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2019 All-Star Game Recap

2019 All-Star Game Recap

 

The much anticipated 2019 all star festivities went underway last night as all of BSL Nights brightest stars were under the shining lights, chatting, laughing and just enjoying each others company. We had some notable drop outs such as Ismael “guys my flight is delayed” Akhtar, Farooq Sani, Khizer Channa, Mo Kala “Jadoo” and Neal Irfan.

 

The game started off very relaxed as guys were merely jogging after hits rather then sprinting at full speed, making jokes at each other, laughing at drop catches.  We all know that mood never lasts in BSL as the competitive juices eventually start pumping through out veins and all everyone wants to do is win. It took about 2 innings for guys to get serious but after that, we weren’t messing around. Jay “Smash” Ahmed making his All-Star Debut smoked his first dinger out of the park on his best friend Riyad Ramjaun bringing in a couple of RBI’s. He walked over to first base, touched it like a pro and walked off to go fetch his ball like he’s been doing this all year… Great hit!! Hamid Malik thought he knocked one out of the park as he stood there admiring his handy work, pointing/waving to the adoring fans (o there were tons!) only to see it drop and hit the fence. What could’ve been an easy triple turned into an “OMG the guys are gona yell at me double”.

Other notable homerun hitters were the usual suspects in Bilal “Miandad” Javed, Ahmed “crazy” Ammad, Waseem “Patience is a virtue” Kala, Zane Sheikh and Bis Bass (Baseer).

Both teams were having a great time until the game started getting close. Defense was getting tighter and guys were trying to find the gap. There were some pitching changes throughout the game as Ali Chaudhry, Riyad Ramjaun, Zahid Merchant and Safwan Khan all tried their hand at pitching on this windy night. Riyad had a superb game on the mound, striking out countless all-stars with his fancy pitching. That being said, It was a rough night for all pitchers as hitting the plate was extra diffifcult tonight due to strong winds, bright lights and a new daimond.  We know that everyone that played, tried their best and certainly didn’t intend to walk anyone on purpose as this was just a final pickup game amongst friends before a long hibernation period for most of us. Unfortunately, the game ended at the bottom of the 6th as there were some disagreements on the field.

 

Once all the dust settled the power batters took their positions in the HR derby as fielders were lined up inside and outside the diamond hoping to see some monster hits. Rameez Siddiqui got things started putting 3 over the fence followed by Zane Sheikh who managed to rock 2 right down CF. Ahmed “Crazy” Ammad, who is always one of the favourites to win any Derby nailed 5 followed by Faisal Shamshad who had 5 monster hits of his own and Bilal Javed who very casually had 4. The story of the night was Safwan Khan who eventually found a rhythm and started smashing everything over the fence. He had 8 to cap off his night as we have a new HR Derby Champion this year. Congratulations Safwan!

 

We know that things tend to get competitive but as Muslims, as fathers, as husbands, as brothers, as men, we should all understand that real life is out there, off the softball diamond. This is an escape to come out, hang with the boys, have some fun and leave all that stress behind. Sometimes we lose sight of that due to our competitive nature and as a result we end up offending one another. This attitude needs to change if we want to continue to grow as a league, as Muslims but more importantly as individuals for ourselves and our families. Its up to all of us to esnure things like this dont get out of hand, and not just the league management. May Allah give us all the patience and the strength to always do the right thing.  

 

Finally, I wanted to thank Akif Waheed for doing a fantastic job as commissioner for a 2nd straight year. There is a lot of pressure that comes with organizing a league of this calibre, not to mention the time it takes away from your family and your actual job. Communicating with volunteers, renting diamonds, securing umpires for the season, ensuring accuracy of stats, rules, regulations, while also hearing everyone’s concerns and opinions. Believe me when I say this Akif, it hasn’t gone unnoticed. We look forward to season 3 of BSL Nights. Keep up the excellent work!

 

It was a pleasure playing with each and every single one of you. Thank you to all the volunteers who really made this league happen. Without you we wouldn’t have such an amazing league. Until next year, peace out my brothers!!

 

Asalam - O - Alaikom!


Congratulations to the 2019 Champions Cordoba!

Congratulations to the the 2019 Champions, Cordoba. They defeated a Damascus team who played their hearts out but in the end fell short. Both teams deserve major recognition but in the end, there is just one champion. Hats off to Safwan Khan and his squad for an amazing year!

Congratulations Cordoba. You are the 2019 Champions!!

 

 


BSL Nights 2019 Finals Preview

Finals Preview - Damascus vs Cordoba

And then there were 2…

 Its been a long season and with everyone playing their hearts out, its unfortunate anyone had to taste elimination. That being said, the 2 teams that cruised all season long thanks to their incredible efficiency and all round team play finally meet in a much anticipated finals. This game will have a combination of big hitting along with some incredible defense. Damascus is well known for their high powered offense but their defense has been heavily under rated. With Imran “the gentle giant” Qureshi manning 1st base, Abul Murrad at SS, Ahmed “Crazy” Ammad, Akif “ Commiss” Waheed and Safwan Khan anchoring the outfield, it looks like their most important positions are rock solid and are looking like a dangerous squad. On the flip side, Cordoba has a batting lineup full of power and place hitters and so far, no defense has been able to fully stand in their way. Their offense has carried them all season long thanks to guys like Bilal “Miandad” Javed, Rookie Sensation Faisal Shamshad, Zaid “steady” Ghansar and Umair Wasim. That doesn’t mean they don’t have defensive gem’s hiding amongst their rosters. With guys like Yusauf Chaudhry, Khurram Channa, and Sulemann Mann, Cordoba is never out of the game. With all this talent gushing out of these 2 teams, its only fitting that this highly anticipated clash will be one of the most anticipated finals in BSL nights history. As the newest expansion team, does Damascus have what it takes to go the distance or will they suffer the same fate as the Vegas Golden Knights? A fired up Cordoba team will definitely have something to say about that.

 

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We’re about to find out!

 

Damascus vs Cordoba

Thursday September 19, 2019 @ 8:00pm. Don’t miss it!!


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 14 Recap

Medina vs Cairo

 

In our final regular season game on this Super Thursday, Cairo and Medina had a lot riding on this. Loser of the 2 will face off against a 5th place Lahore squad in a do or die match where the winner moves forward to face off against the ever so Dangerous, Damascus.

The game started off slow with both teams getting on the board early. There wasn’t much that happened early in this game but one of the highlights for Medina was the fact that Ismail Akhter finally found his form as he launched 3 homers out of the park bringing in 7 RBI’s. Zane Sheikh followed that up with a solo homer to give him his 4th on the season. On Cairo’s side, Captain Yasser Malik had a fantastic game as he put 1 over CF Hamid Malik’s head who managed to track it down to make the grab before colliding with the fence and losing the ball. Yasser then followed that up with a homerun right down CF bringing in a couple of RBI’s. Just as this game was looking like another dud, Both teams stepped up and combined for 24 runs in the final 3 innings.

Fast forward to the top of the 7th where Cairo was down 3. With some slick hitting, they consistently found the gaps and made Medina’s outfielders pay. Jay “Smooth” Ahmed sailed one over RF hitting the fence giving him a triple which brought up the top of the lineup. Hassan Khan stepped into a grand slam which helped Cairo take the lead. There was nothing Medina could’ve done as they watched Cairo pick them apart in that final frame. As the bottom of the 7th rolled around, Medina was unable to string together any hits as the Cairo shut them down and went on their merry way.  With this game in the books, the playoff picture is finally set in stone.

Medina will host Lahore in a kill or be killed wild card game. Are you ready for playoffs??? You better be, cause a single mistake can/will cost you your entire season. Hope ya’ll are ready to roll up your sleeves and get some dirt on your jerseys. ITS PLAYOFF TIME BABY!!! LETS GOOOOO


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 2 Recap (Make up games)

Istanbul vs Cairo 

 

In the 1st makeup game of the evening, BSL Nights were provided their first “unofficial” playoff game with the two bottom teams facing off.  With an Istanbul win, super Thursday would be set up with all teams with a chance at the playoffs.  A Cairo win would eliminate Istanbul and super Thursday would be about playoff seeding amongst the remaining 5 teams.
With the boys in red facing elimination, unfortunately, ALL 3 Ramjauns were missing in action this week, including AGM Riyad Ramjaun, however, GM Zain Malik was able to secure the services of Taher “T-Man” Mirza as a substitute for this do or die game.  On the flip side of things, Cairo themselves were missing a few top guys but were able to secure the services of some of the top subs this league has to offer in Zain Khilji and Ali Nazir.  Cairo started off strong and put up 7 runs in the first 2 innings, but not to be outdone, Istanbul came roaring back with 8 runs of their own.  The game would be back and forth affair, with Istanbul up 11-9 after 4 innings.  Unfortunately, this is where the wheels fell off, and a misplay at 3rd base would cause both teams to get chippy and would both receive multiple warnings for arguing.  In the spirit of Brotherhood, cooler heads prevailed in the end, but with Istanbul now playing annoyed, Cairo quickly put up 5 runs while Istanbul would not score again.
With the loss, Istanbul is officially eliminated from playoff contention while Cairo will now fight for their lives to not have to play the wildcard game.  A 3rd place seeding is still in the realm of possibility, but they will need to beat Medina on super Thursday, while also getting help from others.  Meanwhile, GM Zain Malik is left pondering what went wrong.  His team on paper were one of the deadliest hitting teams, but defensively, things never materialized.  Coupled with a few bad breaks during the season, the boys in red will look to play spoiler on Thursday, while unfortunately, not playing for something themselves.

 

Lahore vs Medina

In our 2nd makeup game of the evening we have 2 teams trying to fight for that 3rd place in the standings to avoid playing an unpredictable Cairo squad in the wild card game.

Medina started off shutting Lahore down in the first inning and scored 4 runs to start this game off. W K and Zane Sheikh were both hot coming into this game as both picked up right where they left off with a pair of deep Homers. W K is really embracing this patience thing as he looks like he’s found his form just before heading into the playoffs. It was nice of Zane Sheikh to grace us with his presence as he came off a flight that landed at 715 and still made it in time for his first at bat following up W K’s homer with a deep shot of his own. He would later have another homerun but it would count as an out instead since Medina was over the HR limit.

Medina continued to score runs until the 4th inning where they had a comfortable lead with a score of 9-3. As soon as Medina’s bats slowed down, Lahore took that opportunity to start a run of their own, storming back to tie this game. There were great performances by Salim Jaichi and Aftab Khan as they combined for 5/6 at bats and 6 RBI’s. On the defensive end, Salman Ahmed held it down on the mound and did what he could to keep his team in the game. Amir Khalil was on point as he made some nice grabs in RF not letting anything get by him. Medina had an opportunity to close this game out in the final inning but yet again left runners on the bag resulting in another tie. That’s 3 ties where Medina left multiple runners on the bag. If Medina expects to make another deep run this year, they need to learn to close out games especially when they have the upper hand. Despite Lahore missing key players they played great against Medina as they rallied to tie this one up. This point will be huge for both teams as we head into Super Thursday. With Istanbul out of the picture, everyone has secured a chance to play again next Thursday but who will play in the wild card game? Nothing is confirmed yet but we’ll find out when that clock strikes 11pm tonight.

 

Cordoba vs Damascus

Cordoba and Damascus met each other for the third time this year as number 1 and number 2 ranked teams battled each other to secure the first seed. Damascus came into this game confident as they dominated the previous two match ups. They experimented with their batting line up as the GM, Safwan was the last batter and had four different players play the critical short stop position. Cordoba were missing both their GM, Chu and AGM, Billa and had speedster Taher as their substitute.   
 

Damascus took the early lead, courtesy of some timely hit by Ahmad Ammad, Tanseer Bahi and Imran Qureshi. However, some sloppy fielding in the 3rd and 4th inning by Damascus and a clutch in the park homerun by Umair Wasim led to Cordoba taking the 12 -7 lead.  Damascus made another little run in the 6th inning but it was too little too late. Damascus was able to stay in the game despite their underwhelming fielding displaying on the day, which shows why they are the Number 1 seed.  Their middle order is clicking at the right time with Imran, Talal and Muzamil all going ¾ on the day. As expect, Ahmad Ammad continued to have a monster year and hit the only HR of the game. He is now almost doubling the amount of HR hit by anyone else in the league. 
 

Cordoba also had a good day at the plate with Saad, Umair, Suleman, Fasil and Hamza all hitting over .500. Saad also had a good day with the glove and showed he is capable of hold down CF position. Lastly, Hamaza showed why he is still in contention for the pitcher of the year award by getting another W for his team.


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 13 Recap

Medina vs Cordoba

 

Final game of the evening was also our featured game and let me tell you, this game did not disappoint. Cordoba, (arguably the best team in the league) faced off against a powerhouse Medina (on paper at least) who are currently in the hunt for a playoff spot. A win would go a very long way for them.

As the away team, Cordoba took to bat first and put up a 7 run mercy inning to start the game. Medina responded with 4 runs of their own and from that point on kept the game close. Medina scored runs constantly throughout the game where is Cordoba had 2 big innings (1st and last). Although this game was close throughout the entire 5 innings played (that’s right, this game was cut short due to time restrictions), this game was all about the swag of W K. He went 4 for 4 including 2 homeruns and 5 RBI’s on the night. W K put on a clinic of patience and he let a couple of pitches hit the plate without swinging his bat. And here guys were thinking this guy swings at everything, pshh… more on W K later. Bilal Javed and Umair Wasim did what they do best as they both picked up a HR each combining for 6 RBI’s and 7 for 8 at bat and on the other side we had a pair of dingers from Hamid Malik and Zane Sheikh. Cordoba was missing their captain Yusauf Chaudhry as he was seen with a wrapped sweater around his leg. Hopefully its nothing too serious and we wish Yusauf a full recovery in time for the playoffs, Inshallah. The rest of the squad did what they could to fill in for their injured captain as they kept Medina on their toes all game. Fast forward to the 5th and final inning where Cordoba put up 5 runs to take the lead by 4 going into the bottom. With 2 quick outs, Medina was looking to rally as Zane Sheikh stepped into a 2 run homer cutting the lead to 2. After a couple of batters got on base, W K stepped up with a chance to win the game. All he’d have to do is put it over the fence which we all know he loves to do. He obviously didn’t swing on the first pitch (cause he’s crazy patient like that) but when he swung on the second one, he made sure that ball was GONE! W K stepped up when it mattered most and got Medina the win they so desperately needed. CAN YOU SAY CLUTCH???  This win takes a bit of pressure off Medina while Cairo and Istanbul battle it out for that final spot. The playoff standings still aren’t set and in 2 games, I don’t have to tell you that anything can happen. With Super Thursday around the corner, everyone better be ready to roll. Cordoba may have fallen to Medina but they are still one of the toughest teams to beat. 

Medina 18- Cordoba 17

 

Istanbul vs Damascus

Game 1 this week pitted the top team in the league vs the bottom team in the league.  But don’t let the standings fool you, as both these clubs could put on fireworks on any given day or put up a dud.  With Istanbul fighting for their playoff lives, the team finally saw the most players they’ve had all year with 11 showing up.  The game started quickly with the first 4 Istanbul batters getting on base, while the bottom of the lineup cleaned up and ensured that the boys in red would finish the 1st inning with a 7 spot.  With all the momentum on their side and riding a high, as has been the case all year, the defense could not fully hold on to that lead and Damascus proved why they were the top team in the league, answering right away with a 6 spot of their own in the bottom of the 1st.  Damascus also showed how important veterans are, as GM Safwan Khan could not make the game (congrats on the new addition brother), but leaders Tanseer Khawaja, Akif Waheed and Ahmad Ammad ensure the team kept their composure, even after being mercied.
Unfortunately for Istanbul, the majority of their runs were capitalized in the 1st inning, as they kept the bats going to the tune of 22 hits in the game but could not muster many more runs.  The top 3 batters, Riyad Ramjaun, Umer Jabbar and Abdullah Akhter put up a combined line of 10/12, but when 3 batters make up almost half your hits as a team in a game, the rest of the lineup needs to cash them in.  On the flip side, Damascus kept their foot on the pedal, scoring in every inning (including a mercy inning in the 3rd) to end up with 21 runs on 18 hits.  The highlight for Damascus has been the bat of rookie Muzamil Mohammed who 3 weeks ago was batting .273 but has since figured it out and has risen his average by almost 100 points.  When this league started up, the hope was for veterans of softball and BSL to develop a new crop of players and see them improve, and 2019 has been amazing in this regard.
With only 2 games left on the slate, Damascus is now vying for that 1st overall seed and will play the bottom seed on super Thursday.  Meanwhile, Istanbul faces a do or die game on Tuesday against Cairo.  A win will set them up nicely for a playoff spot come super Thursday, while a loss will all but eliminate them.  Can the boys in red turn things around or is too little too late?  

 


BSLN Super Thursday Fantasy (2019)

With just 2 more weeks remaining in the regular season, we’re expecting some major fireworks as team’s get ready to make a final push in hopes of securing a playoff spot.

 

In anticipation of one of the most exciting races in BSLN history, we thought we’d spice things up even more and introduce a fantasy element to BSLN for the final 2 games of the regular season.  If this sounds like its up your alley and you think you’re the next great GM, then fill out the form below by clicking the link and get it back to us no later than 12pm on  Monday, September 2nd, 2019 and email transfer $15 to bslnights@gmail.comPlease set the password as "nights"

 

All proceeds from the BSLN Fantasy pool will go directly to supporting Naseeha Youth Hotline.

 

The winner will receive a BSL Nights sweater and a Q and A which will be posted on our website the following week. So, pick your friends, don’t pick your friends, choose teammates, it doesn’t matter.  With the playoff race going right down to the wire, you never know who’s going to step up.

 

Do you have what it takes to be the BSLN Fantasy champion??

 

If you’re interested in signing up:

  1. Pick your team at: https://forms.gle/M7mZn1m41ecyzTS26
  2. EMT $15 to bslnights@gmail.com

 

Scoring Breakdown:

BB:         1pt

1B:          2pts

2B:          3pts

3B:          4pts

HR:         5pts

RBI:        1pt

 

The leaderboard will be posted shortly after Super Thursday (prior to the start of playoffs).  Unfortunately, once selected, you cannot change your picks after your form has been submitted.  Also, we have not canvassed with the teams as to whether any of the players available will be missing games.

 

ENTRIES & PAYMENT MUST BE COMPLETED BY NOON ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2ND.  GOOD LUCK!!!


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 12 Recap

Istanbul vs Lahore

With only a few weeks left and the playoff race heating up, week 12 pitted a red hot Lahore team against an always dangerous Istanbul team.  Lahore came in to this week as one of the hottest teams and after going winless in their first 5, they have reeled off 3 wins in the last 4 games to put them back in the playoff picture.  On the flip side, Istanbul is coming off a game in which they missed out on beating Medina by a half a step at home, but still boasts one of the most dangerous lineups in BSLN.

Week 12 started off with Lahore’s GM Aftab Sheikh not able to make the game, so as usual, sub extraordinaire Hammad Afif was called in again.  Seems like week in and week out, Hammad plays for a different team.  Istanbul on the other hand came in with 11 out 12 guys (the most they’ve had all year in a given week) ready to play and ready to move up in the standings.  Unfortunately, several players called in with minutes until game time with family emergencies (we make duah that nothing was overly serious IA), and 11 quickly turned into 9 players.  To further add to Istanbul’s woes, AGM Riyad Ramjaun had to move out from the OF and emergency pitch, which left the OF and the IF scrambling to place players in positions unfortunately they hadn’t had much reps at, not to mention, thin out the OF to only 3 players.

The game started with Istanbul quickly putting up a couple of runs, but once Lahore came up and saw all the green with only 3 OF’s, they quickly turned on the pressure and mercied the boys in red in back to back innings to go up 14-2 off the backs of Hammad Afif and Shahid Saya both hitting big homeruns.  The onslaught did not stop there as after taking an inning off from scoring in the 3rd, Lahore put up another 6-spot in the 4th inning; every Lahore player put up a hit while all but 1 recorded an RBI.  If there ever was a time when an entire team took over, this was the game.  The shorthanded boys in red did the best they could, but with so much inconsistency on the defensive side, the team morale was already down and reflected on the offensive side, with the team gaining only 7 hits on the day and 5 runs.  After 5 innings, the game was mercifully called off, as those in attendance could see that Istanbul’s management were not a happy bunch and once again left to question what they could possibly do to turn things around.

With 3 games to go, Lahore seems to have figured things out.  More importantly, they seem to have found a diamond in the rough in Salman Ahmed.  Ahmed’s ability to pitch effectively, allowed them to add another big bat at the trade deadline and the team seems to be running on all cylinders.  Istanbul on the other hand can’t seem to piece things together.  One of the most talented teams on papers, issues like attendance could be the thing that ultimately decides their fate.  The decisive game for the men in red could come on the makeup day (September 3rd, 2019) against Cairo with a potential winner goes to the playoffs game.  Stay tuned as things are only heating up. 

