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BSL Nights 2021 - Week 3 Recaps

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After some rough weather games last week, Lahore & Damascus were blessed with a beautiful day for softball on Wednesday. Both teams took their talents to Birchwood for a double header matchup.

The 1st game, unlike the weather, wasn’t beautiful at all especially for Damascus who would once again be without their star Omer ‘The Shuffle’ Chaudhry due to an undisclosed injury. Damascus has been using their collective prayers in hoping he will re-join the squad soon as he has been sorely missed both at the plate and in the field.

The game started off as a dud with no score in the 1st inning. After that the wheels fell off for Damascus (not sure if they were even on to begin with) as Lahore would score the next 12 runs, virtually putting the game away. With some good hitting from Lahore, each player having a hit in this game, and no response from Damascus, Lahore cruised to a 12-3 victory and were feeling good about the 2nd game. Ali Chaudhry, who was back in action for Lahore, almost matched Damascus in hits as he had 3 on the night while the boys in blue only managed 5 total as a team.

GM Safwan Khan has been looking for answers and rumor has it he has begun to schedule practices at the crack of dawn to get his guys going. He might need to do more though as the team is trending in the wrong direction but there’s so much ball to play it’s a ‘never give up’ mentality….for now.

Final Score: Lahore  12 vs Damascus 3


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The second game of the back to back was more competitive than the first.  However, the outcome was the same with a Lahore victory.  In this close, low scoring game, the teams duked it out defensively, albeit the teams combined for 12 errors in the game. 

Fuzzy Clemons of Lahore commanded the mound very well, giving up only 4 earned runs, and Lahore played great defensive all around, shout out to Shane, Waseem, and AliZahid P pitched a great game and is still in search of that first Win.  The DMC team needs to get more on-base in order to produce runs.  Zaqi, Adnan, Ali Nazir, AK & Safwan all had multi hit games, congrats to them and we look forward to seeing that momentum.  The play of the game was Lahore's Ali Chaudhry blasting a 3 run home run to centre field - let us tell you that this was a monster shot that sent a dagger through the hearts of DMC.  The player of the day has to go to Fuzzy Clemons of Lahore - rumour has it that while not on the mound, he was closing hot property deals from the dugout. 

Sweeping the series, Lahore looks to continue its win streak against Medina and Baghdad.  Meanwhile, Damascus drops to last in the standings...former MVP Safwan Khan looks like a shell of himself - this guy needs to get it going and the rest of the team will then follow.  Damascus takes its losing streak into a desperate win situation against Jerusalem and Cordoba.

Final Score: Damascus  6 vs Lahore 9


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The Cobras and the Cairo Camels were finally face to face this week. There were very high expectations from Cairo as they have been going strong throughout the season, even though it's still early in the season. The cobras came prepared to meet the Cario Camels as they knew that it was not going to be an easy match against this team.  

They started the match with batting first. Usama Mahmood started the match with batting first and getting the team on the board with the first run. Cario was testing the waters with Cordoba to see how good the team's bats are. The Camels retaliated as well in the next inning by putting up some more runs of their own, thanks to Shamil Khadaroo and Hassan Afzal. Those were the Only RUNs that the Camels got in as they couldn’t find any breaks in the Cobras Defense system. There were good plays put up by the Yousuf Chaudry (spare Parts Chaudry) to get some more runs but it didn’t work out that well against the Cobras Ace Pitcher Abbas Allidina, who had the Camels backed up in a tight spot the whole game. There were some good plays by the Channa Brothers ( Khizer and Khurrum), Yusuf Inger, Faisal Shamshad and Hassan Afzal but that wasn’t enough to get them a win.  

The Cobras capitalized on the pressure that the Camels were in and tried putting up runs in every inning. They found some weak spots in Cairo’s defense on the third base and outer field and managed to squeeze in runs in the 3rd and 6th innings. The seniors on the team like Hassan Chaudry and Saad Husnain both managed to get in 2 RBIs each for the cobras putting them ahead of the camels in the 3rd innings, Followed by the BUTT Brothers (Ahmed and Abdul) trailing behind with another two RBIs, winning them the game with 6 runs to 2 for the Camels. This goes to show the Cobras still have some sting in them and they work well under pressure.  Hopefully they can carry this momentum forward again in the other games moving forward.

Final Score: Cordoba 6  Cairo  2


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Cordoba Cobras were pretty pumped up to head into the next match with the Medina Badgers. Medina started the match off with putting up 4 runs in the first innings thanks to veterans Zahid Merchant and Mo Kala. The whole team had hits landing them a total of 13 runs in the game. The home runs put in by Ahmad Ammad and Suleman Mann were just the cherry on top of their victory. The Medina Badgers keep showing us that they are still the one of the best teams on paper and the field and are a tough force to reckon with. 

The Cobras tried to retaliate as much as possible with the whole team putting up a lot of runs by everyone on the team scoring at least one run, but weren’t enough to catch up with the badgers. They did come close in the 6th inning where they had put up 5 runs and it seemed that the winds were shifting in their favor. Salim Jaichi went all Arabi Style on the badgers and hit a home run to get the team pumped up which helped them to put up so many runs. Amazing defense by the All star SS Usama Mahmood who almost lost his voice screaming out defense settings and catches in the infield. Credit also goes to the pitcher Abbas Allidina who kept the Badgers down as much as possible by pitching amazing balls and avoiding homeruns as much as possible. Captain Bilal Javaid also tried his best to get the bats going by motivating his team and trying to get the Hulk out in Mr. Butt, which we didn’t get to see anything special from so far. He might be saving it for the playoffs or just isn’t getting angry enough to get a HR yet. We will have to wait and see what gets him going in the coming games. The Cobras maxed out at 7 runs in the whole game and put up a good defense against one of the tough teams in the league.

