not realizing the game was over).

This game was great craic and a great way for the group to enjoy some American sporting culture. While everyone played their part in a fantastic game, Clare and Sean Paul stood out as having played particularly well today, but it was Michael and Lee of the Red Lobsters who claimed the joint MVP awards for this game with stunning display of fielding and defensive play. Well done to all the players. Final score: Boston Blue Sharks – 6 Irish Red Lobsters - 7