 

Medina vs. Cairo

 

Our final game of the evening had some major implications as both teams are desperately trying to pick up a win in hopes of making the playoffs. Cairo is currently sitting in last place and a loss could really hurt their chances of making the playoffs. As for Medina, they’ve been struggling with their bats recently and have been dropping in the standings. They cant seem to wake their bats up and with the playoffs a couple of games away, things are getting too close for comfort. Let’s see how last nights game played out

 

Cairo went to bat first as the visiting team and put up 2 quick runs to starts the game off. Medina’s bats didn’t start off well as the opening period for them was quick but their outfield was on point tonight. Nothing got by Center fielders Zane Sheikh and Hamid Malik as they were nearly perfect on the night catching anything that came their way. Cairo on the flip side also had a fantastic day on defense as Captain Yasser Malik had some nice catches which really helped their team shift the momentum at times. This game was straight up a defensive battle as both teams were struggling to get some decent hits. Dr. Zia Beg put on a clinic ensuring Cairo’s top guys weren’t getting the pitches they wanted. His counter part, Miqdad Jaffer also had a great pitching game keeping Medina’s offense at bay. The only bat that seemed to be working on Medina’s side was that of Zane Sheikh who is also dealing with a back injury… for someone in that much pain, he shouldn’t have been the best player out there as he kept Medina in the game with his solid hitting. Lets fast forward this game to the bottom of the 7th where the game was tied at 4 a piece. Medina’s top came up but wasn’t able to win this game. The final play is one that Medina will remember for a long time. Bases juiced, winning run at 3rd, 1 out. All Hamid Malik had to do was hit a simple sac fly and Medina would’ve won. Instead he hit a grounder to Hot shot short stop Ali Chaudhry who is virtually automatic from there. He picked up the double play ending this game in a tie. Although Medina as a team didn’t bat well all game, Hamid Malik is hanging his head and takes the blame for this tie as he could’ve easily won this game for his team. After this tie, Medina still sits at 4th place and will look to turn their luck around against the highflying Cordoba. Cairo now barely occupies that 5th spot as Istanbul trails them by a run differential of just 2 runs. Playoffs are almost here and this race just keeps getting tighter and tighter. Look for Cairo to come out firing against a hot Lahore squad with their backs up against the wall. 2 games left, 1 team wont make it. who’s it gona be?? We’ll find out soon enough

 

 Summary of Main Stats:

 

Cairo

Ali Chaudhry – 3 / 4, 2 RBI’s

Yasser Malik – 2 / 4, RBI

Baseer Yasseen – 2 / 4, RBI

 

Medina

Zane Sheikh – 3 / 3, 3 Runs

Mo Kala – 3 / 4, RBI

Zahid Merchant – 2 / 4, RBI, 1 Run

 

 


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 11 Recap

Lahore vs. Cordoba

 

Lahore started this game off right by smashing a 3 run homer (Courtesy of Shamil Khadaroo), thanks to Bilal Javed’s rookie pitching ways. Cordoba can thank Hamza Waheed for those 3 runs as he strolled in late with samosa in hand.  Turns out he had to stop for fresh Samosa’s which delayed his arrival. Lahore using this momentum came out and shut Cordoba down in their first at bat. The very next inning Cordoba turned around and shut Lahore down and double wammied them with a mercy inning. Cordoba did most of its damage in the 2nd and 3rd inning combining for a 11 points which was already out of reach for Lahore. Still, they continued to scratch and claw while trying to keep their composure on defense. Lahore did have a chance at winning this game but their shaky defense lead to their demise as Lahore goes back to their losing ways. Lahore was excited to have Shahid Saya back as he contributed with 2 RBI’s. Salman Ahmad was fantastic on the mound as he struck out 3 players tonight and tried to keep the pressure on Cordoba. We caught up with Captain Lahore after the game who despite the loss was very proud of his teams performance. He thought they played hard and stayed in the game with the top team.   Cordoba did their damage without clearing the fence but their team had 7 doubles which definitely helped bring in some runs! Their game was overall solid with Chu continuing to make double plays at Short Stop. Cordoba’s defense has consistently improved every game which leads captain Yusauf Chaudhry to think they can start to take it easy in preparation for the playoffs. Codroba has been known to dominate the weaker teams but has had to go toe to toe with some of the better teams in the league. although they’ve been quite successful, all it takes is one mistake in the playoffs. Will Cordoba be the Cairo of this year and make a brief appearance in the playoffs or will they go on to write their own history and prove that they are the best team in the league? we’ll find out soon enough…

 

Summary of Main Stats:

 

Lahore

 

Aftab Sheikh – 3 / 4, 3R

Shamil Khadaroo – 1 / 2, HR, 3RBI’s

Shahid Saya – 1 / 3, 2 RBI’s

 

Cordoba

 

Saad Husnain – 2 / 3, HR, 3 RBI’s

Zaid Gansar – 3 / 3, RBI

Yusauf Chaudhry – 2 / 4, 2 RBI’s

 

Damascus at Cairo

In a rematch of week 1, where Cairo walked off against Damascus, these two teams reunited for an epic matchup in week 11.  Unlike the beginning of the season, now both teams have a sense as to where they stand, and what their weaknesses and opportunities are.  Since week 1, Cairo has battled (to their credit), facing adversity through injuries and players missing, finiding themselves at the bottom of the standings.  Damascus has been playing like the second best team in Nights all season, having only yielded two losses (one being to Cairo).

Before the game started, players on both sides were seen warming up.  Especially Cairo, who took the adjacent baseball field to practice some fielding and hitting - they looked determined to win this one.  It seemed to work, as they toook the lead after the first inning 3-2.  After that it was downhill, as Damascus put a 7 spot up in the second and never trailed after that.  

It's been a recurring theme for the Egyptians from Cairo, and in the words of its GM Yasser Malik, Cairo has been a work in progress all year around.  Outside of the top 4 hitters, Cairo did not manage to get much production from the brothers in the middle and bottom of the lineup.  Defensively, the team had a combined 7 errors which is a recipe for disaster.  Despite the lack of hitting and defensive, it was a great effort that Cairo should be proud of.  Although the outcome was not what Cairo had in mind, this writer believes Cairo is trending upwards because brothers are consistently coming out and putting up a good effort (except for Miqdad who showed up just in time for his first at-bat - j/k Miq, the writers adore you). As three weeks remain in the season, does Cairo have enough time to figure things out?  Rumour has it that Cairo is securing various fields in the Peel region to hold day/night practices 

Damascus played well enough to get the victory in this one, though Cairo made it easy for them by committing 7 errors.  Damascus may think they are championship material, but they have had one of the easier schedules this year, as they face league leading Cordoba twice more, in the last three weeks of the season.  Call it luck or skill, or a bit of both, Damascus finds itself sitting pretty in second position.  In this game, Ahmad Ammad kept doing Ahmad Ammad things, clubbing another two homer game.  Unfortunately he went only 2/4 and saw his average drop to a disappointing .830 - he will need to pick up the slack for next game.  Surprisingly, out of no where, Neal Irfan has shown immense power this year... rumour has it that he has enrolled in Ammad's patented workout regime and it looks to be working.  While the hitting was decent for Damascus in this game, the writing group believes Damascus is at where they are because of the super play of none other than Tanseer Khawaja, who has recovered from his left shoulder strain, to put a strain into the rest of the league with his pitching and hitting.  Damascus continues to roll on, but faces a tough test in week 12 as it squares off against Cordoba, who will look to avenge it's earlier loss to Damascus.  Will Damascus continue to get lucky or will reality finally settle them back to Earth? 

Cairo Pros 
- Awais Malik made some brilliant catches in RF. 
- Ali Chaudhry with two XBH including a HR
- Baseer Yasseen continues getting on base by getting hit after hit... he had 3 in this one
- Jav Ahmed one of the most versatile players in our league he can pitch, play outfield and can hit, despite not getting any hits this game
- Abdu Shark looking healthy
- Bilal Khan getting that 2018 confidence back, in which made him a .500 hitter
- Adnan Yusuf went perfect 3/3 with two doubles in his BSL Nights debut as a regular   

Damascus Pros 
- Talal Hayat produced three clutch hits... he may be one of the best bottom hitters in our league
- Neal Irfan has a smoking hot bat
- Akif Waheed is a great role player, going 3/5
- Hatf Sohail been balling since the trade
- Defense was decent in this one, but if they faced a team with a calibre like Cordoba then it's a different story

 

Medina vs Istanbul

After a 2-week layoff, Istanbul entered this week looking to add to their point total and try to secure a playoff spot with the season coming to an end very shortly.  Unfortunately, things started off rocky with as many as 5 Istanbul players calling in not being able to make the game, including GM Zain Malik.  But with a bit of luck, the men in red got back one of their best players, as Rameez Siddiqi was able to make the game last minute.  Meanwhile, on the flip side, Medina almost boasted an entire team if it weren’t for a last-minute issue at the airport causing Ismail Akhtar to be delayed on his flight.  Rumor has it, his younger brother Abdullah, called in an extra security search on Ismail to ensure he missed the game.

 

As is the case in most of their games played, the game quickly got out of hand from Istanbul early on.  Medina quickly scored 2 runs in the 1st inning and added another 5 spot in the 2nd to push their lead to 7, coming from a monster home run by WK.  with their backs against the wall, Istanbul responded with their own big bats and put up 9 straight to go up by 2, courtesy of Istanbul’s week 11 hero, Saoud Ramjaun, who finally broke out of his slump, and went down the line for a 2 RBI double.  The highlight of his hit though came shortly afterwards while standing on 2nd, when you could hear Istanbul’s dugout breaking out in one of the best team chants in BSLN history: “SOOD SOOD SOOD SOOD SOOD”, chants could be heard all the way to the parking lot, and it was this type of energy that Istanbul would rely on for the rest of the game.  Saoud was also very instrumental in the field, making plays at 2nd including a key tag on a player stretching a single to a double.

 

With their lead evaporated, Medina’s bottom order decided it was their turn to step up, and with runners in scoring position, with 2 outs, Abdul Butt knocked a double right to the fence, bringing 2 runs in and closing the gap, while Hannan Uppal had himself a solid day at the plate going 2/3 and a key RBI.  With Medina up 11-9, GM Mo Kala could be heard shouting to his team to preserve the lead, while Zahid Merchant was playing stellar defense all day at SS to ensure they were going home with a win.  With Istanbul being all pumped, they slowly chipped away 2 more runs and with the game tied, found themselves in the envious position of having home field.  In the bottom of the 7th, with 1 out and Fuzail Thakur sitting on 2nd base (winning run), Arif Iqbal came up to bat, and with 1 swing of the bat, he was able to find the gap between OF’s.  The entire Istanbul team were jumping up and down, calling for Fuzzy to come home, but unfortunately, as he was rounding 3rd base, his foot got caught and stumbled ever so slightly.  With that stumble, Medina’s SS Zahid, was able to gun him out at home by half a step.  All was not lost, as Istanbul still had a shot with a man on 3rd and 2 outs, but a slow grounder ended the game at 11’s, giving both teams a much needed and much earned point on the night.

With no further bye weeks, and 3 games to go, both Medina and Istanbul are fighting to remain in a playoff spot with only 2 points separating these 2 and 2 more teams for the final 3 spots.  Medina solved an issue by trading for a full-time pitcher in Zia “Doc” Beg, but did they give up too big a bat in the process?  As for Istanbul, the main issue has been attendance.  With GM Zain still missing a few weeks, can AGM Riyad Ramjaun rally the troupes that show up in time to secure that playoff spot?  Only a few weeks left and still too many questions remain for both these teams but gaining that 1 important point was extremely valuable to both clubs.  Final score: Istanbul 11 – 11 Medina.

 

 

Summary of Main Stats:

 

Medina

WK:  2/4 – 1 HR – 3 RBI’s

Abdul Butt: 2/3, 2B, 2 RBI’s

Hannan Uppal: 2/3, 1 RBI

 

Istanbul

Fuzail Thakur: 4/4, 1 RBI

Tamour Sheikh: 3/4, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s

Saoud Ramjaun: 2/4, 2B, 2 RBI’s 

 


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 10 Recap

 

 Medina vs Damascus

 

Medina was well rested coming off a bye as they visited the high flying Damascus squad. Medina had as close to a full team as they could get (Minus 1 no show and 1 newly married Zane Sheikh which is like half a person) and were looking to start a run.  It was almost impossible to recognize Zane Sheikh as he packed on some healthy pounds (Mashallah, sign of a happy marriage) but don’t worry, he shaved off his facial hair to balance it out so all is good… Especially after that first strike out where he tweaked his back by just picking up the bat. Where is the week 1 Zane Sheikh that put the league on notice??

As the home team, Damascus took the field while Medina got set to put up some runs. Unfortunately their bats started off kind of flat as the top of the order didn’t bat well enough to start the game as they only scored 1 run and left 2 players on the bags. No worries as Medina shut Damascus down in the very next inning highlighted by newly acquired Zia “Doc” Beg striking out a frustrated Ahmed Ammad (sorry guy, had to mention it). Medina went back on the attack and put up a massive 1 run which obviously didn’t hold up against a team like Damascus. They simply came out and fired on all cylinders, placing the ball over the outfielders heads more times then we can count, ending that inning in a 7 run beat down. The outfield was extremely tough to handle as the winds were constantly changing the direction of the ball. Many outfielders had to dive to make simple catches as the ball would drop well before its original projection. Ahmed Ammad and Safwan Khan had a couple of nice grabs as Safwan dove ahead and caught a line drive from Hamid Malik which really had no business being caught. Crazy fumbled a very routine catch as it popped out of his glove but with his cat like reflexes he quickly snatched it in the air preventing the ball from touching the ground, ending the inning in disappointment for Medina. The rest of the game was quiet for Medina as they only managed to muster up another 5 runs. The bottom of the lineup played well for Medina as Atif Parvaiz had 2 massive doubles bringing in an RBI and Abdul “Big” Butt went 3 for 3 smoking one over Crazy’s head for a deep shot in CF. If the Butt man was quicker, he would’ve bolted to 3rd but he was more than happy to just get on base as the top of the lineup came up. Atif and Butt went 5 for 5 in this game. Excellent work boys! Mazamil Mohammad batted well as he put one over everyone’s head for a double and 3 RBI’s.  Captain Safwan Khan has done a great job throughout the year as a first time GM, keeping his team spiritis high and finding ways to win games. Great work by everyone on Damascus for stepping up when it mattered most.

As for Medina, they keeps dropping games and have yet to figure out their identity. With 4 games remaining, they’re starting to feel the pressure as there are 4 other teams desperately trying to make the playoffs. Any team can be left out of the playoffs and if Medina keeps up their sloppy play, it could be them. Time to light a fire under team Medina’s you know what’s because if they don’t wake up soon, this could be the beginning of the end.   Damascus 13 - Medina 7

 

Summary of main stats:

 Medina

Abdul Butt – 3 / 3, 2 Runs

Atif Parvaiz – 2 / 2, BB, 2 2B, RBI

Ismail Akhter – 2 / 4, 2 RBI’s

 

 Damascus

Ahmed Ammad – 3 / 4, 3 RBI’s

Tanseer Khawaja – 2 / 2, 1 run, 1 RBI

Muzamil Mohammed – 1 / 3, 3 RBI’s

 

Damascas vs. Cordoba

In what can be perceived as a potential play-off matchup, the Syrians of Damascus visited the Spaniards (before inquisition) of Cordoba.  After 9 weeks into the season, undoubtedbly, Cordoba has looked like the elite team of BSL meanwhile Damascus, has surprised turned a few heads with their play, albeit they've had the easiest schedule according to some critics.  The first matchup between these two teams was a tested battle, head over to our youtube page to check out the film.

In a surprising outcome, the underdog Damascus came out ahead in this tightly contested battle.  Cordoba took its first defeat of the season, but still maintain their top spot in the standing, with Damascus now trailing them by only two points.  Notable missing players from Cordoba was Khawar "Jun" Anwar and Kamil Siddiqui, and Zaki Bhatti from Damascus.

Great fielding and hitting were observed throughout the game, by both teams.  First, Damascus jumped out to a 9-3 lead, after three innings.  Getting out to a fast start was key, according to GM of Damascus.  As the game wore on, and Damascus clearly looking fatigued from its back2back, Cordoba began to cut into the deficit.  In the last three innings, Cordoba outscored Damascus by a score of 8 to 3, but that was not enough as Damascus went on to win by a score of 14-11.

Offensively, Ahmad Ammad continued his MVP campaign by slugging two homers against his former team.  His teammates supported him well, kudos goes to Akif Waheed and Shane Worthington for their two way play.  Abdul 'Sunny' Murad's excellent play at SS certainly contributed to this positive outcome, and if he can continue this play, then that allows Safwan Khan to go in the outfield, boosting the defensive legitimacy of arguably one of the best defensive teams so far.

Cordoba will be kicking themselves for getting off to such a sluggish start.  If the game went on a little longer, they should feel as though they had the momentum to win the game.  Bilal Javed did all that he could do by going four for four and that's why he leads the league in hitting.  GM Yousaf Chu will look to improve upon his offensive performance the next time these two teams meet. 

Not to be outdone, this matchup featured the number 1 and 2 pitching matchup.  According to his social media followers, who easily dubbed him the best pitcher in Nights, Hamza Waheed had a semi-off day, but still had the secret sauce to keep his team in it.  Had it been anyone other than Tans "Robocop" Bhai at the mound for the opposing team, Waheed may have had a chance to get that 'W'.  But Robocop, at least on this occasion, made a case as to why the debate should carry on.  It's anyone's guess who will be the BSL Nights Pitcher of the Year, but at this point, based on records and ERA, these two could go neck and neck for the remainder of the year. 

Damascas Pros 
- Outfield got better, but still some routine catches are being dropped.  Boys got to clean up not missing the easy catches.  This team makes impressive defensive plays (catches, ground balls)
- All around hitting, 8 RBIs from Shane and Ahmad. Akif continues to have great OBP.  Hatf Sohail been balling after the trade.  Muzamil with his first career multiple hit game
- Prior to this game, Cordoba was averaging 20/21 runs per game, but Tans Bhai, backed by his defense, held Cordoba to its lowest runs produced all year

Damascas Opportunities
- This writer is redacting Cordoba opportunities for competitive reasons

Cordoba Pros
- Great all around hitting, 7 players with multiple hits.  Suleman Mann had a monster Opposite field HR that made it to the other side of Bloor St.
- Defensive was above average.  If some of the plays in the infield right side can get cleaned up, then Cordoba would hav easily won.  Khuram Channa is making a case for Gold Glove in the OF.
- Despite the loss, the boys should remain positive, and still believe that the championship is theirs to lose

Cordoba Opportunites
- This writer is redacting Cordoba opportunities for competitive reasons

 

Cairo vs Cordoba

 

Coming off their first loss, the guys were feeling a bit upset as they almost closed the gap against Damascus but ran out of time. They decided to take that momentum they gained in the last 3 innings against Damascus and carried it forward against a last place Cairo Squad. Cordoba started this game off by mercying Cairo and kept their foot on the gas the entire way ending this game early due to the 15 run mercy rule. Cairo showed some signs of life… after the game when they were seen walking back to their cars. This was probably Cairo’s worse game as they only strung together 9 hits and barely managed 2 runs on a Nirvaan Latif (Sub) Homerun. He would have the solo highlight on Cairo’s side. Cordoba however was full or fun highlights. Bilal Javed had 2 Homers with Yusauf Chaudhry and Faisal Shamshad bringing home 1 dinger each combining for a total of 10 RBI’s. Faisal ended the game with a 3 run Homer as his smash put Cordoba up by 16, ending Cairo’s night early.

On the defensive end, Saad Husnain displayed some great reflexes as he made an incredible diving catch while Captain Chu locked it down at SS in 2 consecutive games. Seems like Cordoba is cruising to the finish line while 4 teams continue to battle it out hoping to make the playoffs, Cairo being one of them. Cairo seems to be hanging in there but with the recent emergence of Lahore, Istanbul’s big bats and Medina finally at full strength, the race wont get any easier. Most of the season is behind us and a lot of teams are starting to figure out what their teams are made of. The time to make the final push is now. Will Cairo be able to string together a few wins while staving off other playoff hungry teams or is this the beginning to their demise? Things don’t get much easier for them as they have a date with the red hot Damascus.

 

Summary of main stats:

Cordoba

Bilal Javed – 2 / 3, 2 HR, 4 RBI’s

Yusauf Chaudhry – 4 / 3, HR, 1 RBI

Faisal Shamshad – 2 / 4, HR 4 RBI’s,

 

Cairo

Nirvaan Latif – 2 / 2, HR, 2 RBI’s

Jav Ahmed – 1 / 2, 1 run

Miqdad Jaffer - 2 / 3,

 

 

 


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 9 Recap

Istanbul vs. Cairo

To begin week 9, The almighty mighty Egyptians of Cairo battled the Turks of Istanbul to a 17-17 tie.  A visibally perturbed Zain Malik was seen exiting the park knowing that he and his team let one slip away.  That's because Istanbul's nine run lead vanished away, into the sahara desert, where Cairo found its magic by managing to score ten runs in the last two innings of play.  Given how hard its been to accumulate points in Nights, GM Yasser Malik of Cairo must be thrilled with this outcome.  Moreover, several of the Cairoians found their bats.  Notably, Ali Chaudhry continued his desert storm on opposing pitchers and defenses (just check the stats).  It's just a matter of time before he gets called up to the big leagues for real this time. Istanbul certainly matched with their big bats, mister T. Sheikh and R. Siddiqi drove in twelve of the nineteen runs of Istanbul.  Looks like they can use some support.  According to this writer, Istanbul is as feared as any team in this league... offensively speaking.   Cairo, missing its premier pitcher, will certainly take this tie and move onto the next game.  These two teams will face off again in Week 14, where Istanbul will look to avenge a missed opportunity and Cairo will look to maintain its grip on the playoffs.