Final Score: Medina  13  Cordoba 7


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The twilight game at Birchwood pitted the early heavyweights of the season against each other. The top 2 teams entering the week, Medina came in undefeated after beating Cordoba in the previous game, while Cairo took their first L and were looking to right the ship.

The game started out as advertised with both teams getting on base & getting their big bats to drive in the runs. Cairo’s leadoff Amir Khalil, who was thought to be banged up, went a perfect 4-4 in the game. While Cairo’s star Chu would blast 2 homeruns on his way to 5 RBI’s. Although the score after 2 innings was 7-5, Cairo seemed like they were going to run away with this one. That’s when the legend that is Mo Kala decided it was time for his team to get turnt up and stop playing games while playing the game. This resulted in Medina shutting down Cairo for the rest of the game. That’s right. Cairo would not score another run in the next 4 innings, while Medina would go on to put up 11 in the next 3 innings.

Medina is looking like the real deal as they stay undefeated. Getting production out of all their guys top to bottom while their big bats are delivering. Suleman ‘the man’ Mann would go 4-4 while the one known to the team as Rangers, Shoaib Rangrez continued his steller rookie season, going for 2 doubles and driving in 5 runs in the game. Someone may have shot the sheriff, maybe even the deputy. But The Ranger…the Ranger is alive and well and looking to be the steal of the draft. Another fine scouting job by the Kala Mamba.

Final Score: Cairo 7 vs Medina  16


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Game 1 at Mississauga Valley pitted Istanbul vs. Baghdad. Baghdad looked to be the underdog in this one and were fielding only 3 outfielders, while Istanbul GM Taqi Ahmed decided to give his hand at pitching to ensure the team has a reliable backup.  In the first 2 innings, Istanbul put up 6 runs off of homeruns from their GM & AGM combo Taqi & Ismail Kara.  Not to be outdone, Baghdad stayed within striking distance to keep the game manageable.  Unfortunately, the boys in red completely forgot how to hit (especially given Baghdad only had 3 OF’s and there was so much green out there).  For the next 3 innings, Istanbul put up a whopping 0 runs.  Meanwhile, Baghdad got some timely hitting from Abdo Menla and Fahad Panchbaya, as they both combined to go 6-7 and driving in 6 runs combined.  By the end of the 5th inning, Baghdad was up 9-6 and looked to shut down Istanbul for a few more innings. 

Unfortunately, the game had some missed calls (on both sides) and the final inning saw Istanbul put up 2 more runs to bring the deficit to 1.  With 2 on and 2 out, in the top of the 6th, Istanbul flied out.  Looking to redeem themselves with 1 additional inning, the umpire called the game and Baghdad took the win 9-8.  Both teams were not informed about the 6th being the last inning and Istanbul were not too happy, however they only have themselves to blame.  With a rookie pitcher Taqi proving himself in his first pitching appearance and allowing only 9 runs, the boys in red were outscored and out hit (only managed 12 hits) against a depleted 3 man outfield and should only look into a mirror to see what the issue is.  Timely hitting has to be at the forefront of their practices going forward.  On a positive note, Taqi looked like a reliable backup pitcher.  On the flip side, Baghdad finally gets their first win of the season, and will look to build on that momentum heading into game 2.

Final Score: Istanbul 8  Baghdad 9


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Beautiful night at Valley’s Mississauga on Thursday. The 8pm game schedule was Baghdad vs. Jerusalem.

Both teams desperate for a win to get their season started. Baghdad starts the season at 0-4 and Jerusalem was 1-2-1. Baghdad got off to a hot start scoring 7 runs in the first inning, courtesy of a few home runs from Noor Zia. Jerusalem held their own in the first 2 innings and the score was 7-4. The 3rd inning is wwhen things started slipping away from Jerusalem. Baghdad popped in 5 runs in the top of 3rd inning and didn’t let Jerusalem back in the game the rest of the way. Jerusalem had bases loaded after Imran Merchant and Paygham Whahedi (PG) both got walked on 8 straight balls. Salman Ahmad had the chance to clear the bases but grounded out. Jerusalem continues to struggle defensively but came out alive in their 2nd game against Istanbul.

Baghdad ends the night with 2 wins and jumps in the standings. Noor Zia had a legendary game hitting 5 home runs, with only 3 that counted. Noor Zia still ended the night 3-5, 3HR and 10 RBI. Baghdad hopes to continue the winning streak in Week 4 and Jerusalem goes home slightly disappointed with lots to prove in Week 4.

Final Score: Baghdad 21  Jerusalem  8


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Coming off a tough loss, the Jerusalem braintrust pumped up the team to lift their spirits up. And boy did it work, Jerusalem opened up with 4 runs with timely hitting through the top. Istanbul responded, cutting into the lead by putting up 2 runs in the bottom of the first. But the second and third is when Jerusalem opened it up with 9 runs including multiple HRs from MVP candidate Paygham Whahedi, including a grand slam. The man is automatic at the plate, pitchers are worried to pitch to him! 

Istanbul cut into the lead with 4 runs in the bottom of the 4th. Ismail Kara continued to punish pitchers with a massive home run. 

Unfortunately, both teams were relatively quiet after that. Istanbul got solid performances from rookie sensation Emad Ahmed, and Umair Ali, whereas Jerusalems leader Imran Merchant finally got going, along with the fastest man in the league Umair Sheikh

Final Score: Jerusalem 17  Istanbul  10


BSL Nights 2021 - Week 2 Recaps

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The night started like any softball night, where we all worried if the game would be rained out. Alhumdulillah, the weather turned out to be quite amazing and we were able to get the games going on time. Cordoba stepped up to bat first and wasn’t able to do much damage in the first couple of innings. Going into the 5th inning, Cordoba had their best inning of the game as they put up 6 runs taking a commanding 10 – 2 lead.  Baghdad’s bats were flat all day and they couldn’t get anything going.

