Week 1 Recap

Season 5 kicked off on Sunday. For a while it looked sketchy but the rain passed right before gametime and didn't impact any games. We held our season 5 carnival in partnership with Naseeha where we raised over $750 for Mental Health awareness.
If you owe money from the carnival, please EMT [email protected] with password 'brotherhood'.  
Recaps have been written by members of the rumours committee
Ottomans v AbbasidsSeason Five for BSL saw Birchwood One feature the Ottomans facing the Abbasids.  Pundits expect the Ottomans to feature as one of the top teams this season which seems like a safe assessment as long as they feature Rehan Ahmed in the lineup but GM Hashim Ghazi did a solid job in the draft as he put together a well-balanced team that he hopes will finally get the Ottomans their first championship.  The other dugout features the new look Abbasids who are just trying to make it to the playoffs after a run of difficult regular seasons.  That said the Abbasids are said to have come into this season with a fresh outlook and catchy slogans to get their fan base excited.  Phrases like "Make Abbasids Great Again" or MAGA and "Trust the Process" have been thrown out.  The later one seems to be a reference to the Abbasids having had the top pick in the last two drafts and they are hoping their first pick in this draft in Sameer Rafique will be able to help lead them to the post season. With all that said the Abbasids struggled early in this one, finding themselves down 7-0 after three innings of play and struggling to get any baserunners to generate their own offense.  The Ottomans on the other hand seemed to be in mid-season form as they were finding the gaps to get runners on base and then smashing them home with timely home runs.  The Abbasids managed to string something together in the fourth inning to make it a 7-2 game but their offense went silent again as the Ottomans poured it on to build an 18-2 lead and coast to the win. The Ottomans had a great day at the plate as 11 of the 12 players in the lineup had at least one hit and their fielding was sharp as well.  For the Abbasids a rough start to the season where the team managed just six hits and seemed overly eager at the plate as they seemed to swing for the first pitch each time and hit a lot of pop fly outs.
Final Score: Ottomans - 18, Abbasids - 2;     Star of the Game - Rehan Ahmad 3-3, HR, 4 RBIs
Seljuqs v Ayyubids: The Ayyubids started with a resounding win on opening day of the 2018 BSL season. Heavy rain and puddles in each respective dugout did not prevent both teams from coming out to play. The teams however did start off slow and took some time to get going. It was obvious that the Seljuqs had not yet practiced as a unit as their lack of chemistry on the field was apparent. A few crucial errors with two outs allowed the Ayyubids to capitalize and increase their early lead and create enough of a cushion to eventually win by 9 runs. Great outfielding by Imran Merchant ensured that the few solid hits that the Seljuqs had amounted to nothing but disappointment on their end. The Ayyubids offence finally woke up midway through the game where they scored 11 runs in the 3rd and 4th to blow the game open. The Seljuqs offense didn't score until the 4th inning where they could one bring 6 men across the plate. 
Final Score: Seljuqs - 6, Ayyubids - 15;      Star of the Game - Ali Jabbar 3-3 ,HR , 3 RBIs
Ottomans v Seljuqs: Game Two on BW1 saw the youngest team in the League take on the oldest. The Ottomans were fresh off a dominating performance, while the Seljuqs played well in their first game but not enough to seal a win. Complacency was a concern for the Ottomans after having a 35 minute break in between games, and a lack of focus was on full display. After putting up a solid 5 runs in the top of the inning, they looked out of sync on defense. This was especially apparent when a comedy of errors on a hit by Rameez "RamRiddlz" Siddiqi stretched a triple into an inside-the-park homerun. Both clubs exchanged barbs inning over inning, and the game was shaping up to be a classic with lead changes, big home runs and impressive pitching displays. After a huge strikeout by O's pitcher Tanseer Khawaja against one of the Seljuqs top players, the Ottomans rallied for 4 runs in the top of the final inning, and were able to close out the game with a 17-13 win. Rookie shortstop Owais Ansari announced his entrance into the League with a huge performance, notching 2 HRs and 7 RBIs in the game while showcasing a steady glove at short for the Turks.
Final Score: Ottomans - 17, Seljuqs -  13;     Star of the Game - Owais Ansari 3-4, 2 HR, 7 RBIs
Ayyubids v Abbasids: The Abbasids looked to bounce back from a crushing loss to the Ottoman's earlier in day. The Ayyubids looked to remain perfect. The Ayyubids got off to a quick two run lead in the first. The Abbasids responded with three runs courtesy of a Sameer Rafique Homerun in the bottom of the first inning. The Abbasids padded to their lead in the bottom of the third with both Atif Akhtar and Akif Waheed driving in two runs each. The Ayyubids would respond with a 7 run inning in the forth highlighted by a Hassan Zubair three-run homerun. The Ayyubids would further add to their lead in the 5th capped off with a based clearing double by Mohamed Kala. The Abbasids would make it close in the bottom of fifth with a Kashif Irshad grand slam. However, that is as close as the Abbasids were able to come as the Ayyubids tacked on an insurance run in the final inning, and came away with the win after their defense preserved the win in the bottom of the inning.
Final Score: Ayyubids - 14, Abbasids -  12;      Star of the Game - Hassan Zubair 3-4, HR, 3 RBIs
Nasrids v Mughals: With season 5 underway, the late afternoon game pitted the Mughals vs. the Nasrids in a rematch of last year’s finals.  New Nasrids GM 'Sir' Nirvaan Latif took over the reigns and will looked to do what last year’s Nasrids could not and beat the Mughals.  The first 3 innings was a pitching duel with little scoring until Osman Buttar came up in the 4th. Having already hit a solo HR, Osman broke the game open with his 2nd HR.  The Mughals bat’s were nowhere to be found; coupled with a number of defensive miscues, it seemed as though the Mughals were still enjoying their victory from last year and did not bother to put up much of a fight.  If history has shown us anything, Zahid will definitely have his team better prepared for the remainder of the season.  The Nasrids looked good both offensively and defensively and it doesn’t hurt that Osman had his Wheaties in the morning, as he ended up with 3 HR’s in a big win to start the season.