Istanbul Pros
-T. Sheikh blasting two homers

Istanbul Opportunities
-Now sitting outside the playoff picture, the big boys in Red should maintain self-confidence because of the BSL veteran experience that many of its players hold. There's still 7-8 games remaining for Istanbul to rebound.  But it will need to play loose and relaxed so that the environment is relaxed.  Wins should come in no time 
- OF play deep to cut off the XBH

Cairo Pros
- Yasser Malik starting to get on base, scoring runs.
- A. Chaudhry making strong case for back2back, but will need to translate his production to team victories
- 19 hits as a team, 10 XBH

Cairo Opportunities
- This writer is redacting Cairo Opportunities for competitive purposes

Cairo vs. Lahore 
Fresh after feeling about as good as you can after a tie, Cairo took on the fiery and rejuvenated men of Lahore.  In this game Cairo found it equally challenging to score runs. Their top three hitters were excellent, however, last time that we checked, softball is a team sport.  Nevertheless Cairo somehow managed to score 7 runs in the top of the 7th to tie the game, that they had no business being in.  If Cairo believes it will return to the playoffs as a serious threat, then it will have to begin seizing opportunites to score runs instead of wasting runners in scoring position.

From the beginning of the game, the energy stemming from the Lahorian bench was that like non other before.  The positive mist was felt all the way towards the 3rd row in the bleachers.  Today was the day that Lahore laid off the aloo parathas and came with their A games.  A fresh attitude coupled with a risky, but necessary move by the madcap GM Aftab Sheikh whose hard wired negotiating tactics landed Lahore the very talented Farooq Sani.  Not without a high price, the cost was, premier pitcher, Zia Beg.  Sani, had the game of his life, going 4/4, and belting his first BSL Nights homer.  A couple days after being traded, he leads his team to a much needed victory.  On another note, Salman Ahmad picked up another victory, to start an amazing run to his pitching career.  

Cairo Pros
- Scoring 7 runs to tie the game shows heart, grit and resilience.  This team can make strong run in the playoffs because of these characteristics.  While they fell just short this time around, no need to keep your heads down fellas.

Cairo Opportunities
- Errors...five in a game won't get the job done.

Lahore Pros
- Salman and Sani
- Mohammed Al-Sukhni having a low key good year.  Most improved player?
- Aftab Khan looks like a steal from the draft... The GM is considering putting Khan on waivers so that the GM proclaims his status as the best Aftab, bar none, on the team.
- Amir Khalil doing his job in the leadoff position

Lahore Opportunities
- Momentum, keep it up.
 


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 8 Recap

Lahore vs Medina

 

Both teams came into this game thirsty for a win. Lahore was missing GM Aftab Sheikh but captain Mo “Kala Jadoo” was present and was extremely stressed out. He was heard telling his team that if they don’t start taking things seriously, they were going on the trading block. Perhaps that was a way to get his team fired up or maybe he was serious. Regardless, both teams came to play and put on a show. Medina started off by putting up 3 runs in the opening inning then Lahore responded by mercying Medina showing them “this aint no walk in the park, we came to play!”.  Medina then responded with another 6 runs. Both teams were hitting well, finding the gaps. Every time Medina thought they had an advantage, Lahore would respond with a strong inning keeping this game as close as possible. Going into the top of the 7th, Medina was down by 2 with the bottom of their lineup coming up. With 2 outs and the tying run at 1st base, Zahid Merchant smashed one into RF which looked like it was gona sail over Amir “I’m too cool to wear my jersey” Khalil who reached up and made the game ending catch and with it, ending Lahore’s dry spell. Congratulations to Lahore for getting on the board. They played a fantastic game and were able to close this game out the way they should’ve been doing all season long. Lahore’s got some life and if they can go on a run, teams fighting for a playoff spot will be in trouble. 6 teams, 5 playoff spots, everyone’s got the same goal. Sit tight, this playoff race just got interesting.

 

 Summary of main stats:

Lahore

Khizer Channa – 4 / 4, 3 RBI’s

Shamil Khadaroo – 3 / 4, 2B, 2 RBI’s

Amir Khalil – 3 / 4, 2 2B, 2 RBI’s

 Medina

W K – 4 / 4, HR, 2B, 5 RBI’s

Hammad Afif – 4 / 4, HR, 3 RBI’s

Ismail Akhtar – 2 / 3, HR, 2 RBI’s

Zahid Merchant – 3 / 5, 2 2B

 

 

Istanbul vs Medina

After a frustrating loss to Lahore, Medina was frustrated but kept their composure thanks to the leadership of guys like Zahid Merchant and… I think just Zahid. Istanbul was ready to pounce on the wounded Medina and came into this game ready to play. Medina batted first and got off to a great start Mercying Istanbul. After 2 innings Medina was enjoying a 10 point lead when Istanbul’s bats finally woke up and started spraying the field bringing in a mercy inning of their own. Medina was getting a bit frustrated but the veteran players took the lead and made the right plays ensuring there was always a decent lead. Atif had a great day at the plate as one of his highlights was striking out a post vacation Zain “I thought that pitch was illegal” Malik catching a nap at the plate. We caught up to him for a comment later on. He said that he was afraid of hitting the ball, because his older brother would catch it anyway.  Truer words have never been spoken. Going into the top of the 7th, Medina rallied after being down to 2 outs brining in 6 runs in that inning courtesy of big hits from Hamid Malik and Zahid Merchant both hitting doubles in the final frame. With a 10 point cushion there was no way Medina was gona give up this game… so they thought. Istanbul continued to chip away in this open inning thanks to some nice hits from Zayd Ramjaun, Zain Malik and Abdullah Akhtar. Medina did all they could to contain their attack as Istanbul continued to push. At the end of the day a 10 point deficit in the final frame proved to be too large a lead as Medina closed out this game. Like last year, Medina was projected to be one of the best teams but had a very mediocre regular season. They did however turn it up in the playoffs and ended up bringing home the grand prize. This year has started off slow for them but it goes without saying that these guys are a powerhouse and when they start rolling, they will be very hard to stop. Istanbul on the other hand also has some impressive talent and probably has the best power bats in the league. Can they continue to play well behind the leadership of Zain Malik and Riyad Ramjaun? We’ll find out as they take on the Cordoba next.

 Summary of main stats:

Medina

Zahid Merchant – 4 / 5, 4 2B, 3 RBI’s

Hamid Malik – 3 / 5, 2B, 3 RBI’s

Hammad Afif – 3 / 5, HR, 3 RBI’s

 Istanbul

Umer Jabbar – 3 / 3, HR, 2 RBI’s

Rameez Siddiqi – 3 / 4, HR, 3 RBI’s

Abdullah Akhtar – 2 / 3, HR, 2 RBI’s

 

Istanbul vs Cordoba

 

Istanbul coming fresh off a loss to Medina were hoping to get their bats flowing early as Cordoba has no issues scoring in bunches. Once you fall behind to these guys, its tough to make your way back. Speaking of which, Cordoba decided to blow this game wide open in the first 2 innings, to a score of 13 – 1. 3rd inning Istanbul started to pick it up scoring 5 runs, rallying after 2 outs. Unfortunately, Cordoba also scored 5 runs that inning. Istanbul came out and scored 6 more but Cordoba 1 uped them and mercied them. it didn’t matter what Istanbul did, Cordoba did it better and louder. At one point fans were out here chirping Ahmed Butt hoping to get in his head but he wasn’t having any of that as he very calmly smashed the ball ran to 1st while waving to his adoring fans.  Yusauf Chaudhry has been on a tear as went 4 / 4 at bat with 2 homers and 8 RBI’s. talk about leading your team by example. There isn’t much more to report in this game as no runs were scored by either team after the 4th inning. This one was still a blowout as Cordoba took care of business, doubling up on Istanbul sending em to the locker room with much to ponder about. Istanbul had a rough day as they dropped both of their games but that doesn’t mean they’re down and out yet. They’ll have to pick up the pace if they want a chance at making the playoffs as Lahore is hot on their tail after that win against Medina. As for Cordoba, they can put their feet up and cruise to the playoffs if they wanted to. They have yet to lose a game and have a massive lead in the standings. Can they continue their dominance as we inch closer to the post season?

 Summary of main stats:

Cordoba

Yusauf Chaudhry – 4 / 4, 2 HR, 8 RBI’s

Bilal Javed – 3 / 3, HR, 4 RBI’s

Zaid Ghansar – 4 / 4, 2B, 3 RBI’s

 Istanbul

Tamour Sheikh – 2 / 4, 2 2B, 3 RBI’s

Abduallah Akhtar – 2 / 3, 2 2B, 2 RBI’s

Rameez Siddiqi – 2 / 3, 2 2B, 2 RBI’s


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 7 Recap

Medina vs. Cairo

Week 7 started off with a short-handed Cairo team facing off against pre-season favourite, Medina, who also were missing several players.  On this blistering hot day, which saw temperature go to the mid 30s, both teams were battling against not only each other but also mother nature.  Just like the weather, Cairo started off hot and maintained the temperature throughout the game, scoring 3 or more runs in its first four innings, meanwhile Medina only managed 2 in the same time frame.  That folks is a recipe to get mercied, which is what happened here, as Cairo slapped Medina 20-5.

Medina must ask itself how it failed to score in the first three innings.  By achieving only 1 xbh the entire game, credit does go to Cairo, but also Medina must ask itself several questions.  Is the batting lineup setup to achieve optimal results?  Ismail Akhtar certainly doing all that he can by going 3/3 (he seems to have made adjustments and now the league is feeling his offensive wrath).  However, the bottom only batted .250. The mediocre team performance should force GM Moh Kala to re-evaluate aspects of his team that need upgrading.  According to the GM, no one is safe if a shakeup happens. While it's not the first time we have seen a mercy in this league, Medina now has looked shaky in its last couple games.  The committee believes the team will figure out the recent challenges because of the leadership qualities that several of its players possess.  With a couple bps or defensive practices, Medina is expected to come back strong.  In the meantime, after seven weeks into the season, Medina finds itself in the middle of the pack, which is not where the BSL pundits predicted Medina would be.

On the other hand, Cairo gained a much needed victory, in convincing fashion.  This is exactly what Cairo required as they looked excellent both offensively and defensively.  First, offensively, Cairo may have the most dangerous 1-2-3 hitters.  In this game Basser, Miqdad and reigning MVP, Ali went combined 12/14, which is amazing!  Ali alone had 10 RBIs, thanks in large part to the aforementioned two players getting on base 90% of the time will do that.  But credit also goes to Ali finding his power, and the league should take notice to that.  Also, shout-out Hassaan Khan who had three hits and if he begins to get going then Cairo is looking like the dangerous team of 2018 all over again.  While offensively they were clicking, Yasser Malik (who could not make the games due to work) must be proud of his team's defensive performance.  Giving up only five runs will make Cairo brothers confident that they can regain the defensive form that propelled them to be so dominant last year.

Medina Pros

- As per its GM, there were no pros

Medina Opportunities

- Should not be down on themselves, as Cairo fielded its seven best players, in terms of average, and grabbed two good subs.  As result, Cairo top batters had five to six plate appearances.  Defensively, the right side of the field requires improvements.  They were missing Hamid Malik, who is one of the best OFs in our league, so that caused a defensive gap.

Cairo Pros

- Offense: Solid consistent hitting as the team batted .650 percent, which is outstanding. Several stand-out batting performances.  Miqdad is tearing the league apart with his hitting.  Ali finding his swagger like it's 2018.  Baseer may be the best lead-off hitter.  Hassaan Khan beginning to find his groove.

- Defense: Allowed only one xbh all night long.  Outstanding pitching performance by super utility man Jav Ahmed.  When .875 percent of batters find themselves 0-1 in the count, it puts hitters in a difficult position, so kudos to Jav for hitting those first pitch strikes.

Cairo Opportunities

- Look to continue momentum from this game into its upcoming games.  Opponents should take notice that Cairo is coming after a strong performance against a respectable foe like Medina.  

 

Cairo vs. Damascus

Fresh off a dominating victory, Cairo looked poised to take on host Damascus.  Though a tight game throughout, Damascus never looked back, leading through the whole game.  This match saw 46 hits in total.  This number can be attributed to two facts - 1. Cairo only had 3 in the OF, so Damascus had ample targets. 2. Cairo had an 8 man batting lineup, which resulted in 5 to 6 abs for some of our leagues top notch hitters.

While Cairo was missing 6 players in total, they were able to field their 8 best hitters, putting non-stop pressure on Damascus defense, as they had seven xbh, with one of them going outside the fence for a home run.  Everyone had a hit, and all but one had multiple hits.  When he returns, GM Yasser Malik has plenty to be optimistic about, as the team looks to be trending upwards.  Notably, he brings defensive awareness, which seems to be where the team needs to get better at. 

On the contrary, Damascus was full squad, twelve deep against Cairo.  Batters knew they were not going to get more than three to four plate opportunities, so they had to make the most with what little they got. Notably, Akif Waheed did not record a single out, reaching on base four consecutive times.  Imran Qureshi had his first HR of the season.  Ahmad Ammad had 7 RBIs and 4 runs scored - he seems to be doing everything offensively possible.  Shane Worthington continues to protect Ammad in the lineup as well. 

Cairo Pros

- Team hitting, despite loss had more hits than opponent suggesting base runners were left on-base, so look to improve H/RISP

- The pitching change slowed down opponent, look to see Miqdad carry the momentum towards second half of season

Cairo Opportunities

- With this loss, they sit tied with two other teams, having earned 4 points out of five games. Having given up the most runs in the league, Cairo needs to identify who its main defensive players are and where they will be positioned as we enter the second half of the season

Damascus Pros

- Team hitting as nine players had multiple hit games.  Good mix of power, walks, xbh and singles

Damascus Opportunities

- Base running, on several plays, players could have taken an extra base, but chose not to, therefore the runners are risk averse

- Outfield Infield communication gap resulting in runners taking extra bases.  

 

Istanbul vs. Damascus

The last game of the night featured Istanbul visiting Damascus.  This marked the second time these two teams have met, with Damascus winning the first battle.  In this rematch, Damascus once again came out as the victors topping Istanbul by a score of 14-2.  This was a fiesty matchup, as players from both sides were chirping one another, testing the boundaries of what is considered brotherhood.  The league encourages fun trash talking, but if teams begins to get emotional, which can lead to anger, then we will have to issue warnings to both teams and players involved.

Back to the game - Istanbul, despite losing this one, moved up in the standings, due to run difference.  As result, they are 3rd place, which is within striking distance to overtake Cordoba or Damascus.  However, Istanbul must look within to figure out some internal challenges that is preventing them from taking the leap from mid-tier to top-tier.  Offensively, two runs will never win you any games in BSL Nights.  Observers pointed out that Istanbul either goes big or goes home, meaning either a Home Run or an out.  While we are all infactuated with the long-ball, Istanbul would fare much better if it strings together base hits rather than look for the big hit.  Moreover, the batters seem to be patient as they managed to get three walks from a pitcher that usually does not let up more than one per game.  While we encourage being patient, we suggest Istanbul look to swing the bats to get their confidence higher.  On the other hand, defensively Istanbul had few head scratching errors, especially in the OF with soft fly balls.  If they want to go far in this league, they should find help in the OF either through player development or trade. 

After an impressive performance against Istanbul, Damascus is sitting solely in second place.  The team seems to have figured out its batting lineup as the hits are spread out evenly, though the bottom of the lineup will need to go better than 1/8 in future games.  However, when the top performs this way, then it reduces the pressure off the bottom.  Ahmad Ammad is definitely strengthing his case for MVP, carrying the team offensively by himself.  We don't think anyone one man is more important to his team than Ammad is to Damascus.  Defensively, Damascus now has allowed league low in Runs scored against, though we would argue that the team has yet to be tested because they have not faced off against the best teams in the league.  Next week Damascus is on a bye and then will return to face Lahore in Week 9.

Istanbul Pros

- Despite only getting two runs, they may have the most powerful team in the league as six guys legitimately can hit for the long-ball

- Decent pitching performance by Fuzzy, who is establishing himself as a great pitcher/batter in Nights

- Ahmed Qureshi had 100% on-base percentage 

Istanbul Opportunities

- Spread the power/hitting throughout the lineup.  The team seems top heavy and could use a boost towards its bottom half.

- Missing their GM, so getting back Zain M should bring not only more hitting but also composure to the squad

Damascus Pros

- Superior pitching performance again by Tanseer K.  Allowing only two runs by way of 7 hits is as good as it gets.

- Ahmad Ammad, 8 RBIs and 3 Hrs, one of the greatest individual performances in one game in BSL history.  Tanseer K also went 3/3

- Damascus defense still making errors, three in this game, but allowed only one XBH, which is phenomenal

Damascus Opportunities

- Winning both games of a double header may mean confidence is at an all-time high.  It is important to stay grounded, given that Damascus has yet to face off against either Medina or Cordoba. So the team is winning against teams it should beat, but the real test remains, and we hope that Damascus comes out strong against the top teams in our league  


Weekly Commentary

The week 6 commentary has been delayed due to a scheduling conflict among members of the writing committee.

Some community members have voiced displeasure with the lack of consistency in publishing the commentary.  As a result, in an effort to bring you the best and consistent commentary experience, we are undergoing few changes.  

Week 6&7 commentary will be posted shortly, and good luck to you on Week 8.

---------

BSL Nights Writing Committee 


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 6 Recap

Istanbul vs Lahore

The first game of our evening features 2 teams desperatly in need to get some wins on the baord. Istanbul started off this game playing from behind as the green machine jumped ahead for the first time this year to the tune of 4-1. Looking to build on this lead, Lahore kept the pressure on istanbul as captain Aftab Sheikh hit a homerun to RF and held it down in the OF making a nice over the head grab which turned into a double play. Shortly after, Istanbul's bats came to life as Rameez Siddiqi and Fuzail Takhur hit 2 homers each combining for 10 RBI's. They mercied Lahore in the 3rd inning bringing the game to a tie. Lahore would get 4 more runs in the 4th inning but that would be all. Fast forward to the final inning where Istanbul was up by 1 and put up a massive 6 runs to bring the score to 18 - 11. Lahore had a chance to put up some runs in the open inning but were quickly neutralized by Istanbul handing them yet another frustrating loss. Lahore did a good job jumping ahead in this one but failed to contain Istanbuls attack as they let another one slip away. Lahore's sub Hummad Afif helped Lahore fill a position at 3rd place and did an excellent job batting 3/4 plus 1 HR.

Summary of main stats:

 

Istanbul

 

Rameez Siddiqi: 2 / 3, 2 HR, 4 RBI’s

Fuzail Thakur: 2 / 3, 2 HR, 6 RBI’s

Tamour Sheikh: 4 / 4, HR, 2 RBI’s

Umer Jabbar: 1 / 1, 3 RBI’s

 

Lahore

 

Salim Jaichi: 3 / 4, HR, 5 RBI’s

Hammad Afif: 3 / 4, HR, RBI

Mohammed Al-Sukhni: 3 / 4, 2B, 2 RBI’s

Aftab Sheikh: 3 / 4, HR, 2 RBI’s


Lahore vs Cordoba

Lahore coming off a tough loss were looking to carry whatever little positivity they could for the game against Cardoba.  Unfortanately Lahores story was a short one on this night as they put up a cringeworthy 4 runs on 10 hits. They showed some life to start this game as they put up 3 runs. Cardoba on the other hand did what they've been doing all season long and used this game as a warmup againat their upcoming match with Medina. Bilal Javed hit another one out of the park bringing in 2 RBI’s but for the most part, everyone on Cordoba batted well. 
This game was so bad for Lahore that their sub Hummaad Afif had 30% of their hits (3 out the 10 recorded hits) and now leads lahore in multiple offensive categories. Don’t believe me? go ahead and check out Lahore’s team page. In an attempt to turn things around, Lahore may want to exercise some patience at the plate as they have the lowest number of walks this year.
If anybody is looking for a full time gig, Captain Aftab is accepting resumes and is looking to hire ASAP. After speaking to captain Aftab, he seems to be calm and is looking to make some changes. He may not be panicking yet but, he might want to speed up his timeline because losing a few more games may take them out of the playoff race early. We all know Lahore has the potential but perhaps chemistry needs some work as neither their offense or defense is helping them win games. Theyll have the following thursday off to recover from taking a beating but we're hoping to see Lahore bounce back strong and start making a push for that wild card spot. Unfortanately its an uphill battle from here on out but when you cant go any lower theres only 1 way to go. Lets see if Lahore can figure out which way that is.


Summary of main stats:

 

Cordoba

 

Bilal Javed: 2 / 2, HR, 2 RBI’s

Yusauf Chaudhry: 4 / 3, RBI

Suleman Mann: 2 / 3, 4 RBI’s

Kamil Siddiqui: 3 / 3

 

Lahore

 

Hammad Afif: 3 / 3, 2 RBI’s, HR

Mohammed Al-Sukhni: 2 / 3, RBI

Aftab Sheikh: 2 / 3, 2B

 

 

Cordoba vs Medina

 

The final game of the evening was nothing short of a thriller as this game has “game of the year” written all over it.

 

As the home team, Cordoba took to the field first as Medina got set to put some runs on the board. Medina must have dipped their bats in kerosene to start the game as their bats were on FIRE! They mercied Cordoba in the first inning, capped off by an Abdul 'Hulk' Butt smash down CF bringing in 2 RBI’s. Building on that momentum, they put up 5 runs in the next inning as they went through their entire batting lineup twice in 2 innings. This game was so crazy that Abdo Menla hit an infield homerun. He smoked it to RF where Suleman Mann had to make a tough running grab and misplayed the ball resulting and speedy Gonzales gunning it home for the 2 run homer. Medina was sitting pretty with a 12 – 3 advantage going into the 3rd inning where Cordoba finally came to life and made a run of their own showing no mercy laying a 7 run beat down in this inning. Suleman Mann, Bilal Javed and Faisal Shamshad all had a HR each combining for a total of 7 RBI’s.