The lone bright spot on this night was new comer Thaya Yogachandran as he smashed his first dinger of his BSL career with a 3 run shot.  Thaya also held it down in RCF and is looking like a steal as he was taken in the 6th round. Still, Baghdad wasn’t able to do much else as Corodoba easily took this one to a tune of 12 – 5. Abdul Butt played like a super star as he smashed a nice double down left center field while Saad Husnain went 4 for 4 bringing in 4 RBI’s and put on a show in the outfield. Look for those 2 to have an excellent season especially Abdul “Smash” Butt as he recently realized his super hulk strength and isn’t afraid to show it.

Final Score: Cordoba  12  Baghdad  5


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The second game of this double header was more of less a repeat of the first game. Baghdad failed to get their bats going for most of the game as the team combined for a lousy 5 hits. Again, Thaya was the lone bright spot bringing in 2 RBI’s. On Cordoba’s side, Bilal Javed and Abbas combined for 2 dingers and 4 RBI’s which was pretty much all the offense they needed to put Baghdad away. Still, they put 13 runs to Baghdad’s 3 on the night. Only Abdo Menla had 2 hits in this game while everyone else combined for 3 hits. The heart of Baghdad’s line up combined for 1-10 at the plate in this game which in any game is unacceptable.  

Although Baghdad’s defense was sound for the most part, their bats were offline. For a team that is a power house on paper, they sure haven’t showed much of it yet. Captain Hamid Malik had a very optimistic outlook when he drafted his team and still stands firmly behind his boys. It’s a long season and by no means does this mean that Baghdad will stay down. With super veteran Nirvaan Latif controlling the mound and firmly planted in this years HR race, he will look to be a bright light in Baghdad’s quest as they look to navigate through their first season. Baghdad may be down to start the season but by no means should they be counted out. Baghdad is coming and they will start to heat up. Question isn’t if but when…

Final Score: Baghdad  3  Cordoba  13


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Not sure what’s more boring, watching paint dry for 90 minutes or the Jerusalem vs. Lahore game. It was an extremely windy day at Birchwood 1. Jerusalem showed to game 1 with one mindset, get the win and get the season rolling.

After splitting a double header in week 1, Lahore was looking to add to the win column. Unfortunately, once again team Lahore was shorthanded, with Fuzail Thakur not able to make it last minute to the 6:30pm game. Right from the start, Lahore was in shambles, already missing superstar Ali Chaudhry. With no backup pitcher on the team, Jerusalem drew 27 walks in 4 innings, which might be a new BSL Nights record, heck might be a record in any softball game ever played. The weather didn’t help, as Lahore tried 3 different pitchers to get something going. Imran Qureshi and Shane Worthington hit some homeruns to bring the game close. After that the walk marathon continued and Jerusalem took this game easily. Salman Ahmed showed up throwing consistent strikes, keeping his team ahead in the ball game. Paygham Whahedi (known as PG) couldn’t handle the walks and decided to hit 2 grand slams and ended the night 2-2, 2HR and 9 RBI’s.

Jerusalem gets a much-needed win to move up in the standings and team Lahore goes home needing to re-group and prepare to come back strong next week.

Final Score: Jerusalem 26   Lahore 10


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Cairo coming off a strong start last week looked to continue their winning ways against 1-2 Lahore. Lahore had a difficult first game in week 2 playing without a pitcher, but Fuzail Thakur was back for their second game of the day settling things on the mound.

Batting first Lahore got off to a strong start as they loaded the bases for Omar Khattab who did what he does best and blast a grand slam. With the mercy run on the bases Cairo did well to hold Lahore to a 6 run first. In the bottom of the inning Cairo got a 2 out rally going and responded with 4 runs of their own.

The game settled into a defensive battle from there, the wind was gusting and both pitchers did well to remain accurate on a tough pitching day. Outstanding defence was played on both sides, with Furqan Usman at catcher, catching out superstar Ali Chaudhry twice.

In the bottom of the 4th, Shamil Khadaroo went yard with a 3 run shot to RF. A rare opposite field homerun for the notorious inside pitch, pull hitter. There was much speculation that the breezy day allowed the ball to carry but Shamil insists it was all power.

With Cairo ahead by 1, Omar Khattab hit another 2 run bomb to give Lahore the one run lead in this back and forth affair. But in the bottom of the inning, Cairo finally got a classic Cairo inning with small ball and base hits producing 6 runs to put them ahead for good.

The game was not without its casualties as Amir Khalil collided with a teammate in pursuit of a fly ball and was shaken up. We wish Amir a speedy recovery as Cairo will need him going forward.

The win brings Cairo to 3-0, while Lahore falls to 1-3. For Lahore the biggest issue is health as GM Aftab Sheikh has had to miss games with injury, as well as a few other players who are nicked up. Lahore is confident they can turn it around once they get all their players back and rolling.

For Cairo, the continued great pitching from Hamza Waheed has only been surpassed by his bat, as he has been helping his own cause with great hitting at the plate. If he can continue this dual threat play and GM Khizer can locate his missing keeper Umair Wasim, Cairo can look to continue its run into tough games against fellow undefeated Medina.

Final Score:  Lahore 8  Cairo 13


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Rained out…

Final Score: Cairo  Jerusalem 1


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The first two innings were explosive for this tilt to start the evening at the Valley. Medina started the game off with 4 quick runs with the top of the order . Damascus would not be out done with their own 3 run inning to close out the first. The second inning is where the big boys would flex their muscles. Suleman Mann hit a grand slam to extend Medina’s lead, but Omer Chaudhry would hit one of his own to cut the lead back down to 1. Medina would then hold Damascus to 1 run in the next three innings.

With an 8 run lead heading into the open inning, Damascus would rally, putting up 5 runs. With the pressure mounting, Tanseer Khawaja would calm the nerves from the mound and shut the door on a come back. Medina extends their win streak to 3 with a 16-13 close contested battle. Rookie Zahid Panchbaya pitched his first inning in relief for Damascus, allowing only 2 runs.

