Difficult start continues for Cosmos

Newly formed Cork Cosmos difficult start to their maiden season continued with a comprehensive defeat to a talented Ashbourne Under -21s at Cork Showgrounds on Saturday.

Shorn of a number of regulars, Cork still managed to field an experienced lineup led by ex-Italy international Thomas Jason Billi with Marco Sibillano taking the hill. The youthful Ashbourne bats were awake for the first inning however, and despite some excellent pitching by Sibillano the Stags pace around the bases and a couple of defensive errors left the visitors up by 8.

Cork responded well with veteran ‘Red’ Mick O’Donoghue,rookie John Mehegan, Thomas Billi, Filip Zakrocki and evergreen Jan Fre all firing to leave the score 8-4 heading into the top of the second.

A valiant effort on the hill from Marco Sibillano proved ultimately in vain as some excellent work with the bat and clever base running by the young Stags -under the watchful eyes of tenured veterans Sean Mitchell and Jason Wiebe -left the score at 19-4 heading into the bottom of the 2nd and the game effectively over as a contest. The inning had started well for Cork with 2 in 2 outs but defensive errors resurfaced and the Stags steadied themselves to pull away.

Cosmos were only able to tack on one more run which meant the mercy rule came into effect in the 5th.

Thomas Billi replaced Marco Sibilliano in the 2nd inning and despite being unable to pitch for over a year with a niggling elbow injury turned in 3 very good innings for 5 runs with a number of Ks.

Brightest spot for all involved with Irish Baseball was undoubtedly the appearance of 15 year old David Linn who pitched like a veteran through 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Ashbourne then turned to actual veteran closer Casper who sealed the game with a tidy performance.

It doesn’t get any easier for Cork with a trip to Corkagh Park next weekend to face the Spartans B. Cosmos suffered more than the other clubs in the lead up to the season from the COVID travel restrictions which meant they were unable to organize any pre-season friendlies.The difference in match readiness between Cork and their opponents has been evident in the 3 games so far. There have been some promising signs from the new entrants however and they also have a number of players returning in September which should help to increase competitiveness against their more experienced league counterparts.

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