Cordoba shut Medina down in the next inning and took a 1 point lead heading to the fourth. The game was neck in neck as both teams exchanged leads until the final inning where Hamid Malik stepped into his 2nd HR of the year bringing in 2 runs. That helped Medina go up by 5 going into the very final inning. With Cordoba up to bat they quickly gave up 2 outs and the final batter was down to 2 strikes as Medina’s hard work was about to pay off… until it didn’t. On what should’ve been the final pitch of the game, Kamil Siddiqui stepped up and hit a solo homer (first of his BSLN career) keeping Cordoba’s hopes alive but also bringing up the top of the order. With Cordoba unable to hit anymore homeruns the batters were limited as a lot of them are able to send it over the fence but that didn’t hold them back as guys kept getting on base. Khuram Channa hit one to LCF over Ismail Akhtars head as the wind carried it over, bringing in 2 runs. With Cordoba only down 2, and the winning run camped out at first, Captain Yousaf Chaudhry stepped up and hit it to LCF with a fielder under it as this game seemed like it was over but at the very last second the catch was dropped bringing in all 3 required runs to end this exciting game.  Hats off to Cordoba for bringing it when it mattered most. They fought back all game long and won the game on the very last play. Medina has now dropped 2 games in a row to Cordoba but this game shows that they aren’t untouchable.  These 2 squads clash again on the last week of the regular season which could be a preview of a potential playoff matchup.

 

Summary of main stats:

 

Medina

Hamid Malik: 4/4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI’s

Ismail Akhtar: 2/3, HR, 5 RBI’s

Mo Kala: 3/4, 2B, 5 RBI’s

Abdo Menla: 2/3, HR, 4 RBI’s

W K: 3/4

 

Cordoba

Khuram Channa: 3/4, HR, 2B, 6 RBI’s

Khawar Anwar: 2/2, 2B, 2 RBI’s

Bilal Javed: 3/4, HR, 3 RBI’s

Yusauf Chauhdry: 2/4, 3 RBI’s

Kamil Siddiqui: 2/3, HR, RBI

 


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 5 Recap

Cordoba vs Medina (Video Featured game of the night)

 

Our featured game of the night was between 2 teams that have the potential of being the top teams in the league this year as both rosters are stacked with talent.

Medina was a missing a key player in Zane Sheikh who missed this game due to extreme selfish reasons as he flew out to BC to get married. Can you believe this guy? I mean, the 5 week notice he provided to his team aside, the audacity to abandon his team like that… I guess we know who’s playing catcher rest of the season 😉

 The home team Medina got off to a great start as they shut Cordoba down in the first inning and brought in 2 runs courtesy of a Hamid Malik homerun down CF bringing in Zahid Merchant. Atif Parvaiz did a great job on the mound as he was a completely different player from game 1. He went from throwing 18 walks in game 1 to 6 walks in this one. Pitching is no joke, and for him to turn it around after just 1 game is super impressive to say the least. He helped keep Medina in this game as long as he could.

Forward to the 4th inning where captain Yousaf Chaudhry responded with a homer of his own bringing in 2 RBI’s as he finished the night 3 of 3 at bat capping off a mercy inning to tie the game at 8. Medina had them down to 2 outs and all they had to do was a make a simple play but instead, the infield made 3 costly errors on the simplest of plays resulting in momentum for Cordoba and multiple runs cashed in.  Cordoba kept their foot on Medina’s throat and put up 10 unanswered runs over the next 2 innings, thanks to a grand slam by rookie Faisal Shamshad which really put a dent in Medina’s spirits as he drove the final nail in coffin. Medina had a chance to rally as the final inning saw the top of the order but Cordoba shut them down, closing out this game in style. After 2 back to back beat downs by Cordoba, I think the entire league is on notice. Cordoba is the team to beat this year and if they can stay consistent, they look the scariest team out there.

Final score, Cordoba 18, Medina 8

 

Summary of main Stats:

 

Medina

Mo Kala – 3 / 4, 2 RBI’s

Zahid Merchant: 2 / 3, 2 RBI’s

Hamid Malik: 1 / 4, HR, 2 RBI’s

Abdul Butt: 2 / 3

 

Cordoba

Yousaf Chaudhry: 3 / 3, HR, 2 RBI’s

Faisal Shamshad: 1 / 3, Grand Slam, 4 RBI’s

Ahmed Butt: 2 / 3, 1 RBI

Zaid Ghunsar: 2 / 4, 2 RBI’s

 

Cairo vs Medina

 

With Medina dropping the previous game, they’re mind set was totally different coming into this game. Medina strongly believes that they are one of the strongest teams in the league and they weren’t going to lose 2 games on the same night.  Medina quickly got this one started putting up 10 quick runs in the first 2 innings while Cairo seemed like they were stalled on the side of the road trying to get their engine started. W K brought us out first highlight of the game as he very casually smashed a HR down LF bringing in 3 RBI’s. Mr. Farooq “Miandad” Sani changed up his batting style this game hoping to improve his average and boy did it pay off. He went 2 for 4 with and RBI and made great contact. He was hitting the ball well and was a rock star in RF.  On the opposite end, Jay “Smooth” Ahmed was having a day at bat as he went 2/3 at the plate bringing home and RBI and locking it down at LF.  Let’s forward to the 3rd inning where Cairo finally showed signs of life bringing in 4 runs as Ali Chaudhry had 3 of those RBI’s on a massive homer down CF which, didn’t really close the gap… Medina turned around and matched their efforts with 4 runs of their own as they maintained a 10 point advantage. Cairo was having some difficulties in the outfield as there were a lot of misplays on dropped catches. Most of the pop flies could’ve been caught but unfortunately Cairo was unable to capitalize on those nicely gift wrapped fly balls resulting in multiple runs. Cairo showed some signs of life in the final 3 innings barely mustering up 7 runs but that wouldn’t matter as Medina went on to score 17 runs on 21 hits. Atif Parvaiz was once again superb on the mound throwing 4 Strike outs, and 0 walks whereas Miqdad Jaffer with his “ready or not” style of pitching had 0 strike outs and 1 walk. There weren’t too many positive points on Cairo’s side on this evening and yes, they were playing down a few of their regular guys like “Big Bass” Yasseen who could change the game with his consistency and HR power. It might still be early for Cairo to start panicking but it is time for Captain Yasser Malik to go back to the drawing board and start figuring some things out. Cairo gets a bye next week and should use that to reset as they have a revenge date scheduled with Medina upon their return.  You know… the same team that just laid the smack down on them.  

Final score Medina 17, Cairo 7.

 

 Summary of main Stats:

 

Medina

WK – 4 / 4, HR, 5 RBI’s

Zahid Merchant: 3 / 3, 1 RBI

Hannan Uppal: 3 / 3

Hamid Malik: 3 / 4, 3 RBI’s

Atif Parvaiz: 2 / 4, 2 doubles, 2 RBI’s

 

Cairo

Ali Chaudhry: 2 / 3, HR, 3 RBI’s

Jav Ahmed: 2 / 3, 1 RBI

Hatf Sohail: 3 / 3

Miqdad Jaffer: 2 / 3

 

Lahore vs Damascus

The night game featured a fierce pitching battle between two BSL legendary pitchers.  That's right folks, we had Zia 'Doc' Beg's Lahore face off against Tanseer 'Robocop' Khawaja's Damascus (franchise team).  Lahore was coming into the game in search for its first win this season while Damascus was coming off a convincing win in its prior week.  Both teams came into the game looking confident, so it was difficult to predict who would be the victors.  In the end, it was a lopsided victory, 10-3 for the men in blue, Damascus.

When you assess Lahore's batting lineup, there you will be left wondering how this team remains winless.  They seem to have all the elements - power, speed, spray hitting, on-base and experience.  When you mix those factors with the fact that many of these guys are hard working life long friends then it should lead the team to success.  Early in the season, the problem seems to be that Lahore fails to find a groove, which is nothing but momentum.  In it's last few games, they get going later towards the game.  They're like an old Cadillac - takes a while to get going, due to lots of mileage, but once it gets on the highway it's the smoothest of drives.  Lahore has yet to get on the highway.  Actually they're on the side of the road, with their four-way blinkers on.  But, no need to call CAA.  Indeed, Lahore can fix these problems.  Whether it be more batting practice or adjusting the lineup, we believe Aftab Sheikh and the entrusted men in green will get it together.  In this game, Lahore had only 8 hits, which is some credit due to Damascus defense, but some of these guys just need to get the hitting going and it starts with having that confidence in yourself and your teammates.  We predict Lahore to have better days than mustering only three runs.  Lahore must take a Win next week otherwise pressure will settle in as far as making the playoffs go.

On the other side of the spectrum, Damascus seems to be trending upwards, having won two straight albeit against middle tiered teams.  Damascus has a decent defense.  There were some head scratching errors that lead to Lahore's only runs.  Robocop had zero - that's right zero - earned runs this game. We think Damascus can get better with its defense, despite being one of the better defensive teams in this league.  It seems that lack of chemistry and experience in critical positions is what is holding them back.  Offensively, the team played a decent game.  Ahmad Ammad hasn't gotten out in what seems like since June. As far as the team performance goes, ten runs is a dangerously low.  If the team thinks that that will be enough then it's not really a championship type team, as the minimum required is usually 12-14 runs, so some of the guys will need to pick up their bats or figure out how to get on base, so that Shane Worthington and Ammad can bring them home.

Overall, this was one of the fastest games this season - there were only two walks allowed all game!  Doc threw only 62 pitches, while Robocop had only 70.  For next week, Lahore will be pressured to win at least one of its games otherwise they risk their playoff chances this early in the season.  Meanwhile, Damascus has a bye week, so the question becomes whether Damascus can continue its form even after the time off.

Lahore Pros
- Doc is keeping the guys in it.  Doc's pitching should give its offense a chance every game it plays.  83% of the time he throws a first pitch strike, which puts pressure on batters.

Lahore Opportunities 
- With some batting practice more runs should be produced.  If the team can get two W's next week, it's right back in the race.

Damascus Pros
- Stingy team defense - team is looking strong defensively all around. Only one XBH allowed
- Robocop's pitching was magnificient.  The

Damascus Opportunities
- CF and SS must stop making errors
- Must find more ways to get runs.  Need more runs produced from other than Ammad and Worthington


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 4 Recap

Istanbul vs. Lahore

Finally some nice softball weather. It was a nice long break while it lasted but its time to get back into softball mode!! Istanbul hosted Lahore in the first game of the night as both teams were still looking for this first win. Istanbul didn’t waste any time as they came out of the gates firing, mercying Lahore in the first inning as well as maxing out their HR's. Istanbul`s top 4 batters, Riyad Ramjaun, Abdullah Akhtar, Rameez Siddiqi and Zain Malik went for a combined 16 for 20 at bat pulling in 9 RBI’s and 2 HR’s. The entire team had a great day at the plate going 25 for 41 (61%).  The next 2 innings, Istanbul put on a defensive clinic with multiple double plays (courtesy of Captain Zain). One of them Lahore would love to have back as Sham forgot to tag up before leaving the bag. With Istanbul up big (9-0), we all know what came next. In classic Istanbul fashion, they took a little power nap, allowing Lahore to stroll back into this game tying it up at 13 a piece. Captain Aftab Sheikh lead his team going 4 for 4 at bat which instilled confidence in his group. The rest of the guys started to pick it up late in the game as Shamil Khadaroo, Zia Beg, Shahid Saya and Khizer Chana combined to bring in 12 RBI’s. Late in this game, the score was tied at 14 when Zain Malik hit a double to RF bringing in 2 RBI’s to put Istanbul up by 3. Unfortunately, Lahore ran out of gas and weren’t able to make 1 last push as Istanbul closed out the final inning with ease.

With the L in this game, Lahore is the only team still winless heading into week 5. They certainly have what it takes to turn things around and are hoping to get back on track this week when they square off against Damascus in the late game. Can Lahore turn up the heat and start closing out games? We’ll find out when they visit Damascus next week in what should be a nail biter. Stay tuned!!!

 Summary of Main stats:

 Istanbul

 Rameez Siddiqi – 4/5, 3 RBI’s, 1 HR

Abdullah Akhtar – 4/5, 2 RBI’s, 1 HR

Riyad Ramjaun – 4/5, 2 RBI’s

Zain Malik – 4/5, 2 RBI’s

Umer Jabbar – 3/5, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s

 

Lahore

 Aftab Sheikh – 4/4, 2 Runs

Khizer Channa – 3/4 RBI’s

Aftab Khan – 3/4, 2 Runs

Mohammad Al-Sukhni – 2/3 1 RBI

Imarn Haq – 2/3, 2 Runs

 

Damascus vs. Istanbul

For the second game of the back-to-back, Istanbul looked to continue its momentum when it hosted Damasacus in the prime time slot.  Istanbul, carrying only 9 men felt looked great, especially towards the beginning of the game, whereas the Damascus group earned a hard fought win.

The fellas in red showed their capabilities as they lead 8-4 going into the third.  Notably, Rameez Siddiqi and Tamour Sheikh had consecutive long home runs.  After that, Istanbul found it difficult to put runs on the board, since they were only able to manage a total of 10 runs.  Riyad Ramjaun and Abdullah Akhtar certainly did their part each contributing three hits.  Istanbul lower half of the order may require further balance, which is a mulling problem for any GM to have, but Zain Malik seems like he will figure it out.     

Damascus, on the other hand, were able to find holes in the Istanbul defence, leading the boys in blue to put up 21 runs in total.  Six of its players were able to string together multiple hits.  Notably Ahmad Ammad led the way, going 5-5 with 2 home runs.  He looks like a more complete hitter this year - we all know how he can put the ball over the fence with ease, but now he is beginning to drive pitches to un-manned parts of the field.  When you have an OBP of 100%, the guy following you in the batting line-up usually has more opportunities to drive in runs, and credit goes to Shane Worthington for having 5 RBIs on the day.

Despite the loss, Istanbul should be feeling good about its prospects, and they will look to continue to show the rest of the leauge the dangerous team that they can be.  Meanwhile, Damascus will look to build upon its first ever win with its second ever win taking on Lahore in week 3.

Istanbul Pros
- Top of the lineup performing well, getting on base and showing power
- Umer Jabbar made his BSL Nights debut, driving in 3 big RBIs with a bases loaded double
- Only had 3 outfielders.  Having that extra OF would have made it a closer game

Istanbul Opportunities
- Achieving a more balanced line-up so the runs are spread across innings

Damascus Pros
- First win as a group, in its existence, look to build upon momentum
- Abdul Murad made his BSL Nights debut showing impressive skills with the leather.  
- Premier pitching display by Tans Bhai

Damascus Opportunities
- 5 errors - it's still early in the season but this number is too high if the team wants to make the playoffs 

 

Cordoba vs. Cairo 

In the night game we were excited to see a potential championship matchup as Cordoba visited Cairo.  This game was over after the first inning as the Spaniards crushed the Egyptians by a score of 32-10.  The men in yellow were an offensive jaugernaut striking from top to bottom of its line-up.  Meanwhile Cairo was left defeated but they should not hold their heads down at all.

Cordoba is a skilled team, perhaps one of the most complete teams in our league in terms of talent, experience, and cricketers.  When they are clicking, the outcome can be similar like this against anybody.  That is to say they were definitely on for this game.  GM Chu, who made his season start, led a balanced team, and they outplayed Cairo both offensively and defensively.  Bilal Javed is off to a flying start this season, having not recorded a single out this season! Khurram Channa and Saad Husnain have shown excellent base hitting abilities.  Hamza Waheed is ascending, like we thought he would when speaking about his pitching, but who knew he would be hitting doubles and triples like this? Kamil Siddiqui is leading the league in batting average - this alone makes him a strong rookie of the year candidate.  And lastly, the gentle giant Faisal Shamshad hit his first BSL Nights home run.  This line-up is scary.

Cairo was forced to making adjustments since inning one, and it could not make up for the deficit, especially with respect to its defence.  Having only 3 OF hurt against a Cordoba club that demands opponents OFs to play at their best.  In this game, lots of balls went over Cairo OFs heads, which is a credit to Cordoba hitters, but spectators also saw some misplays which begins to question Cairo's legitimacy as repeat contenders.  Cairo GM will let you know that their best players, most notably star pitcher Miqdad Jaffer was missing, so there is only so many insights we can take away from this game.  Cairo should come back strong, led by example by none other than Ali Chaudhary, who notably had two monster home runs in this game.  Because of the missing players and Ali's strong offensive game, Cairo should remain positive moving forward, however those same spectators are beginning to make predictions around the number of adjustments Yasser Malik will make as a result of this outcome. 

Cordoba Pros
- Everyone is hitting.  Whatever you are doing, keep doing it!
- Defensively strong game, holding Cairo to only 10 runs - much credit goes to the pitcher
- Was able to score 32 runs despite missing Umair Wasim, playoff MVP of 2018

Cordoba Opportunities
- Do not get complacent when leading

Cairo Pros
- Missing key players 
- Some players got to see some action at new positions, Jib Khan at SS, Hatf at 3B, Ali at LF.  This experience will give Cairo more options later in the season

Cairo Opportunities
- When a team loses like this, one of two things can happen.  On one hand, self-doubt can creep in, thinking that there are stronger teams out there.  On the other hand, this loss can motivate a team to want to get better because getting outscored by 20 is never a good feeling.  Last year, towards the end of the season, team Medina was mercied by this same Cordoba team, and we see how that affected Medina afterwards. 


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 3 Recap

How about those Rainy Thursdays huh? So far every team has only played 1 game and are itching to get back on the field but it doesn’t look mother nature has been too kind to our cause. We did see some brief action between Damascus and Medina although that game was quickly called off as the field started collecting massive puddles rendering the field unplayable. The only option was to waddle back to the parking lot covering our heads with whatever we could find and hope for a better day next Thursday. Although we will do our best to schedule make up games, some games might end up not being played at all due to lack of available fields. In any case, there is plenty of softball to be played and lots to look forward to. Next Thursday the weather seems to be looking up, so keep your Duas coming and those spirits sky high! 

 

Istanbul plays host to Lahore – 6:30pm

  • Both teams are looking to pick up their first win of the season. Do we finally get to see the new and improved Istanbul’s this week or will Lahore’s defense rise to the occasion and hold them to yet another underwhelming day at the plate?

 

Istanbul Hosts Damascus – 8:00pm

  • Damascus is still looking for their first ever win and will look to build off a solid performance from last week in a tightly contested loss while the red squad get ready to play their second game of a back to back set.

 

Cairo hosts Cordoba – 9:30pm

  • Cairo hosts Cordoba as both teams try to get their second win in as many games and try to stay undefeated. Which team comes out on top? We’ll find out, this Thursday!

BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 1 Recap

Game Summary Lahore at Cordoba:

Bsl Nights Season 2 kicked off exactly how some expected as two of the semi finalists from last year competited fiercly to the end. First, Lahore started off the Season with 3 Runs in the first inning, led by superstar Shamz Khadaroo. Cordoba, on the other hand, was missing its GM, and notable all-star, Yousaf "Chu" Chaudhry (we hear that he is training during his European vacation). Despite not having Chu, Cordoba was able to make him proud as they responded in similar fashion by puting up 2 runs on the scoreboard, with the first home run of BSL Nights season 2 By AGM Bilal Javed.  From then on Cordoba tightened up its defense with the help of veterens in the outfield like  Ahmed Butt, Khuram Channa and Saad Husnain. Up until the final inning, Lahore was able to rally only 6 Runs.  GM Aftab Sheikh must have had a talk with the boys before their final at bats, because they finally woke up by putting up a seven spot on Cordoba.  A monster 3 run home run shot to CF by Salim Jachi was the highlight as it tied the game and this jolted Lahore players with an energy shock - Lahore was confident that they were now going to win the game.  But Lahore was unable to add more than 7 runs, so this meaned that the game was tied heading into the bottom half of the final inning. Needing only one run to win the game, Cordoba, to their credit, showed that they were not rattled despite giving up the big lead.  Zaid Ghansar hit a key double and was brought home by the clutch hitting of Hamza Waheed.  This proved to be the winning run of what was originally a blowout turned into exciting game.  The next time these two teams meet Lahore will look to be more consistent with their bat, and Cordoba will look to keep up its winning ways. 

Cordoba Pros
- Kamil Siddiqui and Suleman Mann made their BSL Nights debut.  Kamil batted perfect while Mann had three RBIs
- Hitting: Cordoba top and middle part of their lineup had the best average compared against other teams in terms of batting average. Bilal Javed went 4/4 nearing the top leaderboard for HR, Runs and RBI.
- 0 errors committed by the defense 
- Hamza Waheed locked down pitching and his ability to limit walks.  Looks like Waheed has developed a curve ball that left a few Lahori batters buckling their knees. 

Cordoba Opportunities
- Getting back GM Chu will help strengthen the batting and fielding
- Not becoming complacent when up by a large margin

Lahore Pros
- The ability to fight back in the last inning by putting up 7 runs to tie the game - opponents should not sleep on this team regardless of how much you are up by.
- Lahore hitting - Khizer Channa 4/4 with three runs scored will be important an piece to Lahore offense.  Bottom of the order went 6/9, .667%, which is superb
- Fawad Shaikh made his BSL Nights debut but could be missing time due to injury sustained late in the game (so this is a pro/con)
- Former pitcher of the year, Zia Beg allowed only 1 walk.  Keeping up these type of performances should propel the Doc once again as a premier pitcher in Nights.