Final Score: Demascus 13  Medina  16


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 The 2nd game on Valley pitted 2 undefeated teams in Medina squaring off against Istanbul.  Istanbul was welcoming the debut of 3 key players in Zain Khilji, Kashif Waheed & Riyad Ramjaun and looked to build on last weeks 2-win performance, while Medina was hot off a win earlier in the day against Damascus.  Rust proved to be a big deal, as starting pitcher Riyad Ramjaun struggled mightily in his pitching debut, and could not find his rhythm, walking 7 batters.  In addition, when they were able to make contact, Medina was hitting the ball hard and purpose, with Ahmad Ammad and Erfan Bahanapatel both going yard, while Zahid Merchant kept his foot on the gas looking to stay atop the league leading hitter, and going a perfect 3 for 3 including a big double. 

Istanbul started to fight back, with GM Taqi Ahmed and first round pick Umair Ali hitting big homeruns to make the game a bit more respectable.  Riyad was able to settle down after the 3rd inning and had a few 3 up and 3 down innings, but the horrendous start was too much to overcome for the boys in red.  Hitting seemed to also be an issue for Istanbul on this night as they managed only 9 total hits and will definitely need to produce more to remain in games. 

Mercifully, the rain clouds appeared, and a massive downfall happened during the 6th inning. After a few minutes of attempting to wait it out, the game was cancelled, and the game ended with Medina winning 13-5. Medina goes perfect again and now sits atop the league with a perfect 4-0 record, while Istanbul loses for the first time (and gained a point due to the 2nd game being called a tie). Although still early in the season, Medina looks like a force to be reckoned with and the team to beat this year.

Final Score: Medina 13  Istanbul  5


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Rained out…

Final Score: Istanbul 1  Demascus  1


BSL Nights 2021 - Week 1 Recaps

After much uncertainty and nine long months, BSLN returned for its 4th season. The boys of summer were ready to go so let’s get right to the action.

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Medina came out strong in the first game of BSL Nights with a 10-3 win over Jerusalem. Medina opened the game with a 3-run homerun from Suleman Mann in the first inning. Jerusalem would tie the game in the next inning from the top of the order. With the bases loaded in the next inning, Ahmed Ammad stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam. Medina’s pitching and defense took over from there and held Jerusalem to 4 scoreless innings. With 3 more runs in the bottom of the 5th, Medina put the game away to take the first win of the season.

Final Score: Jerusalem 3 vs Medina 10


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The second game saw Medina come out with a 7 run first inning, with hits from the top of the order. Jerusalem would come back at the bottom of the inning with 3 of their own. But Medina, kept the pressure up and put another 4 on the board with the bottom of the order coming to life. Abdul Rahim Manjra, an early candidate for Rookie of the Year had a solid debut spraying the field with hits for Jerusalem and kept them in the game with another 3-run inning. In the 4th inning, Jerusalem put the pressure on with a blast from Paygham Whahedi. With the walks piling on, Medina made a pitching change and Zahid Merchant would step on the mound to calm the nerves. Medina added 3 more to put the game away and take the Wednesday night sweep to start the season 2-0. Shoaib Rangrez another rookie; was a stud in the infield, playing multiple positions and had 2 key hits to secure the win for Medina.

Final Score: Medina 17   Jerusalem  10


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Lahore vs Istanbul kicked off the inaugural game for BSLN at Birchwood Park, home to BSL Sundays. Rookie GM Taqi Ahmed went up against vet GM Aftab Sheikh but the start of the game had you wondering who was the more expierenced one as Istanbul came out ready to play, while Lahore couldn't get much going until the last 2 innings. The game started out as a base hitting spectacle for Istanbul, as they put all 12 of their runs in the 1st 4 innings while only getting 2 XBH which included a smashing BW1 homerun by GM Taqi Ahmed. Defensively, playing without starting pitcher Riyad Ramjaun, Istanbul called up sub extraordinaire Miqdad Jaffer who held most of Lahore's batters in getting them to go .361 as a team against him with no one going yard.

Lahore waited till the 5th inning, down 12-0,  to make some noise as they put up 6 runs courtesy of hits from Ali Chaudhry, Omar Khattab & Fuzail Thakur. But it was too little too late as this game was already out of reach by then. Lahore knows their bats are too good for this kind of performance and chalk this one up to jitters and rust. On the flip side, Istanbul looked great even though they were missing starting pitcher Riyad & starting LF Zain Khilji. Look for this squad to base hit teams to death as they have a balanced squad along w/ good defense (0 errors 1st game of the season).

Final Score: Lahore 7  Istanbul  12


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Cordoba came out on the field right on the nick of time, with the captain coming in right at game time. They were under the impression that it would be a washout because of the rain. The match started and everyone got their bats swinging but no one seemed to be connecting anything. The team was still a little rusty as this was the first matchup of the season. Cordoba has a lot of promise and very good fielding, on paper, but didn’t seem to show it on the field for the first game at least. Hassan Chaudry did a good job of keeping the moral up for the team while the captain was trying to set the field for every play. Kudos goes to the pitcher, Abbas Allidina for some excellent pitching on the field who tried to keep the run count down as much as possible, but Istanbul still managed to stomp the cobras in the end.

Istanbul came back swinging, as they were fresh off the last game. They were still pumped up from their last game win against Lahore and they took out all their anger on Cordoba. They started out with their big hitters ringing the ball out in the bushes with Usman Ali and Ismail Kara going yard. This gave them a comfortable position in the match and put Cordoba in a tight spot. Their fielding was on point as well for this match, it could be because of their last game which gave them a better idea of playing conditions in the field. The whole Istanbul team went to town against the cobras with every player on the team getting runs under their belt. 