Final Score: Nasrids - 10, Mughals -  4;      Star of the Game - Osman Buttar 3-4, 3 HRs, 7 RBIs
Sultans v Mamluks: Two hundred and eighty-eight days.  TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-EIGHT DAYS!  That’s the amount time that had elapsed since the Sultans and Mamluks took the field in an official BSL game.  The excitement and anticipation could be felt radiating off some of the players like the smell of fresh naan.  The long-awaited first game of the 2018 BSL season for the Sultans took place vs the Mamluks.  These squads know each other well having had multiple players suit up for both teams.  Unfortunately for the Sultans, the energy with which they approached their batting practices and practice game was nowhere to be found.  The Mamluks started off the game slowly as well only being able to muster up a run in each of the first two innings, highlighted by a solo homerun (much to the Mamluk bench’s dismay) by BSL newcomer Adeel Alam.  Not that their slow start mattered as the Sultan bats seemed to have been put under some jadoo by muttering BSLers on the sidelines.  The Mamluks really let loose in the third inning as they put up a five spot to take a 7-0 lead.  Their offense wasn’t the only thing moving as Jibran “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” Waqar was showing the crowd his audition for said movie by diving left and right at whatever seemed to come close and making some brilliant diving stops.  A demoralized Sultans squad was rejuvenated late by a talk from one of it’s veteran leaders.  Shaheen “THIS IS AFRICA” Limbada brought the team together to tell them who they were.  This seemed to help as the Sultans outscored the Mamluks 7-4 the rest of the way but the rally was a little too late with the final score being 11-7. 
Final Score: Sultans - 7, Mamluks - 11;      Star of the Game - Adeel Alam 2-2, HR, 1 RBI
Mamluks v Mughals: In the final game played on Birchwood 1 for the day, two long time rivals and powerhouses squared off against each other. What was supposed to be an intriguing, highly contested game proved to be anything but.After the Mamluks put up 1 run in the top half of the first inning, Zahid Merchant, who was batting second for the Mughals, quickly dived into his playbook and through out a common favourite yelling at his team after getting a single "COME ON, LET'S GO!! I'M TIRED OF THIS!!!" The war cry seemed to put the Mamluks bats to sleep more than it did to wake up the Mughals however. The bottom of the first inning ended with the aforementioned Merchant getting gunned at home by Jibran Waqar on a relay play from the outfield. After a quiet second inning for both teams, the Mamluks committed a costly error which opened the door for 2 Mughal runs. 
Looking to finally get the offense going in the fourth inning, Salman Ahmad lead off for the Mamluks and hit a hard line drive that looked to be dropping just inside the left field line. However, Ismail Akhter made an incredible catch to record the out and the Mamluks once again went out quietly. The bottom of the fourth finally had some drama as Hassan Chaudhry came up against his former team with the bases loaded and a chance to break the game open. His former co-gm Rizwan Merchant got the better of him however, inducing a weakly hit infield fly. Ismail Akhter picked up his teammate in the next at bat with a two run single. Nadeem Hussain followed with a bloop single scoring another and suddenly the Mughals were up 8-1. 
In the top of the 5th, Jibran Waqar came up with 2 runners on and 2 out, with hopes of making a dent into the Mughals lead. While his rbi single scored one, it wasn't the big blow the Mamluks were hoping for. Zahid Merchant, determined to not allow another run to cross that inning, came up with a huge, and somewhat controversial strikeout looking of his brother Rizwan Merchant. From this on lookers perspective, Rizwan had asked Frank the umpire for time while he was getting set in the batters box. Zahid quick pitched Rizwan and got the K. It's hard to feel to sorry for Riz however since he has used the same tactic on many batters himself earlier in the day.
More uncharacteristic errors cost the Mamluks another 2 runs in the bottom of the 5th. The Mamluks would only score one more run off a solo homerun by WK to make the final 10-3. Zahid Merchant had an incredible game pitching, limiting the Mamluks to only 3 runs.  
Final Score: Mamluks - 3, Mughals - 10;     Star of the Game - Zahid Merchant 3-4, 2 RBIs
Nasrids v Sultans: The Nasrids entered the final game of the evening on a high with the franchise's first ever 1-0 start , while the Sultans were eager to not let a bad day get worse. The men in white sprinted to an early 11-1 lead after two innings courtesy of 3 MASSIVE homeruns from Shahzad Ahmed, Faisal Khan, and Omer Chaudhry. The Nasrids kept their cool and understood that they would have to chip away at the lead for the remainder of the game, which they did through a balanced attack in the middle innings led by GM Nirvaan Latif. With the home run limit in effect, the big boys of the Sultans were seemingly frustrated and couldn't get any runs on the board despite solid lead off hitting from rookie Hassan Chaudhary. Just when the Nasrids felt like they were gaining momentum, Shaheen Limbada robbed Osman Buttar over the fence on a sure home run - a highlight reel play that may be an early season play of the year candidate. Despite having their lead trimmed down to 11-9, the Sultans were able to keep the Nasrids at bay through timely defensive plays, consistent pitching from A K, and efficient batting performances, including Taqi Ahmed's 4-4 outing. In the end, the Sultans managed to pull off a convincing 16-9 victory to send both teams homes with a split on opening day.
Final Score: Nasrids - 9, Sultans - 16;      Star of the Game - Shaheen Limbada