Lahore Opportunites
- Getting back Shahid Saya should help strengthen the batting lineup and fielding
- Reduce the number of Fielder's choice when batting

 

Game Summary Damascus at Cairo:

What began as a promising start for the expansion team, Damascus, ends with the former regular season champs, Cairo walking off with a thrilling victory.  Cairo entered the game as clear favourites, and murmurs from the Cairo bench thought this matchup to be unchallenging at best.  Boy were they in for a surprise. Damascus jumped out with a quick 5 spot in their opening inning, but not to be outdone, Cairo was able to tie it up when it was time for their turn to bat, led by Jibran "Jibby" Khan's 3-run homer.  Cairo put another 5 spot up in the third by plugging hit after key hit, using speed on the bases to buckle Damascus' infield/outfield defense. Not to be outdone, Damascus put up 7, fighting its way back into the game while regaining the lead.  "Our bottom of the batting lineup guys did an excellent job of getting on base, giving an opportunity for us to catch up" says, Damascus GM Safwan Khan, whose grand salam helped jeer the Damascus bench onwards.  Two batters later, Ahmad Ammad cranked his first homer of the season.  At this point in the game, Cairo was in a dog fight, not a puppy fight. Yasser Malik, GM of Cairo, showed that, unlike last year, this year Cairo will show resiliance when down late in games - and that's exactly how this game ended. Again, speed was helped put a 2 spot up in the bottom of the fifth, this time through timely hitting by Abdu Sharkawy. As the game went tied into the final inning, Damascus was unable to use any of its momentum, going 3 up 3 down, leaving the door wide open for Cairo.  Needing only one run to win the game, and with 1 out and 1 on, Baseer Yaseen decided enough was enough and that it was time for us all to go home as he closed the game with a walk off monster two run homer to win it for Cairo.  With Cairo players jumping in joy, Damascus players should hold their heads up because they took one of the best team's to the max.  When these two teams meet again, it can be a showstopper.  Game video to be available on Youtube soon... 

Cairo Pros
- Clutch hitting: The bottom half of Cairo batting had three extra base hits, which is half of Cairo's total.  The homer by Jibby Khan enabled Cairo to get back in the game, and The Shark put pressure on Damascus' defense. The top of Cairo hitting had a stellar game in terms of average and runs scored.  Their hits were able to find holes in the defense.  Basser Yaseen's skill to take one of the best pitchers long shows how deep this lineup is.  Reigning MVP Ali Chaudhary seems to have picked up where he left off from last year, going 3/3 in this contest with a couple extra base hits.  He seems to be on a mission to show once again that he's the best player in our league.
- The pitching of Miqdad Jaffer and his ability to get quick outs.  His curve ball is nasty.  Several times made Damascus batters puzzled by hitting the corners of the plate.  He's the early favourite for Pitcher of the Year.
- Huzefa Ahmed made his BSL Nights debut

Cairo Opportunities
- Some head scratching errors in routine plays from SS to 1B.  

Damascus Pros
- 0 errors for the first game of players that never played together
- Shane Worthington and Awais Malik made their BSL Nights debut, hitting a combined 3/5 60%. 
- Neal Irfan stepped up with two timely doubles.   

Damascus Opportunities
- Out of the six innings that were played, all their runs were scored in only two innings, so the team struggled to rally runs.  As a result they could look to alter the batting lineup to combat this issue.

 

Game Summary Medina at Istanbul:

In the Final game of the evening, Medina hosted Istanbul in what was a pretty intense matchup. Istanbul started the game off by mercying the defending champs in the first inning. This was mostly due to the team taking walks as newly promoted pitcher Atif Parvez took the mound in his first BSLN game ever. Atif was feeling the heat on the mound as he was trying his best to figure out how to help Medina win this game.

We didn’t get to see Istanbul’s full offensive Arsenal this week as they only had 7 hits all game due to some pitching troubles on Medina’s end. Some plays to highlight though. Saoud Ramjaun leads team Istanbul for the most RBI’s in the season so far sitting pretty at 2. Fuzail Thakur had a great day at bat going a perfect 3 for 3 while holding it down on the pitching front. Tamour Sheikh went 2/3 but, his team expected a much better hitting game from him. He made up for it at 3rd base as he was rock solid for them all night. Riyad Ramjaun went 1/2 in this game while holding it down in the outfield. There was a slick double play made by Zain Malik getting his brother out at 3rd… his brother obviously got the last laugh in this game.

Medina responded to Istanbul’s mercy inning with a big inning of their own scoring 5. Zahid Merchant started the inning off with a nice hit to RF followed by a deep line drive to RCF by Hamid Malik whizzing over Abdullah Akhtar’s head for a double. Later that inning, Rookie Zane Sheikh stepped up to the plate for his first ever at bat and smoked a 3 run Homer to rid his stomach of all those butterflies. He had another giant hit in the 4th inning that hit the top of the fence but stayed in for a double. We were thinking it before but can confidently say it now, Zane seems like he’s the steal of this years draft. Not only did he do it on the offensive end but he ended up saving Medina the game in the last inning as the ball was hit to 3rd. He fumbled it but quickly picked it up, tagged the guy at 3rd and gunned it to first for the close double play. With the final inning remaining and Medina down by 1, Mo Kala stepped up to the plate with 2 outs and the winning run on 1st. Earlier in the game Mo was furious with himself for getting out prior 2 at bats. Well he more than made up for it here on this play as he put one over Rameez Siddiqi’s head in LF pulling in 2 RBI’s for a walk off victory! Can you say CLUTCH??? That’s how you lead a team to victory! 

Summary of main stats in this game:

Medina

Zane Sheikh – 3/3, HR, 4 RBI’s

Hamid Malik – 3/3, 2 Doubles, 1 walk, 1 RBI

Ismail Akhtar – 3/4, HR, 3 RBI’s

Zahid Merchant – 3/4, 1 Double, 1 RBI

Istanbul

Fuzail "Fuzzy" Thakur - 3/3, 2 RBI’s

Saoud Ramjaun – 0/0, 2 RBI’s, 4 walks

Tamour Sheikh – 2/3

Riyad Ramjoun – 1/2, 1  RBI


BSL Nights Season 2 - Week 1 Outlook

Lahore vs Cordoba (H)

Alright, here we go!!! 

Much anticipated BSLN is back for a second season and boy has it been a long wait. Cardoba hosts Lahore in the very first game of the season. This rematch of last years semi finals should be a great one to watch as Cardoba edged out Lahore for a birth in the finals. Both teams have big power and are looking to get a jump start in the standings.  Captain Yousaf is away on a secret mission and regrets that he'll miss the game but he thinks his boys can handle business while he steps away for a few weeks. Lahore is looking for some revenge but more than that they just want to start the season off the right away. The Channa brothers will face off against one another in the first of many meetings this year. It has yet to be determined who the better brother is and tonight could be a nice glimpse into this life long rivalry. Cardoba or Lahore? We'll find out soon enough...

Damascus vs Cairo (H)

Our second game of the season features the best regular season team from last year, Cairo hosting the newest team in BSLN, Damascus. Cairo again looks like a solid team on paper lead by Yasser and Ali. In order for Damascus to come out on top, they'll have to keep the ball away from hot shot SS Ali Chaudhry as he'll be out there leading the infield. As last years homerun champ/MVP he's also a threat to smash it out of the park at any given moment. On the opposite side, Damascus is no joke and they have super HR hitter Ahmad "Cray" Ammad who is also a threat to score runs in bunches. With 2 of the best HR hitters in our league facing off, itll be a fun offensive game to watch. Will Damascus win their first ever game or will Cairo spoil their much anticipated debut? I guess we'll find out tonight..


Istanbul vs Medina (H)
The 3rd matchup on this opening night is a tasty one as these 2 rivals have been going at it since last year. All games played have been nail biters as istanbul edged out Medina by 1 point in the first 2 games while Medina took the next 2 inclduing a crazy wild card game. Captain Zain Malik will also be going up against his older and much more handsome brother as he failed to acquire him during the draft. Was that by design?? Doesnt matter as Hamid Malik will be out there focused and ready to roll as Medina will look to hand Istanbul their first of many losses. Istanbul has improved alot from last year and are looking to shed that bottom dweller image as they look to make an example out of the defending champs, Medina. Istanbuls got alot to prove this year and it all starts tonight. Istanbul vs Medina... Zain "one Direction" Malik vs. Mo "The Kala Mamba" .. Who ya got???


Team Outlook: Istanbul

Istanbul:

After a disappointing inaugural season, Team Istanbul is ready to bounce back in season 2 of BSL Nights. Istanbul is still led by GM Zain “One Direction” Malik but, unlike last season, the direction seems to be pointing North this time around. Zain is joined by his versatile utility man, and AGM, Riyad Ramjaun who will be plugging in any holes that the team will require.   

This year, Istanbul management took a completely different draft strategy than their inaugural season, making it a point to not reach for any friends or family in the earlier rounds. They made the expected choice with the first round pick and drafted Abdullah Akhter. Abdullah had a stellar first season and should hold the fort in the outfield.  Zain Malik decided to not bring back his brother Hamid Malik instead opting in for some power bats. Istanbul also managed to throw in a curve ball by drafting Fuzail as their pitcher. Fuzail had a great first season as a pitcher. Let see if he can keep up the consistency with changes to pitching rule. Istanbul then followed that by drafting some power bats and bringing back familiar names in the later rounds. Interesting to note, Istanbul drafted the least number of rookies in comparison to other teams, so there should be no surprises for opponents when facing Istanbul.  

In terms of strengths and weaknesses, Istanbul offense looks promising while their defense looks a little suspect. Istanbul has a strong batting lineup. Their main power bats Tamour Sheikh, Rameez Siddiqi each of whom can clear the fence by a mile are complimented nicely by solid line drive hitters like Abdullah and Zain. This team should be able to put up runs on the board easily; however, fielding poses to be a severe threat to Istanbul's post season championship hopes.  Abdullah their only bonafide outfielder and team lacks substantially in speed. Zain Mailk, also known as “Jahli Jibs”, can make regulation plays at ss but accompanied by Tamour Sheikh and Umer Jabbar , the lateral movement  in the infield is going to be very limited.

Istanbul team is experienced and poised for a good season. The X-factor for this team will be Umer Jabbar. He has been both playing with his family and shouldering the responsibilities of being a GM for past several years. He has shown great power and consistency in dome ball this winter and he could due for a big season.  


Team Outlook: Cordoba

Cordoba:

At the conclusion of the 2018 season, Cordoba was sent home with a sour taste in their mouths after a loss at the hands of Medina in the championship game. Despite a slow start to the season last year, it seemed as though Cordoba managed to figure out the keys to success to make a successful playoff run. However, GM Yousaf Choudhry knows that it will take alot more offensive prowess, and certainly some improved defense, in order to take home the coveted championship trophy in 2019. With 2018 MVP candidate Ahmad Ammad being taken as the first overall pick, Yousaf knew he was not going to land his best offensive player from last year at the fourth pick. In the weeks leading up to the draft, Cordoba traded away their first round pick to Medina in exchange for an early second round pick, as well as another pick late in the draft. Cordoba's draft strategy was simple: add offensive depth at any cost, and on paper it certainly indicates that they did a fine job. 

Aside from the big bats of Yousaf Choudhry and Bilal JavedKhuram Channa and Umair Wasim hold some promise after a stellar end to the 2018 campaign. Umair Wasim will specifically peak the interest of fans after being named the Finals MVP during Medina's historic championship run last season. Cordoba was also able to land Suleman Mann, who is a rookie to the league this season. However, after playing BSL winter ball and attending the pre-season combine, scouts are saying this guy is no rookie to the game, particularly from a defensive perspective should he be used appropriately. Saad Hasnain and Zaid Ghansar join Cordoba as a pair of teammates from 2018, where they played integral roles during Cairo's regular season. As always, Zaid brings a defensive skill set at first base which is among the league's best, and he also led the league in walks last year. Meanwhile, although Saad's defensive capabilities are up for debate, he surely has some offensive potential, showing glimpses of it during last season and even hitting a grand slam on one occasion.

On the pitching front, Cordoba chose to stick to their 2018 ace, Hamza Waheed. Last year, Hamza had an up and down season but was able to lead the team to the championship game. It was uncertain whether Hamza would be playing this season, as he spent most of the offseason in the west coast. However, he's back now and it will soon be seen if he brings a cool and collected west-coast vibe to the mound this season.

Cordoba's goal this season will obviously be to return to the championship game, which is no easy task. Despite losing one of their biggest bats in Ahmad Ammad, they should feel confident on the offensive side of the ball, boasting a lineup with a fair amount of depth. However, on the defensive side of the ball there does appear to be some room for improvement. Yousaf, Zaid and Suleman will likely contend among the league's best on defense. However, aside from that, Cordoba's defensive strengths are not evident on paper, with their only former gold glover being at the catcher position, Khawar Anwar. With that said, however, GM Yousaf has proven himself to be able to take a team to the championship game and we wouldn't put it passed him to coach up his guys for another long and successful season!


Team Outlook: Cairo

Cairo:

One thing is for sure, Cairo GM Yasser Malik has something to prove this year. Despite leading BSL Nights season 1 in Wins, Runs For and Run Differential and not to mention the countless hardware scooped up by the orange men, Cairo couldn’t walk away with the championship (the clipboard did feel the wrath)

Cairo kept AGM Ali Chaudhry as expected who is always fun to watch both offensively and defensively. Malik’s first round pick of Miqdad Jaffer is a solid veteran pick who will definitely keep the team in check and perhaps be Cairo’s pitcher? Yasser is definitely keeping this position close to his chest. 

From here onwards Cairo wanted to ensure that character players rounded out the line up, so they grabbed two above average two way players Basser Yaseen and Jav Ahmed. Cairo, wanting to keep last years team chemistry and brought back Harris Shahzad and Haft Sohail who all provided quality hitting and above average fielding. Towards the middle-late rounds of the draft, Cairo stuck to the formula - stick to the scouting plan.  First, they picked up Jibran Khan (BSL Sunday league experience) and Bilal Khan (.500 hitter) who provided timely hitting for their respective teams in 2018. Then, they found a hidden gem as they were able to snag The Shark, Abdu Sharkawy, who was a key contributing member to Medina's championship run last year.  

Cairo seems to be an interesting team for 2019. Even though they lost many key from last year's squad like Tamour Sheikh, Zia "Doc" Beg and Abdullah Akhtar they still kept their championship level calibre core of gold gloves, pitching excellence and last year's MVP.  In addition, Cairo's deeply scouted picks led them to landing several character players.  As a result, many believe Cairo to be a frontrunner once again this season. 


Team Outlook: Medina

Medina:

Once again, on paper, Medina looks like a contender to take the throne in Season 2.  The squad has a unique blend of veterans, all-stars, and role players setting Medina up to always contend every night it plays.  The draft was not fluke or a matter of luck, but was the result of a masterful design executed by none other than GM Moh "Mamba" Kala, who has established himself as an expert drafter.  To his credit, Kala drafted a team which experts are predicting will land Medina atop of the standings by season end, if all goes to plan.

Medina is led by its threatening 1-2 punch, the CF and SS, Ismail Akhtar and BSL legend, Zahid "I ain't pitching" Merchant. Akhtar is arguably the best overall player in BSL Nights, and he will be relied upon to carry the squad onto his massive shoulders once again this year – indeed, the man is a favourite to winning MVP.  Merchant, on the other hand, comes to Nights after leading his team to several BSL Sunday championships.  He is known to bring the best out of his players through his brotherhood leadership style, which Kala will rely upon from time to time for in game adjustments.  Kala did a tremendous job at the beginning of the draft by forming a solid supporting cast. Guys like Hamid Malik and Waseem Kala are more than capable of both shagging difficult line drives, and blasting the ball out of the park.   Given this pedigree of player greatness, any newcomer to BSL would want to play for this team, so this should make it easier for Hannan Uppal to develop his skills while learning under the tutelage of this formidable core.   

But, the question of whether Medina reaches its potential will come down to the remaining cast filling in the rest of the wholes, as this often becomes the difference between mid-tier and top-tier teams.  Firstly, it remains to be seen whether the starting pitcher of Medina can hold down their position throughout the course of the season.  At the exhibition, Atif Parvaiz showed abilities to toss from the mound, so it is expected that he will be entrusted to being opening day pitcher.  Opponents should look to remain patient until Parvaiz shows that he has the ability to throw strikes on demand, which can be evident by looking at his strike to ball ratio.  The aforementioned Merchant, who some say is the greatest pitcher in BSL Sunday Nights history, has made it clear to his GM that he will not be pitching this year, however he will be relied upon to coach up whomever takes the mound.  The uncertainty around pitching may force Kala to either pressure Merchant into pitching or trade for a proven arm, however we feel Kala should develop Parvaiz ala Trust the Process.   Secondly, does the east coast mystery man Zane Sheikh, play up to the hype and develop into the player that Medina needs in order to fill its championship ambitions?  The signs point to yes, as scouts have all agreed, he is the real deal and opponents should look to neutralize his talent by honing into his lack of BSL experience.  Otherwise, if Sheikh can transition his baseball experience to softball, the rest of the league should start planning for 2020 season.   Thirdly, rounding out the remaining Medina players, Kala selected guys with all-star level potential, so these guys have come into season two with some lightweight expectations.  If one of either Farooq Sani or Abdo Menla or Abdul "safe glove" Butt or Omar "power bat" Khan takes their game to the next level, Medina can become very scary to play against because it will take some pressure off the top part of the batting lineup. But, once opposing pitchers and defenses begin learning, it will be a true test for Medina's overall lineup.    

Despite all that, Medina season outlook remains promising because they are led by experienced players who that have won championships while being leaders on their teams. Medina is in a position to win it all, and they look like a fun team to be a part of.  GM Moh Kala continues to downplay his team's regular season outlook, but we are not to be fooled of their intentions.  Only time will tell for sure whether Medina becomes the greatest city in BSL nights again.


Team Outlook: Lahore

Lahore:

Last year team Lahore did a great job drafting their team as they finished only behind Cairo for the most wins. Although it didn’t pan out in the playoffs, their regular season could be considered a success… by some. That’s why Captain Aftab Sheikh decided to keep the core together with the “Hey, if its not really broken and it kinda works, do we really wana fix it?” mentality as half of the squad was brought back including AGM Amir Khalil who’s got a pretty heavy bat and a great OBP. Their team chemistry should be fun to watch as these guys had a great season last year and will look to improve as they try to claim that BSLN throne.

With the 3rd pick in the draft GM Aftab was more than thrilled with the fact that his boy Shamil Khadaroo was still available. He wasted no time in picking the BSL veteran who brings a ton of experience as not just as a player but also as a GM of the Sultans in the Sunday league. Aftab also brought back Khizer Channa and Salim Jaichi respectively as both had solid years putting up a combined 30 RBI’s and boasting an average north of 0.500. Originally the squad opted to snag big man Imran Qureshi who is one of the best 1st basemen in our league. He was then shipped off to Damascus in exchange for Shahid Saya in a deal that had a lot of us scratching our heads but hey, that’s why most of us aren’t GM’s. Captain Sheikh Sahab probably has the latest scouting report on big man Saya and was willing to give up a solid option to acquire him. If it pans out, like Kawhi did for the Raps, Masai Ujiri will have nothing on Aftab!

That being said, Shahid batted just under 500 last year but with one year under his belt, there is absolutely no reason he shouldn’t be able to up that average and add a few dingers to go along with it. Late in the draft, Lahore also picked up a veteran pitcher in Zia "Doc" Beg, who took home pitcher of the year honors last year. He was excellent on the mound and really helped Cairo dominate in the regular season. Expectations will be quite high for him as the team will look for him to confuse batters with his pitching wizardry. Imran Haq had a decent season with Cairo last year as he was available late for Lahore to snag. He’s a guy that showed potential last year and we’re hoping to see his average increase to 400-450 this year. The rest of the squad consists of new comers Salman Ahmad, Fawad Sheikh, Aftab Khan, and Mohammad Al-Sukhni. Salman Ahmad has played in BSL for a couple of years now and will join us on BSLN. Hopefully he can help his team by continuing to improve his average and getting base hits. The rest of the brothers will look to make their mark on BSLN in hopes to help their team achieve the ultimate goal. Let’s see how Captain Aftab and AGM Amir manage their squad as we head into season 2 of BSLN.


Team Outlook: Damascus

Damascus:

In our second BSL season, we’ve seen the league become more popular as people are jumping over each other for a chance to play. As a result, we’ve decided to introduce an expansion team bringing our total to 6 teams. Captain Safwan Khan who just came off a championship run with Medina in the inaugural BSL Nights season was entrusted with the responsibility of leading team Damascus.  He did a great job in nabbing BSL Veteran Tanseer Khawaja as his AGM/Trusted sidekick who has a very impressive Resume as one of the top pitchers and a rock-solid bat!

The first overall pick was a toss-up between Istanbul and Damascus. With Damascus edging out Istanbul for the first overall pick, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind who would go first. Ahmad “Crazy” Ammad would be the first to be taken off the board as Captain Safwan didn’t hesitate for a second. With the first pick, team Damascus was sitting pretty with 3 solid batters, 2 solid infielders and an all-star pitcher. Their next pick would be 11 picks later which would really test the depth of their draft strategy. Damascus chose to go with a big man Shahid Saya who has massive potential but a lot to prove this year. He had a mediocre first season with Cordoba last year and is on a mission to prove that he did, in fact, deserve to be picked so early. Unfortunately for Shahid, Damascus gave him his walking papers and shipped him off to the pind (Lahore) in exchange for Imran “The Quintessential” Qureshi. Don’t be fooled by his kind/calm demeanour. This man is an absolute beast who gives Damascus a solid 1stbasemen and a lefty who can show massive power when provoked… so don’t poke this kind-hearted bear.