Cordoba tried to retaliate with their hitting which didn’t quite go so well, but their first Baseman Salim Jaichi got the team moral up by hitting a home run in the 3rd inning give them some hope. There was some very good fielding from Usama as the teams all star SS and the outfield was also on par with not many errors during the match, but that was still not enough for them to score a win. Hassan Chaudry, Bilal javed, Usama, Ahmed Butt and Salim Jaichi were the ones who managed to keep the team on the scoreboard with runs. The rest of the bats weren’t really working for them this game.

Its still the beginning of the season with a lot of games to play ahead and I am sure Cordoba will recover from their loss and come out stronger in their matches ahead.

Final Score: Istanbul  16   Cordoba  6


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Cordoba managed to keep up their moral for the second game by starting off the next match with Lahore. They capitalized on their last game and kept going into this game.  They started out swinging their bats and got 5 runs in the first 4 inning while Lahore was still trying to figure out their weak spots. Lahore couldn’t catch the cobras for the first 4 innings as they were trailing by 0 runs to 5 in their first 4 innings of the match. The credit there goes to the experienced pitching from Salim Jaichi on Team Cobra and the Usama the SS who made some good plays in the infield. The defense overall was also on par for Cordoba during the whole match. I am sure the team will come out stomping for their next game against another tough team, we will have to wait and see what happens as the titians clash in their next match against Cairo and Medina. Cordoba will be itching to settle some old scores against these teams but will have to wait and see how things turn out. 

Lahore got some time to recover from their previous game and came back swinging after the 4th inning, their bats just took off and they turned the whole match around by getting 6 runs in the 6th inning, leaving the cobras chasing their own tails. Amazing home runs from Fuzail and Shane. Some of the newcomers on the team like M. Kazi also got themselves on the scoreboard by getting 3 runs and showing some impressing outfield work during fielding.  Both teams over all played quite well and the results were close, in the end the HRs from Lahore’s heavy hitters got them the Win. Way to Go Lahore, hope they can keep this up for the rest of the season as its just the beginning and things will keep getting tougher as we progress throughout the season.   

Final Score: Cordoba  8   Lahore  9


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In the first game at Valleys (the original BSLN home), the defending champs Damascus were looking to get their repeat campaign off to a strong start. Captain Safwan Khan has a new look to his squad this season bringing in last season’s HR runner up in Omer Chaudhry giving Damascus the top two HR hitter from last season. The power doesn’t stop there as highly regarded newcomer Abbasali Kermalli makes Damascus look like a strong contender to repeat.

Cairo is lead by rookie GM Khizer Channa. Though he may be a new GM, he also had a solid draft, filling his roster with high character players. Cairo’s lineup is deep and only one player in Yusuf Ingar who is new to BSLN. Unfortunately for GM Khizer his keeper Umair Wasim had to miss the season opener on short notice leaving the Cairo GM spending the majority of his Thursday afternoon watching weather reports for rain and working the phones to find a suitable replacement. Thankfully, he was able to bring in a replacement only to then find out a few stragglers would cause Cairo to start the game with just 3 outfielders.

Damascus was not able to take advantage of the extra green in the outfield as they batted first but the solid outfield play of the Channa brothers and veteran Shamil Khadaroo held Damascus to no score in the 1st. The game was broken open in the bottom of the 2nd when Cairo, with some well placed base hits from the bottom of their lineup, brought up Yousaf “Chu” Chaudhry with the bases loaded. He blasted a grand slam over the left field fence for his 1st HR of the season. Damascus battled back scoring 2 runs on a double by keeper Awais Malik, but Cairo’s defense backed by quality pitching from Hamza Waheed were able to limit the damage.

Cairo kept the pressure up on offense when with a man on, sleeper pick Hasan “desert” Afzal smacked a 2-run shot over the fence. There’s a lot of buzz that this could be his break out season and this was certainly a good start. Damascus was not able to string together enough hits to mount a comeback with their team only able to bat twice through the order. The game ended with Cairo winning 12-3. 

While GM Safwan Khan will be disappointed with the result, it can be chalked up to a lot of off-season rust in the first game back as well as integrating some newcomers onto his Damascus squad. Abbasali Kermalli looks like a dangerous hitter going 2/2 with sharply hit balls, while playing excellent defense at 3rd base.  New pitcher Hussain Allidina looks like he will hold down the mound and as the chemistry builds this Damascus team will be a force.

For Cairo, GM Khizer has to be ecstatic with the performance of his defense in their first game. Pitcher Hamza Waheed looks like he’s in mid season form already, while newcomer Yusuf Ingar had a smashing debut hitting 2 XBH’s.

Final Score: Demascus 3  Cairo  12


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Coming off a strong win over defending champs Damascus, Cairo was looking to continue its winning ways against expansion team Baghdad lead by veteran GM Hamid Malik. With a solid mix of veterans and newcomers Baghdad looks to be a dangerous squad this season.

Cairo got off to a strong start putting up 4 in the top of the 1st. Baghdad answered back with 4 of their own. That was as close as Baghdad would get in this one as Cairo went on a hitting frenzy. They proceeded to score the next 12 runs straight over the next three innings. GM Khizer Channa belted 2 homers out of the lead off spot, while superstar Yousaf “Chu” Chaudhry added another. But the story of the day continues to be Hasan “Desert” Afzal who belted his 2nd homer in 2 games, tying his season total for last season. The irony is after Cairo was maxed out of HR they began to hit even better, with one base hit after another. Kudos to Baghdad for hanging in on defense but there was no stopping Cairo on this day. Everyone on the team had at least 2 hits.

For Baghdad, Nirvaan Latif was dangerous all day belting another HR to take the season lead while also hitting one off the top of the fence which turned out to be a loud single. Noor Zia had a smashing debut going 3/3 with 2 RBI and playing great defense at SS. Baghdad had one more game on this day and would look forward to bouncing back from this defeat. They simply ran into a very hot hitting team and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about that.

