Cosmos(Cork, not New York) made the long journey north from the ‘real capital’ to the current actual capital for a difficult double-header against the Mariners (Bray,not Seattle) on Saturday last but were soundly beaten by the league leaders in both fixtures by scores of 10-0 and 19-9.
Excellent submarine pitching by Mariners Alex Capraru saw the Cosmos held scoreless in the first game.Mariners tacked on 5 runs in the 5th to finish the game 10-0 via the ‘mercy rule’ for a fully deserved win. Despite the one-side scoreline Cosmos had their chances and stranded 3 twice before ultimately falling to the the steady arm of Capraru. Missing Cork’s favourite blow-in, the man who espouses all things Cork despite being born in the ‘flyover’ county of Carlow, ‘Red Mick’ O’Donoghue, due to illness (get well soon Mick) and stalwart ex-Italy under 18 international Thomas Billi to work commitments in the CUH( we appreciate you Thomas) Cosmos welcomed back star performer Filip Zakrocki from injury and evergreen Joerg Toepfer took the hill again.
Despite some consistent hitting by lead off man and player manager Colm Coakley, excellent defensive work in particular by Filip Zakrocki and rookie Lukas Odendaal complemented by solid work from pitchers Joerg Toepfer and Alec Schmidt ,the wylie Mariners had too much experience and saw out the first game with relative ease.
The second game started much more brightly for the Cosmos and they jumped into an 8-0 lead after their first at bat. Alec Schmidt produced an excellent scoreless inning but thereafter the wheels came off for the Cosmos as the Mariners roused themselves and eventually took a 19-8 lead going into the last inning. Cosmos were only able to tack on one more run in the last and the Mariners again ran out deserving 19-9 winners.
Both games were generally played in good spirits apart from one slightly unsavoury collision between Mariners captain Matthew Green and Cosmos catcher Michael O’Callaghan where the Cosmos felt a word of apology wouldn’t have been out of place given the general ‘ambience’ to that point. Green, who led the Mariners from the front with bat and in defence, preferred to adopt some traditional Aussie ‘sportsmanship’ and thereafter there was a brief exchange of pleasantries which experienced umpire (insert name here) quickly quelled with a warning to both teams.
Never has a Cork team, in any code, made the long journey to the chilly northern climes of Dublin and not been on the wrong end of refereeing decisions (and this has nothing at all to do with paranoia of course) and the Cosmos felt there were a number of ‘interesting’ interpretations of the rules which went against them at key moments.Two uniform infractions, a baulk call, an infield interference, two catchers interference calls and interference by Mariners pitcher Alex Capraru who ‘appeared’ to grab the runners jersey with his throwing hand before making the tag all contributed to the sense of grievance. The Mariners, possibly, due to their greater ‘experience’ were able to stay on the right side of the officiating for both games. The calls wouldn’t have changed the results but could have led to tighter contests as they call came at crucial moments in the games.
The baulk call came against promising young pitcher Alec Schmidt with 2 outs for 0 runs in the second inning and appeared to unsettle Schmidt, who to that point had not given up a run to his first 5 batters faced. Despite this the young Schmidts – brothers Alec and Ryan- both put in solid performances again in only their 3rd outings for the Cosmos.
The game was played in the idyllic setting of Shanganagh park -which was immaculately prepared by the Mariners -and despite it’s generally unfortunate geographic location from a Cork perspective, has to be one of the most pleasant places to play any sport outside the real capital. The Mariners were full value for their wins and march on to the playoffs with a likely date with Ashbourne B.
The Cosmos have made vast improvements in recent weeks but face another tough double header next week at Corkagh park against the Spartans and the Comets. Both teams will be eager to finish what has been a difficult season for all with a win against the league newcomers.
Despite being well beaten by the Mariners,the Cosmos will take many positives from the trip and are eagerly looking forward to welcoming them to the ‘real capital’ for some good ‘ole southern comfort next season.