Abdul Sattar Murad aka "Sunny" and Akif “The Commiss” Waheed went quite early and will add to this quality batting lineup. The top 5 batters on this team are looking good.  Shane Worthington will look to rejoin forces with Safwan Khan and Imran Qureshi as the 3 played together in the winter dome league and developed some great chemistry playing for team Snow Jays. Damascus also got lucky and found a gem in the late rounds with Neal Irfan, a quality outfielder, was surprisingly still available. He is solid at bat and holds down that outfield as good as anyone in the league. Zaki Bhatti had a decent season last year and will look to improve his batting average as he showed massive potential in a few games. Talal Hayat will look to improve on his rookie campaign, proclaiming his status as one of the best second basemen in our league.

Awais and Muzamil are all new to the league and although we haven’t seen them play yet, nobody would be surprised if they burst on to the scene and took everyone by surprise. The play of these 3 guys will make or break team Damascus. There are some questions going into the regular season as there are a lot of new faces on this team. A lot of teams are sleeping on Damascus this year but they have a team which could surprise and looks like they’re still not done wheeling and dealing. Regardless of what everyone says or what roster changes are yet to come, one thing is for sure, it is up to Captain Safwan Khan to take his band of brothers and lead them to victory. Time to put in work Damascus! LET’S GO!


BSL Nights Season 2 - Teams

Here are the teams for 2019 BSL Nights in alphabetical order. Some trades are still being discussed so nothing is final. 

 

 


BSL Winterball Rules and Website

BSL Winterball starts on January 25th. We have three teams (Grand Salam, Snow Jays and Wolfpack) and SPN has provided one team. Games will be played at either Lakeshore Collegiate Institute or Wet N Wild.

The schedule and stats will be posted at http://mystatsonline.com/bslwinterball

There are some unique rules for Domeball and it might take a few games for players to adjust. For any questions, please approach the umpire for clarification. Here are some of the rules: 

Game
1. Each week will have a doubleheader against the same team
2. The game is an hour long with final inning being called with 10 mins left. No limit on the number of innings. 
3. There is a 5 run mercy rule each inning except the last inning.
4. There is no game mercy rule.
5. There is no homerun limit rule. 
6. Within the dome, there are two games being played concurrently. If a ball from the other game is hit into your infield, the umpire is expected to call time to make room for that play to complete. 
7. You must have a minimum of 9 players to field a team.
8. The opposing team is not required to supply a catcher during any point of the game.
9. There is an unlimited amount of courtesy runners and anyone can pinch run. 
10. No alcohol/drugs can be consumed within the dome by the players. 

Pitching and Count
1. Every at-bat will start with a 1-1 count
2. Any legal pitch that hits the plate without a swing is an automatic strikeout (you are allowed to ghost swing and miss the ball)
3. Foul ball with 2 strikes is an out

Fielding
1. Any ball that hits the dome(or any other object connected to the dome such as lights) within fair territory is in play and can be caught.
2. Any ball that hits the dome in foul territory and is caught by a fielder, is not an out (unless it is a strikeout)
3. Any ball that is hit into foul territory but does not hit the dome and is caught, is considered an out.
4. Homeruns are only obtained by rounding all the bases while the ball is in play.
5. No matter where the ball is hit (sidelines, benches etc.) the ball is always in play. This also includes overthrows. 
6. Any ball that is obstructed in anyway (example: caught in netting) is considered live.

Running Bases
1. If you touch home plate you will be called out. 
2. If a player is on a base, anticipation is allowed. This means when the pitched ball enters the batting zone and the batter starts to swing the runners are allowed to run at this point. 
3. Stealing bases is not allowed when the ball is not live. A batter caught doing this will be called out. (leaving before a pitched ball enters the batters zone will be considered steal and thus considered an out).
4. There is no commitment line between third base and home plate. The runner can turn back at any time. To get them out you must tag them or have the ball while standing on home plate when they cross home plate.

Lineups
1. A player can be added to the game at any point but must be added to the bottom of the lineup
2. If a player leaves the game early before a game ends, that player is considered to be an auto out when it is their turn to bat. 
3. The batting lineup must be maintained throughout the game. 

Equipment
1. The ball is a softer ball that safe to use in the dome (12 inch Jugs Softie)
2. Cleats or turf shoes are recommended but running shoes will work as well 
3. Players are required to bring their own gloves and bats (or share team bats)
4. Team jerseys are not a requirement however color coordinating is recommended.
5. Only ASA or USSSA stamped bats are allowed within this league. All other bats will result in an ejection. 

Playoffs
1. All teams make it to the playoffs. 
2. Playoffs will be April 5th and April 12th

We hope you enjoy the season. 


BSL Nights Winter Ball Registration is now Open

The registration for BSL Nights Winter Ball is now open. We have limited spots so it will be first come, first serve.

Season Details:
- Cost per player: $140
- Games will be played from 10pm-Midnight at Lakeshore CI Dome or 11pm-1am at 
Wet n'Wild Dome
- Season starts Friday January 25th for approx. 11 Fridays with double-headers each week (20-24 games total)
- Teams will be drafted

Use this link to REGISTER: https://goo.gl/forms/puyx1M8Uv300wyoq1

Please EMT $140 to bslnights@gmail.com with password 'nights'


2018 BSL Nights All-Star Results

The Best of BSL Nights came together to participate in challenges a game to celebrate a great season. Here are the results:
 

BSL Nights Skills Challenge

Pitcher Showdown Winner: Tanseer Khawaja

Running Bases Challenge Winner: Ahmad Ammad

Longest Throw Contest Winner: Ahmad Ammad

Homerun Derby Winner: Ali Chaudhry

 

All Star Game Roster:

All Star Game Teams:

Congratulations to Team A won the All star Game Lead by Team Captain Ahmad Ammad.



2018 PLAYOFF PREVIEWS

WILD CARD GAME: Istanbul (5) @ Medina (4)

The first ever BSL Nights playoff schedule kicks off with an exciting wild card game between the league’s bottom dwelling teams. After Cairo slipped up to Lahore in the final week of the regular season, Medina found themselves in the fourth spot in the standings which set them up for this showdown. It  couldn’t have come at a worse time for Medina, having lost two straight games and facing an Istanbul squad who are coming off a big win but more importantly beat Medina twice this season. After being touted as one of the best teams post-draft, not many thought that Medina would be in this position come playoff time. Meanwhile, Istanbul comes into this matchup feeling good about their odds against Medina, and also coming off a big win against red hot Cordoba to close the season.

Istanbul GM Zain Malik has continued to emphasize the importance of playoff performance irrespective of regular season standings and insists that fans shouldn’t be surprised if Istanbul pulls off the upset. The story for Medina this season has been lineup consistency. Missing BSL vet Hassan Chaudhry for several games as well as slugger Ismail Akhter for a couple proved to be a challenge for Medina to deal with. However, there is no doubting the fact that they’re an offence that can’t be slept on with all of their top players in uniform.

After putting up a 40 RBI campaign, Ismail Akhter will be looked upon heavily by his Medina teammates to produce runs during this pivotal wild card game. Meanwhile, the leadership of Zain Malik and the defensive play of brother Hamid Malik will be key factors in getting their squad passed Medina. 

SEMI-FINAL: Lahore (3) @ Cordoba (2)

After starting off the season relatively well, Lahore fell to third place in the standings after a few heartbreaking defeats. Rookie pitcher Fuzail Thakur had a breakout pitching season, racking up the most strikeouts to put him into the conversation for the pitcher’s award behind ERA champ (and 9 game winner) Zia “doc” Beg. Furthermore, with second round pick and slugger Shamil Khadaroo back in the lineup after a deserved summer vacation abroad, Lahore looks to be well equipped for a deep playoff run. Although Lahore has won a game or two against their semi-final opponents Cordoba, they shouldn’t by any means take this matchup lightly. After starting the season off a dismal 0-4, Cordoba has only lost one game since that time (while winning 5 and tying 2).

Third baseman Ahmad Ammad has put together quite the season for Cordoba with the highest batting average and on base percentage in the league, proving that he was in fact worthy of the second overall pick in the draft. Bilal Javed and Yousaf Chaudhry will also be looked upon to provide offense for their squads in this pivotal matchup.

Cordoba’s defence has been a liability all season long, so all hands will have to be on deck if they want to get passed the bats of Lahore in the semi-final. Speaking of defence, Lahore GM Aftab Sheikh has made claims in BSL chat rooms that his team boasts the best defence in the league. Credit is due for the confidence he has shown in his squad, but with a regular season run differential of just +5 while finishing the year an even 6-6, some fans might think otherwise in regard to the league’s best defensive team.

SEMI FINAL: Cairo Vs (?)

After securing the top spot in the league and becoming the only team to finish with a winning record (more wins than losses), Cairo will await the winner of the wild card game prior to facing off for their semi-final clash against either Medina or Istanbul. Cairo comes into the playoffs after an entertaining season with several players finishing in the top 15 for various offensive stats alongside pitcher Zia “Doc” Beg who kept opponents’ ERA below 9. Similarly to other teams in the league, Cairo has dealt with lineup consistency throughout the season, missing ageless wonder Hassan Khan for several weeks, as well as Yasser Malik, Ali Chaudhry and Miqdad Jaffer for a few games each due to personal reasons. Despite missing their top players during the mid-season, Cairo has been able to weather the storm. On the flip side, however, they come into the playoffs after losing a sloppy affair against Lahore, putting up their lowest offensive output of the season with just 3 runs. Although most likely an anomaly game, Cairo will have to average closer to their league leading 16 runs per game when squaring off against the desperate wild card winner.


Week 10 Games Recap

Lahore Vs Cairo:

This was final match-up between Cairo and Lahore before the post-season, and Lahore was definitely looking for revenge as they’ve been winless against the Orangemen. GM Aftab Sheikh made it clear he was looking for a better performance from the team than in previous weeks’ to ensure momentum going into the playoffs. The game didn’t start off well for Lahore with Cairo in the first inning getting timely hits from Saad Husnain and Abdullah Akhtar – however – this was the only runs Cairo ended up scoring the whole game due to Lahore’s league best defensive, pitching along with clutch hitting. Lahore got timely batting from Amir Khalil going 4 for 4 with 3 RBI, Bilal Khan going 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, Salman Hoda going 3 for 3. We also can’t forgot Fuzail “Fuzman” Thakur who hit a 2 run blast into the sunset, and pitched magnificently throwing 13 balls all game, walking just 1 batter. So, folks might be wondering “who won the Akhtar v. Khadaroo trade”, based on regular season it looks slanted to Abdullah, but we knew Shamil was going to be missing some games – the final verdict will come playoff time.

Medina Vs Cairo:

Coming into the season Medina and Cairo were touted as two of the potentially best teams following the spring draft. Going into this game however, they found themselves on opposite sides of the spectrum. Cairo, having already locked up first place, had just lost a sloppy affair to Lahore in the first game of their double header, but felt confident against a Medina squad who was fighting to go into the playoffs on a high note. Although it wouldn't come easy, Medina could hang their hat on the fact that one of Cairo's two losses were against them earlier this summer.

In this low scoring affair, the usual suspects showed up for Medina in Hassan Chaudhry and Mohamed Kala, who had to step up in the absence of slugger Ismail Akhter. Hassan spread his hits throughout the game making the defense move on the fly. Meanwhile, leadoff man Yasser Malik went 3/3 alongside impressive performances from Miqdad Jaffer and Tamour Sheikh, who is atop the league in hits with players in scoring position. Meanwhile, Ali Chaudhry ended the home run race with a deep shot to left center field for his league leading 10th home run of the season.

This game was full of highlight reel catches, hits and controversial calls (the game is posted on YouTube for your entertainment needs). In the end, Cairo was able to hold Medina to just three runs to win a defensive affair 7-3. More Importantly, Medina loses to Cairo twice in as many weeks and head into the playoffs on a two game slide. Furthermore, Medina will face off against Istanbul in a winner take all wild card game. Interestingly, Istanbul's only two wins going into week 10 were against Medina, so that match up will be a must watch. 


Week 8 Games Recap

Cairo Vs Lahore:

The marquee matchup for Thursday was Cario v. Lahore, and had all the hallmarks to be an exciting, close affair. It was definitely exciting – for Cairo. Lahore was out of position right out of the gate with a number of players showing seconds before game time, and as a result Cairo put a mercy number on Lahore in the 1st and 5th innings, respectively. Cairo was firing on all cylinders throughout the game including over the yard blasts from Hassan Khan and Tamour Sheikh, as well as 25 hits including a 5 for 5 game from Saad Husain. Lahore top of the line-up couldn’t produce much with the top 3 batters – GM Aftab Sheikh, Amir Khalil and Asad Moten going 3 for 11 combined. The only bright spot for Lahore was the magnificent pitching by Fuzail Thakur (giving up 2 walks) which essentially went to waste. With this win Cairo can truly boast they are the team to beat; posting a 7-1-1 record with key members either getting married, or member of their family is getting married (perhaps that’s the key to a winning line-up?). Lahore is now 1-4 in their last 5, and GM Aftab Sheikh will use this game as an opportunity to re-tool his line-up.

Cairo 20 - Lahore 12

 

Lahore Vs Medina:

Lahore was looking to redeem themselves from the lambasting they received from Cairo, but, unfortunately the end result was the same. Lahore put up 3 runs in the first inning, with high-fives and smiles all around in the dugout thinking that’s all they would need against a short-handed Medina team (when are they not short-handed?) – boy were they wrong, very wrong. Medina had timely hitting across the line-up including a 5 RBI night from Tanseer “plays like he’s 30” Khawaja. We also had a glimpse Roberto Alomar fielding by Safwaan Khan – he would actually be a gold glove contender if he didn’t show up for his first game of the season on August 2 (you’re in school so it’s all good with us). Lahore wasn’t able to produce much including another lackluster outing from the top of their line up – GM Aftab Sheikh, Amir Khalil and Salim Jaichi going 3 for 9 combined. Lahore took their sorrows, their softballs and their two losses to Waton Kabab for a team dinner to strategize how they couldn’t produce more than 4 runs against Medina’s 3 outfielders (let’s all ponder that one for a moment)

Medina 13 - Lahore 4


Week 7 Games Recap

Medina vs Cordoba:

Medina started the hot, by scoring 7 in the first inning. Ismail Akhter had 2 home runs with is first 2 at bats as Cordoba was missing their pitcher yet again to start the game. However, it was a one sided game after the first innings. With Hamza Waheed at the mount, Codoba was a different team and was able to stop Medina from scoring in the last 4 innings. Cordoba put on a clinic of base hits which resulted in them scoring 23 runs in total. Cordoba was able to mercy Medina in the 6th inning with the score of 23-8. Medina has the ability to match any team offensively but they were missing one of the league best Short stop, Hassan Chaudhry which is causing defensive gap. The next time these two team meet, it can be a showstopper.

Medina 8 @ Cordoba 23

 

Cordoba vs Lahore:

Cordoba faced Lahore in their second game of the double header.  Cordoba came in hot after putting up 23 runs in their previous game. However, Lahore with the league best defense was able to slow Cordoba down. 
Cordoba chipped in a few runs almost every innings to gain a slight lead of 12-8 at the end of 6th inning. Top of 7th Cordoba put in 4 more runs to take the lead of 16-8. Lahore, had a small run in their last inning, but it was too little and too late. This game only had cumulative two homes run and both teams will need their big bats to step up. Lahore with a double header next week will need to chip in runs to support their great defence. Cordoba on the other hand would love to continue their streak as they have not lost since 0-4 start.

Cordoba 16 @ Lahore 11

 

Cairo vs Istanbul:

A short handed Istanbul entered this game knowing that they had their work cut out for them. Missing key players Zain Malik and Riyad Ramjaun at short stop and Pitcher respectively the squad opted to add BSL veteren and everyones favouroute friendly lawyer Omar Chaudhry to the mix. Unfortunately there is only so much an A lister like Omar can do when the majority of the squad are playing positions that they are not use to.  Istanbul were able to put up 8 runs with the help of 3 home runs from Omar Chaudhry, WK, and Imran Choudhry (first of his career). Cairo responded with 23 runs of there own, with home runs courtesy of Abdullah Akhter, Home run leader Ali Chaudhry and a Grand Slam by Saad Husnain

 

This Game is our featured game of the week, Click here to watch the game!

Cairo 24 @ Istanbul 8


Week 6 Games Recap

Lahore vs Istanbul:

Game 1 of this weeks match up featured Lahore and Istanbul. This match up had the potential to be an exciting game but we all know that's not what happened here.

As the away team, Lahore was up to bat first and quickly showed Istanbul what a mountain they would have to climb if they wanted to stay in this game. Istanbul started off extremely flat not doing much to help their chances in this game. Maybe this was a part of their game plan? Maybe they planned to come out firing in the final few innings as they are known to do? Or maybe this would turn into an old fashioned beat down by a team that wanted to prove to the league that they are the best despite what their record suggests (2nd place).  

The game summary is simple for Istanbul. On this embarrassing evening, only 4 players had 1 hit each and the rest layed a goose egg. On the other hand, we have an emerging star in Fuzail Thakur who nailed his 3rd homerun bringing in 2 RBI's along with some intense pitching, paralyzing Istanbuls entire roster. Lahores GM showed why he is the team leader as he consistently placed the ball in oppo field. Overall everyone batted well and found the gaps in this game. Istanbul was down a key fielder in the outfield as Hamid Malik was away on a last minute urgent call from his wife. I think they were out of rotti's and he had to miss the game to provide for his family. In any case, that would have made no difference in this game as Lahore, for lack of a better term simply just sat on Istanbul. Istanbul's catchers couldn't even throw the ball back to their pitcher, as they kept missing him on overthrows or short throws constantly throwing Riyad Ramjaun's focus off. We have seen some potential from Istanbul but on some nights they look like they are out there star gazing rather then fielding. Any spectators watching this game would think these 2 teams belong in completely different tiers. 

Its not too late for Istanbul to turn things around as they have plenty of potential but, they will need to go back to the drawing board to see where and how they can improve. If they keep this up, they might as well join an all ladies slow-pitch team as they could possibly dominate big time. Or, they can start to take things seriously, rally behind their captains and get ready for a major run proving themselves as real threats to win the league. Now the question is, which Istanbul team will show up for the remainder of the season? Stay tuned

This Game is our featured game of the week, click here to watch!

Lahore 23 @ Istanbul 2

 

Istanbul vs Medina:

Game 2 of week 6 was a match Medina wanted to take as Istanbul has had their number all season long. Istanbul has hit a bit of a slump as of late but was looking to rebound against a familiar foe who they managed to steal 2 games from in very tightly contested games. Both times these teams squared off, Medina fell short by 1 point including an incredible 10 point comeback by Istanbul in the final 2 innings. Although Medina didn’t have their full squad, they weren’t prepared to stand around and take a beating. Coming off a win against Cairo the prior week, Medina was looking to make a statement.
 
Istanbul looked like a different team in their double header as they jumped up to a 2-0 lead right off the bat.  It didn’t take Medina long to get their bats working as they quickly turned that 2-0 deficit into a 5-0 lead. Medina opened up the game with grand slam by Ismail Akhter which helped put them up by 2. As the game progressed, they took a sizable lead which put a lot of pressure on Istanbul. After making 2 deep catches in the 4th inning, Hamid Malik stepped into a solo homer for his 3rd on the year which seemed to wake up some of Istanbul’s batters. Istanbul’s bats have been known to wake up late as they have been chasing scores for the majority of the season and this game was no different. It didn’t make a difference to Medina as they kept their foot on the gas and continued to steadily increase their lead. Istanbul’s AGM who took a bullet of a hit off his hand in the previous week, played through his injury as his hand was throbbing all game long. He has been Istanbul’s most consistent hitter but wasn’t able to find a rhythm this game before eventually sitting out in the final inning. Arif Iqbal had a nice base hit to first but had to waddle his way to first as he injured his Quad. Despite the injuries Istanbul seemed poise to wake up from their 4 inning long nap and finally get in the game.  Istanbul rallied back with 6 runs in the 5th inning hoping to carry that momentum into the open inning where they would hope to steal another game from Medina. Zain Malik had a big time triple in the final inning which brought in 2 RBI’s. This served as a reminder for Medina that they really cant sleep on Istanbul until the fat lady sings. As Istanbul tried closing the gap it really was too little too late as each out brought them closer to the inevitable loss.

Ismail Akhter paved the way for Medina with 2 giant homer’s and 6 RBI’s taking the lead league in that category meanwhile Captain Mo Kala was up to his usual antics keeping their outfield guessing as to where he might place the ball next adding 3 RBI's in this win. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Hamid Malik brought in 3 RBI’s for Istanbul and Zhakki Bhatti brought in 2 of his own going 1/3 at bat. Baseer Yaseen was 4/4 and has been very consistent as of late.Imran chaudry is slowly emerging as a somewhat consistent batter as he went 3/3 with n RBI this game. 
 
It is obvious that Istanbul has some work to do both on offence and defensive but when in full form they are a force to be reckon with. Stay tuned to see bow Istanbul adjusts as we enter the second half of the season. Medina has had a slow start to the season with some tough luck but don't be surprised if they force their way to the top. This team is just getting warmed up. 