Final Score: Cairo 30  Baghdad  15


​   VS   

On this wet and muggy day, we are going to pick this game up from the top of the last inning, since that's when the drama starts.

Baghdad, down by three, going up to bat, with their heavy hitters coming to the plate. The boys were able to small ball their way to scoring two runs, thanks to Hamid, and Fahad's batting.  Then, with their 3, 4, 5 hitters coming up (the most dangerous middle lineup in our league?), Baghdad was well positioned to not only tie it, but go ahead by a few runs...EXCITING! As Noor Zia, and Tash S were able to get on base and drive home a couple runs, Baghdad now has the tying run on third, and the go ahead run at second, with the deadly Nirvaan Latif coming up to the plate.  You could see Nirvy salivating for this opportunity, and we could see he was ready to deliver a massive hit for his team, just by reading his eyes.  This is where things start getting interesting. So at this point, you could see the fear in the Damascus fielders...after all, Nirvy had already had two dingers in this game.  As Nirvy steps to the plate, suddenly impromptu chatter erupts from Damascus' infield to their outfield.  "Give Nirvy a free base!" one player yells.  It sounded as if Damascus called a timeout to strategize what to do here.  Does BSL Nights even have timeouts the fans were thinking?  As first base was free, and the tying and go ahead runs were in scoring position, Damascus decided not to pitch to Nirvy.  Instead, allowing him to get to first, they took their chances against the next batter up.   

Was this unbrotherly or not?  Did winning the game matter more than allowing for a brother to hit?  Where does in game strategy say about walking batters intentionally?  All valid questions, to which this writer does not have the answers to.  In the end, both sides have legitimate claims to whether or not Nirvy should have been walked.  Some called it a smart move on Damascus' part, while others claim that we should always let brothers hit. The GMs in this league have a tough job, in that, they have to do what's best for their team but also set a precedent for high brotherhood standards for the rest of the league.  The Damascus GM obliged no comment after the game, but said they walked Nirvy out of respect and fear.  Meanwhile, Hamid tipped his cap to the DMC team, stating that it was a smart move, and that Nirvy needs to be protected. 

In the end, the thrilling victory went to the home team, Damascus, and Baghdad did a very good job of bouncing back to be in a position to almost win it.  This team looks really good, and once their players get more experience, Baghdad should see the wins pile up.  Shout out to Noor Zia, and Tash S. for hitting their first BSL Nights home runs, we expect to see more of that.  Nirvy was awesome, with two dingers and a stellar pitching performance.  On the DMC side, Abbasali Kermalli smacked his first BSL Nights homer, and congrats to him. Hussein Allidina picked up his first ever BSL Nights win...the guys gave him the game ball and rumour has it Hussein slept with it that same night. Shout out to Awais Malik, Omer "Shuffle Master" Chaudhry and Ali Nazir for going perfect in the game.  It was an awesome game to be a part of, whether you were playing or just watching.  The next time these two teams meet up, it will be an epic rematch that this writer can't wait to watch.  Congrats to both teams, well played.

Final Score: Baghdad 13  Demascus  14






BSL Nights 2020 - Game 7 Recaps

Cordoba @ Medina

This game was an exciting one as it was the final game of the season with so much on the line. Cordoba needed a tie or a win to secure that 2nd seed while Medina needed to win the game to get that 2 spot. The game started off in Cordoba’s favor as they jumped on the offensive very quickly putting up a 7 spot. Medina responded by putting up 4 runs and getting right back in this game. Both teams played well defensively but both offenses found the gaps making the defenses work. In this high scoring game, each team had 1 inning where they scored 0 points but the rest of the innings had at least 4 runs scored. There must have been a glitch in the matrix as Bilal Javed and Yusauf Chaudhry had identical stats with 7 RBIs and 2 homeruns each while Zain Khilji also pitched in with a dinger and 3 RBIs. Medinas bats were also flowing as the usual suspects, Omer Chaudhry and Sulemann Man hit a combined 3 homeruns bringing in 11 big RBIs.

Final inning, Medina would need 6 runs to win this game which isn’t an impossible task but not an easy one against the dangerous defense of Cordoba. Medina’s top was up to bat so if there was ever a time for Medina to make a comeback, this was it. The top performed as expected and everyone got on base. With some smart base running and 1 out, they were only down by 2 with 2 runners on base. That’s when the Kala Mamba stepped up to the plate. He knew that we needed 3 runs to win the game and he just needed to make good contact to keep the chains moving. Instead of playing it safe, Kala stepped up and blasted a 3 run homerun to not only win this game but will his team into 2nd place. You wana talk about leading by example, look no further. If there was ever a time for Kala to hit his first homerun or the season, he couldn’t have timed this any better.  Medina had a very up and down season but this game summed up what Medina is all about. Down but never out. Although, all teams are more or less equal in terms of skill, It doesn’t matter because what you really need is 100% effort from all of your guys. Effort and working hard is what wins games. As long as everyone plays hard, you can be proud of the result. Cordoba may have gone winless in their last 4 games but they are one of the most dangerous teams with their fire power and can turn a game around at any moment. Whoever faces Cordoba in the playoffs is going to need lots of duas and some good luck.