Istanbul 12 @ Medina 17

 

Cairo vs Cordoba:

Cordoba, on a two game streak faced a shorthanded Cairo team. Cairo’s GM and AGM were drinking cocktail's (hopefully halal) at a wedding while Miqdad Jaffer led the charge. Cordoba with the full 13 man roster were looking to continue their streak but Cairo playing long ball game, put up 13 run in the first 6 inings. Cordoba rallied back in the bottom of the 6th by scoring 6 runs and tying the game. However, Cairo put up 3 more run to take the lead. Ahmed Butt delivered a clutch homerun to tie the game. The game ended in a tie with cumulative 7 homeruns by Neal Irfan, Abdullah Akhtar, Tamour Sheikh, Cairo’s substitute, Bilal Javed, Ahmad Ahmed and Ahmed Butt

Cairo 16 @ Cordoba 16


Week 5 Games Recap

Istanbul vs Cairo:
 
Last time these 2 teams faced off, Cairo had their way with Istanbul. This time however, Istanbul made all the right adjustments and were ready for fight. Istanbul was coming off their second win in a tightly contested game and were trying to build off that energy. Cairo had been unstoppable coming into this game winning all their games and looking to maintain that perfect record.
 
This game started off with fireworks as Istanbul quickly took a lead thanks to Waseem Kala’s 3 run dinger. His first of the season with hopefully many more to come. That lead was quickly diminished as Cairo went into cruise control for the next few innings lead by a 3 run Ali Chaudry homerun. Abdullah Akhter contributed with 3 incredible hits raking in 4 RBI’s while Miqdad Jaffer going 3 of 4 at bat contributing with 2 RBI’s. On Istanbul’s side, Hamid Malik and Zaki Bhatti combined for 0/6 at bat combining for only 1 RBI. Their team mates had to pick up their slack as Istanbul would need all the help they could get.  Imran Qureshi, Jav Ahmed, Imran Choudhry and Riyad Ramjaun were perfect on this night combining for a total of 12 for 12 at bat bringing in a total of 8 RBI’s and 2 walks.
 
Fast forward to the last inning where Istanbul was down by 6. These boys rallied back to the tie the game with the winning out at 2nd. With the final hit in this inning, Riyad tried to beat the throw to home for the win but fell a couple of steps short sending this game into extra action. Due to time restrictions, next player to cross home plate would end the game without giving the opposing team a chance. Cairo was up to bat first, looking to seal the deal in this inning and maintain that undefeated record but Istanbul was standing their ground with the “your gonna have to kill me to get through me” attitude. With one out, Istanbul had a chance to make an easy snag in the outfield but the ball was fumbled leading to an extra base. That would prove costly as the next batter smashed the ball in the gap allowing the runner at 2nd to sprint home to beat the throw. Game over!! Cairo wins this one in a thriller and ends Istanbul’s night in heartbreak!   
 
This loss was mainly on Istanbul themselves as they made several errors on the defensive end missing some easy outs by just fumbling the ball. If Istanbul can clean up their fielding a bit and keep their bats rolling, they can be very quietly become the dark horse in this league.

Istanbul 15 @ Cairo 16

 

Cairo vs Medina:

During this video Featured game, the once undefeated mighty Cairo was finally brought down to their knees as the "Titan Killer" Medina brought their A game to this bought. Ismail Akhter lead the charge against the titans going 2/3 for the night with a home run, bringing in 6 Runs! GM Mohamed Kala also had a stellar night going 3 for 4 bringing in 3 runs as well. Hassan "Super Mario" Chaudhry was great offensively and defensively as he showed his brother Ali just how great of a short stop Hassan can be. The game can be seen here on youtube: Cairo @ Medina

This Game is our featured game of the week, click here to watch!

Cairo 4 @ Medina 11

 

Lahore vs Cordoba:

Cordoba Came out firing on all cylinders looking for their first win in week 5. Cordoba or "Cobra" as the team refers to themselves came out with a new team motto: “Strike First, Strike Hard and No Mercy”. Lahore was only able to put up a single run in the first inning while Cordoba responded with 4 runs courtesy of their top. Cordoba struck hard again in the bottom of the 3rd inning by putting up another unanswered 4 runs. Hamza Waheed was stellar on the mound by striking out 7 lahorians. Cordoba responded with some long ball by way of Ahmad Ammad hitting a blast to straight away centre, almost making it to Mississauga Rd Lahore showed very little life in this one, a far cry from their normal selves until the last inning when Lahore was able to conjure up 4 runs, courtesy of Omar Khans First BSL Home run. The contest ended with Cordoba earning their first 

Lahore 6 @ Cordoba 10

 

Cordoba vs Istanbul (Week 3 make up Game):

Cordoba still hungry from their first win, squared off against Instanbul Sunday July 22, a day normally reserved for BSL Sundays. Many of the guys on both teams played two games already and had to really fill up on Popeye's Chicken to get ready for their 3rd game of the day. Cordoba had more to prove to themselves and the league that they were not chump change, while Istanbul with a nail biting loss against Cairo a few days prior were ready to stomp on the Cobras. Unfortunately in the first few innings, a rocket hit by Abdul "Hulk" Butt down the middle was palmed by Riyad Ramjaun leaving him with excruciating pain. This forced him to leave the game and allow back up pitcher Taqi Ahmed to enter the hot spot. Cordoba took advantage of this pitcher change and walked a total of 11 times during the course of the game. During the last inning with two outs, an Istanbul fighter thought to even the score by shooting down the middle himself with a rocket of his own. Unfortunately For Hamza Waheed, starter pitcher for Cordoba, who was trying to catch the ball also palmed it resulting in him leaving the game also. Zain Malik was interviewed after the game and assured the league that this was not intentional. Bilal Javed stepped up to the mound as a relief pitcher. With two outs and down by 8 Istanbul hoped to start a rally and also take advantage of Cordoba's pitcher switch. Taqi Ahmed came up to the plate and swung on the first down the middle pitch, popping it up and ending the game. We caught up with both pitchers, and both were medically cleared to play the next game by their medical staff. Cordoba, a win less team a few days prior now has a win streak of 2. Cordoba 20 @ Istanbul 12


Week 4 Games Recap

Istanbul vs Medina:

Game one of week 4 featured a rematch of a week 2 thriller that saw Istanbul shock Medina in a 22-21 offensive outburst. However, Istanbul looked to bounce back after a lopsided loss to Cairo in week 3. Meanwhile, Medina was looking to pick up their second win of the season.

The game started out as a close affair, with both teams scoring four runs in the first inning. The following two innings went scoreless for both teams before Istanbul cashed in five runs at the top of the fourth inning, only to be answered by two Medina runs in the bottom of the frame. Going into the bottom of the 6th inning, Istanbul held a 9-6 lead. Medina was poised for a comeback, as they scored four runs in the bottom half to take a 10-9 lead. That’s where the Medina rally caps would come off though as Istanbul popped in a quick two runs in the 7th inning that Medina was unable to answer on, giving Istanbul another close win with a final score of 11-10.

Istanbul’s bats were fired up again after a quiet week 3, with Hamid Malik bringing in four RBIs on his own. Meanwhile, Riyad Ramjaun had an efficient game going 2/3 with a double, a walk and a sacrifice. On the pitching end, he slowed down on the strikeout front K-ing only two while walking five. Baseer Yasseen continued his hot play going 3/4, but no extra base hits. Speaking of which, Istanbul remarkably was able to pull off this win with only two extra base hits all game. Zain Malik had an off game, batting just 1/4 but picking up a walk along the way. After the game, Zain was seen getting his shoulder assessed by league medical personnel. There’s no word yet if Zain will miss any action due to his injury, but the competitor that he is - its unlikely. 

For Medina, Ismail Akhter was back to his usual ways crushing two home runs on route to bringing in half of the teams total RBIs. Ismail now has 3 home runs on the season to go along with 12 RBIs. Umair Wasim also went yard and cashed home four RBIs of his own. Hassan Chaudhry and Ahmad Hussain both took walks but combined to go just 2/4 in the game with only one extra base hit. 

Defence was ultimately the problem for Medina this game, committing five errors, which was surely costly in a game which ended by a difference of just one run. On the bright side, Tanseer Khawaja was able to strikeout five batters while throwing just 14 balls the entire game in the losing effort.

 

Lahore vs Medina:

Lahore came into this game feeling confident as the second best team in the league while Medina was coming off a tough one-run loss to Istanbul in the first game of their double header of week 4. 

Lahore came out of the gate looking for runs against a fatigued Medina squad. Despite getting on base, however, they were only able to cash in four runs in the first four innings. Nevertheless, their defence kept them in the game to take a respectable 4-1 lead into the top of the fifth inning. Queue Fuzail Thakur: already throwing a gem of a came from the mound (in which he would strikeout 5) “Fuzzy” stepped to the dish and ripped a home run to help Lahore bust open a six run inning. Fuzail would end the game with two home runs, a double and four RBIs to earn player of the game honours. Khuram Channa also chipped in batting 2/3 with a triple and 3 RBIs. Medina looked to make yet another late game comeback scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but it would not be enough as Lahore would emerge victorious 11-7 and improve to 3-1.

Medina GM Mohamed Kala decided to take the leadership role when his team was down and crushed a three run shot for his first home run of the season. It wouldn’t be enough, however, and the loss raises questions about how Medina will shake up their lineup while Hassan Chaudhry misses a few games due to personal comittments.

Medina’s record thus far hasn’t represented the type of team BSL analysts had projected them to be. However, with some fire power in the bats and some tightening of the defensive screws, they’re still a dangerous team. Meanwhile, Lahore continues to find ways to win, having beat every team in the league besides first place Cairo. GM Aftab Sheikh has let his team’s game do the talking as trash talk from the green shirts has quieted in most BSL chat rooms.

 

Cairo vs Cordoba:

In a rematch of their meeting on opening day, Cairo and Cordoba faced off with opposite records. Cairo looked to stay undefeated after a confidence boosting win against Istanbul in week 3 while Cordoba was still looking to pick up their first win of the season.

It was bad news for Cordoba right off the bat, unfortunately, as pitcher Hamza Waheed was unable to play due to personal reasons. Shortstop Bilal Javed was called upon to take the mound while Yousaf Chaudhry took over at short. 

Cairo picked up right where they left off in week 3, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by Ali Chaudhry’s fourth home run of the season. However, Cordoba answered back with a six run inning of their own in the top of the third including home runs from Bilal Javed and Shahid Saya. Headed to the bottom of the 5th inning, Cairo held a 9-7. Ali Chaudhry hit another home run while Hassaan Khan went yard for a three run shot. That brought the Cairo shortstop to five home runs in the last two games! With the bases loaded, Yasser Malik ripped a line drive to the warning track to bring home the seventh run of the inning. The drama didn’t end here, however, as Cordoba clawed back to score five runs in the 6th to close the gap to 16-12. In the top of the 7th inning, Cordoba tried to rally again, scoring a run to cut the lead to 16-13. With 2 outs, Akif Waheed (who was having a great game himself) stepped to the plate and crushed a high fly ball to the warning track. Playing it off a bounce, centre fielder Yasser Malik fired a laser to cut-off man Ali Chaudhry who one-hopped a throw to catcher Imran Haq to gun down the runner at home plate to end the game.

Cordoba demonstrated perseverance in this game and showed off their ability to be an offensive powerhouse. However, consistency in the lineup and better judgement on the defensive side of the ball will be the key to help turn Cordoba’s season around. Ahmad Ammad made an impressive catch at third base and also put his improved accuracy on display while making plays to first. Ammad should be looked upon to take a leadership role on this team given his offensive abilities and defensive growth.

Meanwhile, Cairo improves  to 4-0 on the season and has beaten every team except Medina, who they take on in week 5. First overall pick Miqdad Jaffer has slid in well into the third spot batting 3/4 while also making key defensive plays in the field. Abdullah Akhter also batted well going 2/3 with a home run and a double. 

On the pitching end, Bilal Javed made his debut as pitcher on in a last minute lineup change. Javed pitched well, throwing 53 strikes and striking out one. Zia “Doc” Beg had his work cut out for him against an offensive Cordoba team but threw 74 strikes while striking out five.

 

This Game is our featured game of the week, click here to watch!

 


Week 3 Game Recap

Cairo Vs. Istanbul

The early game to kick off week 3 featured Cairo vs Istanbul. Cairo was coming off a close but convincing victory against team Lahore while Istanbul was riding the momentum from week 2 in which they displayed an offensive outburst against Medina and ran away with a one run walk-off victory. Istanbul has a strong group of players and can catch fire in a hurry, so Cairo was coming into this game on their heels for what was considered a key matchup.

As the game began, Cairo came out firing and pumped out 6 runs in the top of the first inning. Lead off man Yasser Malik reached third base while Half Sohail - seemingly unphased by the pressure of being moved up into the second spot - ripped a liner to centre field. First overall pick Miqdad Jaffer followed up with a line drive of his own before Ali Chaudhry slapped a three-run home run- his first of the season - to get the action going. Knowing what Istanbul was capable of offensively given their performance in week 2, Cairo didn’t ease up in the second inning, scoring 7 runs and bringing the lead to 13-2 after two frames! Cairo was able to circle through their lineup fast enough for Ali Chaudhry to smack another shot to deep left field, which cleared the fence for another three-run shot.

Istanbul showed some signs of fight with Jav Ahmed hitting a triple and Imran Choudhry going for a double. Unfortunately however, Istanbul couldn’t keep the bats going as neither of them would cross the plate. Waseem Kala and Naveed Yousaf would bat perfect in the game but would only combine for one RBI and would never cross the plate for any runs. Zaki Bhatti was unable to keep his hit streak alive going 0/2 with 0 RBIs - just one week after a 7 RBI game. Baseer Yaseen continued to contribute for Istanbul hitting a double into the gap for one of only four Istanbul extra base hits. It is obvious that Istanbul has one of the most potent offences in the league, but were perhaps unprepared for a suffocating Cairo defence.

After surrendering only 5 runs in week 2, Cairo only surrendered a total of three runs to Istanbul on 10 hits, making quick work of them as the game lasted only 5.5 innings. The mercy rule was eventually called as Cairo rolled to a 21-3 victory. The win was highlighted by 3 home runs by Cairo shortstop and AGM Ali Chaudhry, each of them being three run shots for a total of 9 RBIs! Meanwhile, Cairo looked defensively sound once again, committing zero errors throughout the game. Tamour Sheikh finally got his bat going, joining Abdullah Akhter who both went 2/3 for the game. Baseball convert Imran Haq continues to find ways to get on base while he works out his swing mechanics, reaching on an error as well as on a fielder’s choice; however, he would cross the plate both times to score runs. Saad Hasnain crushed two base hits in the last spot, which was key in turning over the Cairo lineup.

Some positive news for Istanbul is that Pitcher Riyad Ramjaun has improved his accuracy on the mound, throwing 64 strikes and 24 balls in just 5 innings despite the crushing defeat. Meanwhile, Zia “Doc” Beg picked up the win to go along with 2 strikeouts and 39 strikes.

Some key players from this game made headlines on the stat page after week 3 also, with Istanbul Pitcher Riyad Ramjaun taking the lead for strikeouts, topping all league pitchers with 7. Meanwhile, Cairo Pitcher Zia Beg lowered his ERA to 4.8 and creeps closely behind Riyad with 6 strikeouts. Zain Malik leads the league in batting average at 0.875 as well as and on base percentage of 0.900. Ali Chaudhry takes over the home run and RBI lead with 3 and 9, respectively, catching up to the pack in a single game’s work. 

Despite the lopsided score, these are clearly two talented teams that are sure to provide further entertainment value the next time they meet.

 

Note: The 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm games were rained out. Stay tuned for further details regarding these games.


Week 2 Game Recaps

Cordoba Vs. Lahore

Cordoba came into their week two matchup looking for their first win of the season after a disappointing couple of losses in week 1 against Medina and Cairo. Meanwhile, Lahore was coming off a hot week 1 start and was looking to remain undefeated in the first game of their week 2 doubleheader.

Cordoba started the game out strong, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning which was perhaps a sign of good things to come. Unfortunately, however, Cordoba failed to score more than two runs in an inning for the remainder of the game. Lahore meanwhile were able to capitalize on a five run fourth inning which would ultimately be the difference maker in this tight-knit affair.

For Cordoba it was the usual suspect Ahmad Ammad cashing in a home run for the team. Uncharacteristically, Yousaf Chaudhry batted a dismal 0/3 for the game and was part of the reason Ahmad’s home run was a solo shot. Akif Waheed picked up the slack for his team crushing his first home run of the season and picking up three RBIs. This is where the good news ends for Cordoba, however, as the two home runs from Ahmad and Akif were the only extra base hits for the team all game. 

Meanwhile, Lahore cashed in their runs with five extra base hits, including a home run for Salim Jaichi who tallied three RBIs and earned the first star of the game. Khizer Channa had two doubles and a triple for the game, putting up a perfect batting line along with two RBIs. 

Despite how close the score was in this game on paper it was not much of a pitching duel. Although both Hamza Waheed and Fuzail Thakur threw impressive games, they only combined for three strikeouts, and both threw under 50 strikes for the game. Fuzail kept his ERA under 10, while Hamza Waheed made an improvement from week one. 

 

Lahore Vs. Cairo

Lahore stepped onto the field for game two of their double header after an assuring win against a potent, but underachieving, Cordoba team. Lahore looked to stay undefeated against Cairo who was coming off big win of their own against Cordoba in week 1.

Behind the scenes there was much hype surrounding this game as there were pre-game rumours swirling about who the best defensive team in the league was, with Lahore’s name popping up in several BSL chat rooms. The hype was short-lived, however, as Cairo came out red hot on the defensive side of the ball. Neal Irfan made three spectacular backhand catches on hard hit balls to the warning track, while Imran Haq made an impressive foul-tip catch behind the plate. Ali Chaudhry was up to his usual tricks at shortstop, showcasing his range as well as his throwing accuracy. For the second week in a row Cairo made two impressive relay plays from the outfield to shortstop to home to gun down any potentially scoring runs.

Lahore didn’t have a poor defensive game, per se, but some costly misreads on Cairo batters cost them. With the bases juiced, Neal Irfan crushed a bases clearing triple in the fourth inning over the head of the Lahore left fielder. Meanwhile, Aftab Sheikh mishandled a few hard hit balls at short, perhaps fatigued on the back end of the double header. 

Shamil Khadaroo and Amir Khalil continued to demonstrate why they were Lahore’s first two picks in the draft, combining to bat 5/7 with a couple of RBIs (which were hard to come by in this game). Khuram and Khizer Channa combined to bat 6/7 and brought in three RBIs. Unfortunately, Lahore will need more firepower from the bottom of their lineup in order to score more than 5 runs in a game. Meanwhile, Cairo seems to have been living off the bottom of their lineup offensively so far, with Imran Haq batting 2/3 and and Harris Shahzad picking up a walk and a hit in the game.

Zia Beg played a key role in Cairo’s week 2 win. The “Doc” was definitely in as he racked up 4 strikeouts on 75 strikes while only allowing two earned runs. Most impressively, Cairo shut down Lahore with zero runs in 5 out of 7 innings played on route to staying undefeated this season.

 

Medina Vs. Istanbul

The night cap of week 2 featured the showcase game of the night (one game is taped for YouTube each week), and it sure didn’t disappoint. Istanbul was hungry for their first win after a disappointing loss in week 1. Meanwhile, Medina was looking to stay undefeated behind some hot hitting and consistent pitching.

Right out of the game Istanbul looked like a completely different team than we saw in week 1, cashing in four runs in the first inning. Medina scored five runs of their own before scoring another two in the second frame. Going into the bottom of the third inning Istanbul was down 7-4 but caught fire with a 7 run inning to take the lead 11-7. Even more impressively, Medina answered back with back-to-back 7 run innings in the fourth and fifth, opening up a 21-16 lead going into the bottom of the final inning. If this game wasn’t exciting enough already, Istanbul pulled off an improbable and gutsy comeback, scoring six runs (many of them on two outs) to secure a 22-21 walk-off victory!

Isntanbul looked like a team that refused to lose on this night, scoring 22 runs on 23 hits and coming into form as more of the team they were expected to be, and not the team we all saw in week 1. Hamid Malik batted a perfect 4/4 including a home run and four RBIs. Meanwhile, Zaki Bhatti raked in six RBIs of his own while going 3/4 at the dish. GM Zain Malik batted a perfect 4/4 as well, including a triple. Meanwhile for Medina, Hassan Chaudhry continued his hot start batting a perfect 5/5 including three doubles. Umair Wasim slapped home two home runs while batting 3/4 and cashing in seven RBIs for Medina! 

This game had way too much offensive firepower from both ends, but according to GM Mohamed Kala the key defensive talking point was the play of shortstop Hassan Chaudhry. Despite the week 2 loss, there are whispers that Hassan may be making a case for himself at shortstop while older brother and Cairo AGM Ali Chaudhry continues his impressive play as well. Prior to the game and during warm ups, Hassan Chaudhry claimed that he had a “better arm” than Ali despite seeing the clinic his older brother put on in the game preceding. It is unclear if this duel spilt over into their home; however, Cairo GM Yasser Malik was quick to put friendships aside when comparing his shortstop to the likes of long time friend Hassan.

 

This Game is our featured game of the week, click here to watch!


Week 1 Game Recaps

Medina Vs Cordoba

 

The inaugural BSL Nights season kicked off with an exciting matchup between - what some GMS were calling - the top two ranked teams in the league: Cordoba Vs Medina. Cordoba came into this game with a threatening batting lineup but there remained to be questions regarding their defensive abilities. Meanwhile, Medina looked to display why they’re considered one of the better rounded teams in the league.

Expectedly, it was an offensive affair from the get go, with Yousaf Chaudhry, Ahmad Ahmad and Bilal Javed all showing off their power with home runs and a combined 6 RBIs. Unfortunately however, they  were unable to get help from the remainder of their team who only saw two other players earn extra base hits for the remainder of the game. Meanwhile, Medina displayed the ability for the top half of their lineup to get on base and bring runs home. BSL Sunday veteran and Medina Assistant GM Hassan Chaudhry took home the second star of this game with his 2/4 performance, picking up a double, triple and walk with a couple of RBIS. Ismail Akhter had the sole home run for Medina but was able to cash in 5 total RBIS for the game. 