These 2 teams have a chance of meeting again in the playoffs. If that happens, the gloves are coming off and at that point, its do or die… Medina takes this one in a thriller 25-24

 Game Highlights

  • Aatif Parvez – 4/4
  • Aslam Abdullah - 3/3, 2 RBIs
  • Omer Chaudhry – 3/4, HR, 6 RBIs with some nice grabs in LF
  • Suleman Mann – 2/3, 2HR, 5RBIs
  • Mohammad Kala - 3/4, 4 RBIs and Game winning walk off HR
  • Tanseer Khawaja – 2 RBIs
  • Sunny Murad – 2 RBIs
  • Hamid Malik/Sulaman Mann – excellent play in CF
  • Bilal Javed - 4/4, 2HR, 7RBIs
  • Yusauf Chaudhry - 5/5, 2HR, 7RBIs
  • Ahmad Ammad - 3/3, 2 RBIs, 2BB
  • Zain Khilji – HR, 3 RBIs
  • Furqan Usman – 2 RBIs

 

Damascus @ Medina

Week 7 pitted 2 teams looking to claim the 2 double knockout positions entering the playoffs, with Damascus looking to cement 1st place, and Medina looking to claim the all-important 2nd place.  Just as important, was also the BBQ wars as both teams were planning big BBQ’s this week.  Food aside, the game started off with Damascus putting up a quick 5 runs in the first 2 innings, but Medina would counter, adding 4 of their own to keep the game competitive.  As has been the case all year, Damascus proves that the next man up is always waiting and ready.  With leadoff man Hatf Sohail missing this week, Riyad Ramjaun was bumped up to lead off and lead the way with 4 hits and was on base all 5 at bats.  The game was split wide open in the 4th inning, with Damascus putting up a mercy inning, with Farooq Sani & Safwan Khan each hitting big time homeruns.  Damascus got some big time hitting from the bottom of the lineup, with Awais Malik continuing his hot hitting, going 3-4, while Aftab Khan drive in 3.  Medina got within 7, after a big day from Tanseer Khawaja (hitting a big time HR) and Imran Qureshi but could not muster any more.  It’s quite possible that Medina was concentrating more on the food waiting instead of playing softball, as the boys in yellow made another 7 errors in the field.  Damascus claims the win and 1st overall, while Medina goes back to the drawing board against Cordoba in game 2, attempting to right the ship and try to get that elusive 2nd place.

  • Riyad Ramjaun leading the way with 4 hits
  • Farooq Sani & Safwan Khan both with a HR a piece
  • Abbas Allidina & Aftab Khan driving in 3 runs each
  • Awais Malik going 3-4
  • Hassan Chaudhry & Imran Merchant going a combined 5-8 and driving in 4 runs
  • Tanseer Khawaja going a perfect 3-3 and driving in 4
  • Imran Qureshi adding to his league leading average, going a perfect 3-3

 

Damascus @ Lahore

The nightcap placed Damascus against Lahore, but more importantly, the BBQ was up and running.  With Damascus already locking up 1st place, the boys in blue looked like they were more interested in eating and grilling than playing, with several the team’s leaders sitting off to grill instead of fielding.  On the flip side, Lahore was looking for a win after tying their first game.  The game started exactly as one would expect, and Damascus not concentrating on the game, and running on a pop fly wit only 1 out.  Lahore would look to capitalize, and quickly put up 3 runs from timely hitting by GM Aftab Sheikh and Omar Khattab.  With heads back in the game, Damascus would start chipping away at the lead, with GM Safwan Khan leading the way.  Trying to will his team to another win, Safwan hit not 1, not 2 but 3 HR’s in this game, and driving in 8 runs.  Unfortunately, the rest of Damascus decided to take the night off and did very little.  Lahore kept adding to their lead, with Neal Irfan hitting a HR, and Saad Ibrahim and Fawad Shaikh, both hitting doubles and driving in 4.  Up 8 going into the final inning, Damascus made a final attempt, and put up 5, but fell 3 runs short.  Lahore picks up the win in the final game of the regular season, while Damascus leaves knowing they only lost by 3, while not being really involved in the game.  Afterwards, is what was the thing this league is all about, and both teams came together and broke bread, in true brotherhood fashion.  With the final standings set, all teams are now gearing up for next week’s playoffs, with Damascus getting a double knockout, and Lahore in a do or die.  On a final note, we would like to congratulate Safwan Khan on finishing the season by tying the all-time HR record with 16 and breaking the all-time RBI record with 60.

  • Safwan Khan hitting 3 HR, and driving in 8, claiming the HR title and breaking the all-time RBI record with a total of 60
  • Imran Merchant batting a perfect 3-3
  • Aftab Sheikh and Omar Khattab both with 2 hits
  • Neal Irfan going 3-4, and hitting a big HR
  • Saad Ibrahim & Fawad Shaikh both with 2 big doubles and both driving in 2 runs each
  • Nirvaan Latif with a double and driving in 3 runs

BSL Nights 2020 - Game 6 Recaps

Welcome back folks! 6 weeks in with 1 more regular season week to go. That means we’ve got playoffs coming up! some teams are trending up while others are trending in the wrong direction and with our final week coming up, this was a very important 2 games for everyone. Let’s see how the teams faired on this cool night.

 

Medina @ Cordoba

 