Although Cordoba GM Yousaf Chaudhry has never doubted any of his picks on draft day, the thought in many spectators’ minds surely included the fact that Ismail Akhter slipped under Cordobas radar and was drafted instead by Medina back in June. Although it was just one game, Cordoba might have liked to have Akhter’s 5 RBIs on their side in this affair.

GM Mohamed Kala was able to cash in 5 RBIs of his own for Medina, while Tanseer Khawaja went 3/4 with an RBI to go with his three strikeouts while on the mound. In coming weeks it is expected that Cordoba Pitcher Hamza Waheed will show improvement with his bat, but was able to show off his improved pitching skills while picking up two strikeouts and 62 total strikes in this game alone.

Despite pre-season rumblings that Cordoba had one of the best two way teams in the league, it was clear after this game that they will have to be more defensively sound in order to compete with power hitting teams such as Medina. Meanwhile, despite their offensive onslaught, consistency will be the determining factor in Medina’ success.

 

Cordoba Vs Cairo

Cordoba came into this game as the second game of a double header after losing their season opener to a talented Medina squad. Cordoba looked fatigued but determined to take on a fresh Cairo team that came in ready to prove their skeptics wrong. Cairo was ranked by some fellow GM’s in the pre-season as (at best) the 3rd best team in the league, so it’s safe to say they had some doubts to address. 

For the most part of this game, both teams played competitive levels of offence. With a home run by Bilal Javed, Ahmad Ammad and some solid base hitting, Cordoba was able to stay at pace with Cairo for the majority of the game. However, they only held the lead for one half of an inning, going up by three runs before Cairo busted the lead open with a six run inning. Cairo’s six run inning was highlighted by solid base hitting from the bottom of their lineup before the bases were cleared by GM Yasser Malik on an opposite field line drive which ultimately brought him home on some lacklustre defensive play on the part of Cordoba. Shortstop and Assistant GM Ali Chaudhry took two walks for the game and was cleaned up by the likes of ageless wonder Hassaan Khan, who picked up two RBIS in the game. Abdullah Akhter showed his speed on the base paths pulling two doubles, while Neal Irfan cashed in an RBI with a double of his own.

Shahid Saya made his BSL debut for Cordoba with three doubles. Unfortunately none of his hits came with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile for Cairo, Half Sohail, Saad Hasnain and Imran Haq made their BSL debuts combining for 4 RBIS on 4 hits.

Pitcher Hamza Waheed showed signs of improvement for team Cordoba, hitting the plate at will and also making several defensive plays with confidence. Meanwhile, Zia “Doc” Beg had a fine game of his own, hitting the corners of the plate at will and turning two double plays. Not only did both pitchers make strong early cases for gold glove awards, but they were confident with their bats as well.

Cordoba ultimately lost their matchup versus Cairo due to costly defensive miscues. Meanwhile, although Cairo was guilty of a few errors of their own, they demonstrated their ability to make a defensive stand when needed, particularly in the final inning in which they tallied a quick three outs to secure the win. Assistant GM and shortstop Ali Chaudhry made tough defensive plays look routine while Bilal Javed had a tough day between the bags for Cordoba. Most impressively, Abdullah Akhter and Ali Chaudhry combined for two relay plays from left field to home, while Yasser Malik and Hassan Khan relayed in a play from centre field to second, recording outs on all three occasions.

Notably, Cairo was playing without the league’s first overall pick in Miqdad Jaffer. When Jaffer returns to the lineup in week 2, Cairo hopes to continue their hot start against team Lahore. Meanwhile, team Cordoba hoped for a better start to the season and will be hungry for a win in week 2, when they too play Lahore.

 

Lahore Vs Istanbul (VIDEO FEATURED)

 

In the night cap of week 1, team Istanbul took on team Lahore. The game began as a pitching dueller the first couple of innings until Shamil Khadaroo broke the game open with a grand slam. From there, team Lahore’s bats woke up along with several defensive miscues by Istanbul, giving Lahore a comfortable lead going into the final innings. 

Amir Khalil demonstrated why he’s an ideal lead-off man for Lahore as he went 2/2 in the game, slapping a double and a triple, while also taking two walks and showing off his speed on the bases. GM Aftab Sheikh struck out and reached base on an error but was still able to cash in 3 RBIs in this, relatively, low scoring affair. 

In the last inning, Istanbul’s bats finally woke up too with Baseer Yaseen crushing a three run home run. With the tying run on deck, Istanbul ran out of gas and could not complete the comeback. 

On the pitching front, after what some were calling a pitching controversy on team Lahore, Fuzail Thaukur aka “Fuzzy” threw a total of 47 strikes while picking up three strikeouts in his debut. Meanwhile for Istanbul, Riyad Ramjaun three 42 strikes while striking out four in the loss.

Defensively, GM Zain Malik tried to set the tone for team Istanbul by making some impressive plays at shortstop, including a backhanded stab and tag on reportedly concussed Salman Hoda. Team Lahore was issued a warning from the commissioner’s office on Friday morning after failing to clear Hoda through the league’s medical protocol and preventing him from playing the league minimum of two innings in the field.

Team Lahore completed week 1 with a win while Istanbul will look to  carry momentum from the last inning into next game. 

Video Feature Presentation of this game | Click to View


Team Outlook: Istanbul

Istanbul:


Team Istanbul comes into the inaugural season of BSL Nights with a lot of potential and promise and is led by GM Zain “One Direction” Malik.  Zain has been passed over as GM in the Sunday BSL league and will use BSL Nights as his coming out party to BSL management.  Unlike other teams in the league, Zain opted not to select a bigger bat as his AGM but instead went the defensive route and selecting a pitcher and former BSL teammate Riyad Ramjaun.  Riyad has had a steady BSL career but will look to take his pitching skills to the next level in BSL Nights and cement himself as one of the best.  Unfortunately, things did not start off great as team Istanbul were awarded the last pick in the draft; to further add salt to the wound, Riyad’s car broke down on the way to the draft while Zain had to draft without his AGM.

Draft Analysis: Istanbul chose to go the familiar route and drafted friends and family for most of the draft, hoping that team chemistry and comradery will give them that advantage over others.  Not wasting any time, Istanbul quickly added 2 big veteran bats in WK and Imran Qureshi with their top 2 picks.  WK is coming off a championship season in which he also picked up a gold glove and a playoff MVP and will hope to continue that trend of dominance.  In a surprising move, Istanbul selected All-Star pitcher Zia Beg in the 5th round.  While most were left confused given the team already had an established pitcher, Istanbul in turn traded Zia Beg & Neal Irfan for power hitter Baseer Yaseen & Zaki Bhatti.  Baseer will look to rebound from an off year in BSL while Zaki will shore up Istanbul’s infield.


Strengths/Weaknesses: Unlike other teams, Istanbul will rely on small ball and defense to win games.  Zain’s older brother Hamid Malik joins BSL Nights after playing years of softball in other leagues and will be the anchor in the OF while the IF hosts multiple players who can play multiple positions.  On paper, Istanbul does not look like a power hitting team, but solid on base percentage will be the keys to success especially in front of big hitters WK, Baseer & Imran Q.  The biggest question will be how the lower part of the batting order will perform and if they can provide solid OBP.

X Factors: Jav “The Mechanic” Ahmed, joined BSL in its inaugural year and was a .500 hitter until he suffered a torn labrum injury.  After taking a year off and rehabbing, he returned last year to post another solid hitting season and if he can continue to build on that return, he could turn out to be a steal in the 3rd round.  Saoud Ramjaun could also be a huge x-factor.  Often drafted in the later rounds, there are rumblings that he is fed up and is willing to put in the work in turning his stock around.

Rumors: Istanbul is full of BSL veterans and is relying on this experience to not practice. The team's management is channeling their inner Allen Iverson and only talks about practice without actually practicing. According to confidential team sources, GM Zain Malik is too busy conducting surveys for Iftaar places a la Steve Harvey instead of putting together a team practice. In other rumours, Zayd Ramjaun is in an interesting position this season. Although he has played most of his career in RF and C, there are some murmurs he’s been working with older cousin Riyad in developing his pitching skills. This would add another element to Istanbul’s defense if Riyad’s glove can be used elsewhere while Zayd takes the mound. The team covets the versatility of Asad Moten to solidify their outfield, but the rumoured asking price was Waseem Kala. In the end, Malik took a survey to decide whether to pull the trigger on the trade, but the survey said "don't do it".

GM Aftab Sheikhs thoughts on team Istanbul: "GM Zain has put together a well cohesive group of friends and relatives. Istanbul team cohesiveness will be second to none in the league. We’ll need to keep a close eye on Waseem Kala and Imran Quershi who can change any game with one swing of the bat."

 

Zain Malik GM Interview Video


Team Outlook: Medina & Lahore

Medina:

Named after the capital city of early Islam and the Caliphate, team Medina enters the inaugural season of BSL Nights as the most experienced and, some would argue (on paper at least), the strongest team in the league. After being dismissed as a GM candidate by the honchos running the BSL Sunday league, Mohamed Kala agreed to take the job as GM of Medina with the ultimate goal of winning a Championship and to prove his BSL detractors wrong. Kala showed the rest of the league he wasn't playing around when he signed BSL Sunday league master tactician and former teammate Hassan Chaudhry as the assistant GM for Medina. After orchestrating the Chaudhry coup, refusing to trade him to team Cairo, managed by Chaudhry's best friend, and being called a snake by Cairo's GM, Kala sent out a memo advising other league executives to call him "Kala Mamba" for the pain he was going to cause teams in BSL Nights. To make matters worse for the league, the team had the opportunity to further strengthen the squad by landing the third overall pick in the draft.

Draft Analysis: Medina stacked up on BSL Sunday league veterans during the first few rounds of the draft, highlighted by the selections of Ismail Akhter, Tanseer Khawaja and Ahmed Hussain. Medina will rely on its experienced players to mentor some of the new, unknown talent on the team. In the middle rounds, Medina took a risk by not drafting BSL Sunday league players and gambling  on a shortstop, Safwan Khan, who Kala scouted extensively during the tryouts. Rounding out the remainder of the draft, Medina selected highly athletic, dual sport athletes to provide the team with positional depth and athleticism. The team also drafted 16 year old infield prodigy, Yousuf Hoda, who, with mentorship, Medina management believe has the potential to turn into an all-star in BSL Nights.

Strengths/Weaknesses: Medina will rely on the team's experience and balanced roster as the keys to success. With positional depth in both the infield and the outfield, the team has options to cover any defensive weaknesses. In addition, they possess one of the best pitchers in BSL Nights in Tanseer Khawaja, who has a habit of striking out hitters with his trickery. Although a well balanced team, Medina (on paper at least) lacks the offensive power to go blow-for-blow with some of the power hitting teams in the league. Although they have several players who will hit for average, their power hitting will ultimately come from Ismail Akhter.
 
X Factors: Ahmad Hussain is healthier and looks to have recovered from his shoulder injury in the BSL Sunday league last year. However, prior to his injury, Hussain was consistent with both bat and glove. If Hussain has fully healed, it could become real ugly for team's facing Medina. Abdu "The Shark" Sharkawy is a unique player for team Medina. Although he offers lightening quick speed and a safe glove in the infield and outfield, if The Shark is able to light things up with the bat this season (after 15 years out of the game) his speed on the base paths would be huge for team Medina.

Rumors: It is no secret that Kala covets the power bat of his cousin, Waseem Kala, to turn Medina into a force to be reckoned with. Despite repeated overtures by Istanbul offering Waseem to Medina for Ahmad Hussain and Hammad Khan, Kala did not pull the trigger because he could not agree to a second player. Although things have cooled on the trade front for team Medina, WhatsApp group chats continue to blow up linking Waseem to Medina in trade rumours. Similar rumours continue to spread at Taraweeh.

GM Yousaf Chaudhry’s thoughts on team Medina: "Mohamed Kala got extremely lucky as one of the best players in the draft, Ismail Akhtar fell into his lap. He was able to start the draft with a bang, drafting Tanseer (top pitcher), Ahmad Hussain and Safwan Khan. With Hassan Chaudhry as his Asst GM, team Medina has the best pitcher and outfield in the league. Although the draft started out to be promising, the addition of several new recruits may prove to be teams Achilles heel. With the team’s batting highly reliant upon Ismail Akhtar and new talent, their success is at risk.  Adding fuel to the fire Hasan Chaudhry is expected to miss several weeks of playtime. Team Medina is looking to add the much needed batting power of Waseem Kala via trade that will make them a force to be reckoned with. Rumours of trades are echoing at every Tarawih."

Mohamed Kala GM Interview Video

 

Lahore:

Team Lahore hopes to live up to its namesake city which has a historic Islamic history dating back to the 1100s. GM Aftab Sheikh had a goal of putting together his ‘Rexdale’ team which made its debut during the BSL Charity Tournament back in August 2017, however will this teams fate meet the same underwhelming end? His Assistant GM Salim Jaichi played one season in BSL Sunday and hopes to build on his offensive prowess.

Draft Analysis: GM Aftab continued with well known picks from BSL Sunday including Amir Khalil and Asad Moten. Lahore pulled off a blockbuster trade when GM Yasser from Team Cairo unexpectedly took Shamil Khadaroo in the 2nd round. Lahore had a panic attack fearing a key ingredient would be missing and then traded rookie prospect Abdullah Akhter in return of the same.

Strengths weakness: The key strengthens for Team Lahore will their ability to be a cohesive team, which Aftab believes to be the best in the league. Majority of the picks are close friends so making in-game adjustments will be much easier. With several gold gloves on the team there defensive will likely be the best in the league. A key area of opportunity will be their offensive towards the bottom half of the line up. As well, there early pitching controversy seems to have cleared up but still remains a question mark with Fuzail taking the mound.

X Factor: The x-factor for Team Lahore will be their defense. In addition to the gold glove of GM Aftab, they have an outfield to be reckoned with. Asad Moten, Khuram Channa and Shamil Khadaroo round out key positions. Also new additions to BSL Omar, Mohammad and Bilal are definite x-factors in a well balanced Lahore squad.

Rumors: GM Aftab was active on draft day with securing a key piece of Team Lahore, Shamil Khadaroo. There was a serious offer in a 3 way trade with Istanbul and Medina nothing materialized in the end. Also, there are whispers that aGM Salim will be sporting a Small Sized number 10 jersey in hopes of bringing increased attention to his supposed masculine body. In other news, Lahore GM Aftab has already made championship dinner reservations at Lahore Tikkah House (LTH), where Aftab and Salman Hoda will be footing the bill for any BSLer that would like to attend.

GM Mohamed Kala’s thoughts on team Lahore:  “Aftab drafted a team of his boys from Rexdale. I didn't know we allowed gangsters in the BSL? Although Lahore has some quality players, the new guys will have to come through consistently in order for Lahore to be competitive. I'm still perplexed by Aftab's ill advised decision to overpay by trading Abdullah Akhtar to Cairo in a trade for Shamil Khadaroo especially when Shamil will be missing numerous games and could have been had for less. It has also come to my attention there is a pitching controversy in Lahore. Aftab has three capable pitchers in Amir Khalil, Fuzail Thakur and the pitching machine, and it'll be interesting to see which one he chooses when Medina faces Lahore in week 3. I do, however, have to credit him for the shrewd picks of Asad Moten and Khizer Channa who have the potential to deliver clutch hits. Despite drafting three catchers (on paper at least) he was still able to draft a decent roster. Overall, I feel his team has several defensive weaknesses and no real depth in the event a player misses significant games, but that is not my concern. I still look forward to delivering a whooping when Medina plays Lahore in week 3.”

Aftab Sheikh GM Interview Video


Team Outlooks: Cairo & Cordoba

Cairo:

Named after the sprawling Egyptian capital city, team Cairo comes into the inaugural season of BSL Nights with some promise, but also with some big question marks. Initially joining the league as a player, Yasser Malik took the job as GM with the ultimate goal of solidifying himself in BSL management lore after a somewhat disappointing offensive campaign in the 2016 BSL Sunday league. Team Cairo began making moves right out of the gate by signing BSL rookie/mystery man Ali Chaudhry as the assistant GM. The team further hit the league jackpot by solidifying the first overall pick in the draft, which quickly became a point of intimidation for Medina assistant Hassan Chaudhry, who was vacationing with Malik at the time. 


Draft Analysis: Cairo made some bold moves during the first few rounds of the draft, highlighted by selecting multi-talented baseball/softball veteran Miqdad Jaffer. Jaffer looks to make a strong return to the BSL community and will be looked upon to mentor some of the new talent on the team. Cairo also decided to take a sure bet first baseman in Zaid Ghansar, who Malik grew fond of dating back to when they shared the fields as Ayyubids in BSL 2016. Rounding out the first few rounds of the draft, Cairo selected highly recruited Lahore prospect Shamil. However, in a desperation move Lahore quickly sent rookie outfielder Abdullah Akhtar to Cairo in exchange for Shamil, a move that time will dictate the impact of moving forward. 


Strengths/Weaknesses: Cairo looks to build their success on defense. With a strong trio of outfielders in Jaffer, Malik and Akhtar. In addition, their infield will be anchored by ultra-athletic shortstop Ali Chaudhry. Zia Beg was also acquired by the team in a post draft trade, a player who's pitching resume and work ethic speak for themselves. Although a defensively sound team, Cairo (on paper at least) lacks eye-popping offensive power. Although they have several players who can regularly get on base, their power hitting will ultimately come from one, maybe two players. 


X Factors: Hassaan Khan is returning from a 13 year absence from softball. However, his mind blowing offensive numbers from his past life made him too tempting for Malik and Chaudhry to pass on. If Khan can resurrect himself as the player he once was, it could be scary. Neal Irfan also sits in a unique position for team Cairo. Although he offers a safe glove, if Neal is able to consistently get on base this season it would prove to be a difference maker for team Cairo. 


Rumors: After making a few draft day trades the rumor mill was somewhat quiet for team Cairo, until Yasser realized that his long time friend Farooq Sani is a player he probably should have drafted. The rumor is Yasser is trying to make a deal with Yousaf Chaudhry of team Cordoba for his childhood friend. 

 

GM Zain Malik’s thoughts on Team Cairo: “Team Cairo seems to have the most speed in the league and will definitely utilize this to their advantage.  As a team, we’re going to have to ensure our defense is up to its standards, otherwise, Cairo will burn you with their speed.  By trading them Zia Beg, they also have an established pitcher now but was worth it for us to pick up Baseer & Zaki.  I just hope Zia and/or Neal are not the ones who come back to bite us in the butt when playoffs roll around.  Overall, I am impressed in the team they drafted but definitely see weaknesses in their fielding we can expose”.

Yasser Malik GM Interview Video

 

Cordoba

More than a thousand years ago the Muslims conquered the Iberian Peninsula and progressed their dynasty in a new part of the world. Team Cordoba starts the inaugural season with the same enthusiasm as their ancestors. Team Cordoba is all set to conquer BSL Nights and create a legacy of their own, Yousaf Chaudhry was granted the opportunity in BSL management to step into the GM role after his successful season in the BSL Sunday league in 2017. Further, the addition of Bilal Javed as an assistant GM, slated the team in a promising position to start the draft.    

Draft Analysis: Cordoba‘s draft start with a tough decision to pass on Ismail Akhtar, and select Ahmad Ahmad as their first pick. Ahmad Ahmad brings dedication and strong work ethic which will prove to be exemplary for the Team. The rest of the draft focused on a strategy that would lead the team to a promising season. A combination of veteran softball players and promising family players was a strategy deployed by the GM.  Content with their draft no plans have been made for any future trades. 

Strengths/Weaknesses:  The primary strategy of Team Cordoba was to build a strong offense.  Several players on the team have the ability to hit the long ball which can make Team Cordoba a force to be reckoned with.. However, defense can be their primary concern as all the infielders are playing their primary position for the first time. Furthermore, their outfielder also lack experience and will be relying on newly acquired talent. The team’s GM is confident in the ability of his pitcher and expects a strong overall performance to make up for fielding vulnerabilities.      

X Factors: Shahid Saya and Farooq Sani are bringing extensive cricketing experience to the softball world which may prove to be a competitive advantage. If they can translate their skills and talent then they can make a significant impact on both ends of the field. In addition, Akif Waheed and Talal Hayat will need to step-up in the outfield to accommodate for the team’s lackluster defense.  

Rumors: Ahmad Ahmad being a strong team player, rumours are already in play about a tailored softball workout regimen for his teammates to increase the already explosive home run power of the team. A patent on this regiment is being created with the help of Kala Law. Yasser Malik has offered a trade for Farooq Sani, however Yousaf Chaudhry seems more then content with his cricketer. There is also rumors that Abdul 'HULK' Butt wants to change the team name to Cordoba Cobra's. Only time will tell if the name will stick, or if the GM will trade him for referring to him as a snake.

GM Yasser Malik’s thoughts on team Cordoba: “Yousaf drafted a competitive team. It will always remain puzzling to me why he passed on one of the best players in the league at the second pick in the draft, setting up team Medina for slipped pick after slipped pick. However, I do have to credit him that despite some of his moves being questionable, he still produced a competitive roster. I do feel that his team has several defensive liabilities and no real depth, but I guess we’ll see when we face off with them in week 1.”

Yousaf Chaudhry GM Interview Video


BSL Nights Teams

Here are the teams for 2018 BSL Nights in alphabetical order. Some trades are still being discussed so nothing is final.