Cordoba was coming off a big win against Medina last Thursday as that team helped identify some gaping holes in Medina’s defense. Medina went back to the drawing board, shook things up and came back with a new look. A lot of the guys brought snacks, hot chocolate and even had a BBQ going for warmth. Team spirit was very high in Medina’s corner this week while Cordoba was missing 3 of their core players and were trying to adjust. With Medina first at bat, Atif Parvaiz was the leadoff man and boy did that pay dividends for Medina on this night. He started off with a nice line drive double to CF and he continued that trend all night, ending with 2 doubles and 3 RBI’s. Medina however would only score 2 runs that inning. Cordoba didn’t do much in the first inning but there was a controversial out called again Zain Malik who thought he should have been walked but was called a strike out. in my opinion and many others, it looked like a walk but you always respect the umps calls. The Action picked up in the 3rd where Medina put up 4 runs stretching the lead to 7-1 but Cordoba’s bat’s started to heat up as their hardest hitters would punish Medina’s defense. Over the next 3 innings Cordoba would put up 16 runs to Medina’s 11, constantly finding the gaps and timely homeruns by the usual suspects. Ahmed Ammad played well as the main threat for Cordoba as he crushed a nice homerun and added a massive double helping his team drive in 4 runs. Zain Khilji, Zain Malik and Hamza Waheed would also add a nice homerun each bringing in a combined 7 RBI’s. This was Hamza Waheed’s first homerun in BSL nights and what beauty it was as it sailed over RCF.  Medina was in trouble and needed to put some runs on the board as their bats were slowing down. Furqan Usman played fantastic at 3B as he robbed Medina twice on a hard hit ball and turned a double play. He looked like one of Cordoba's best fielders on the night.  Medina really needed to their bats rolling. That’s when Imran Qureshi sparked his team as he stepped out to the plate and blasted a very timely 3 run homer. Medina went into the final inning down by 3 runs and that is when their bats started to roll. With their top of the lineup, Atif Parvaiz as usual hit a double and got on base just in time for Hamid Malik to step into a homerun down CF bringing in 2 very important runs. That would help build momentum as Medina put up 6 runs in that inning to go up by 3. Cordoba would have to put up 4 runs to win but this time, Medina wasn’t going to let that happen as they quickly shut the door on Cordoba’s offense when it mattered most and took home that win they so desperately needed.   Medina had some misplays but overall they kept their composure on defense. Most importantly, every single player on Medina played hard and made an effort on both ends. That is what Captains Mo Kala and Hamid Malik have been preaching all year. Rumours have it that Mo Kala was seen smiling throughout the night. sources haven’t been confirmed though. Medina’s chemistry looks like its on the right trajectory as the team looks like they are starting to bond, play for each other and have fun. Cordoba shouldn’t hang their heads as they had 3 very important players missing and almost pulled this one off. Cordoba’s guys played hard and you can tell by the way they rallied back and took the lead for a while. Great overall effort in this game as both sides played hard in the cold weather. Medina Holds off the power house Cordoba to take this one 20-17

 

Game Highlights: 

  • Atif Parvez – 3/4, 2 doubles, 3 RBI’s
  • Hamid Malik – 4/4, HR, 4 RBI’s, great diving catch on Abdul Butt
  • Suleman Mann – 3/3, RBI, excellent catches and great communication
  • Omar Chaudhry – 3/4, HR, 3 RBI’s, excellent catches and great chemistry with Mann in LCF/LF
  • Jav Ahmed – 1/2, 2 BB’s, 2 RBI’s - Great catches and positioning in RF
  • Imran Qureshi – 2/2, BB, HR, 3 RBI’s – Great play at first
  • Tanseer Khawaja – RBI, and excellent pitching on a windy night,
  • Zain Malik – 4/5, HR, 2 RBI’s – Great play at 1B
  • Ahmed Ammad – 5/5, HR, 2B, 4 RBI’s – great fielding
  • Hamza Waheed – HR, 3 RBI’s – Excellent pitching on a windy night
  • Akif Waheed – 3/4, HR, 3 RBI’s
  • Zain Khilji – HR, 2 RBI’s
  • Furqan Usman – 3/4, 2 RBI’s - Robbed 2 Medina players and turned a double play with no errors on the night

 

 

Lahore @ Medina

 

Medina was coming off a win and wanted to carry that momentum over to their next game while Lahore was trying to shake off their big loss to Damascus. The first 2 innings were uneventful for Lahore as they put up a combined 0 runs while Medina put up 9 runs including a mercy inning. Lahore bats started to catch fire after the 3rd period when their homerun hitters started to come around. Ismail Kara had 2 monsters homeruns brining in 6 RBI’s along with veteran’s Shamil Khadaroo and Neal Irfan hitting 1 homerun each and brining in a combined 6 RBI’s.  Going to the bottom of the 4th, Lahore was down 10-11 as they smashed their way back into this game. Medina however was having a great day and their bats were waking up when they needed them most as Omar Chaudhry and Suleman Mann both hit 2 dingers each bringing in 7 RBI’s in total. Hamid Malik had a nice line drive triple to RF right on the foul line as that shot brought in 2 runs. The story of Medina’s day however came from the bottom of the lineup. Fawad Shaikh and Umair Ashraf have been working very hard and both of them connected a on a homerun tonight bringing in 6 RBI’s. Fawad was inching closer by the day and it was only a matter of time before he banged one out of the field. His team lost it as they were genuinely excited to see him accomplish that in front of his kids who come out every Thursday and help us track down the homerun balls. Excellent work team Shaikh! Umair went a perfect 3 for 3 and had a nice shot down LCF as he finally got that monkey off his back. Lahore’s issue was mainly their defense as their bats were looking good and Medina’s defense was also much better. Their outfield is looking solid as centerfielders Suleman Mann and Hamid Malik have locked that section down. Jay Ahmed and Omar Chaudhry were impressive and made some big plays down the stretch to help Medina’s outfield while Sunny Abdul Murad held it down at SS and played well throughout the night going 2/3 and 2RBI’s. Tanseer Khawaja controlled the mound well and was seen coaching our players every step of the way. His presence has been a game changer for all of team Medina including the new guys. Lahore has some cleaning up to do as they had some mental errors while base running and couldn’t capitalize on key opportunities to bring in more runs. This game could’ve/should’ve been much closer. The absence of Nirvaan Latif was felt by everyone (even players in the other fields), as his leadership and communication is key to Lahore’s success. Looks like Lahore is going through what Medina went through last week. sometimes teams will fly very high and other times it’ll feel like rock bottom. That’s the way competitive sports go. Lahore cant hang their heads as they are too good a team for that. If guys start playing a bit harder on defense, that’ll change everything as defense leads to momentum, and momentum leads to offense. Captains Aftab Sheikh and Amir Khalil have some things to talk about but inshallah, they will turn things around with the help of their team mates and get ready for an epic playoff battle. Medina takes this one 20-14

 

Game Highlights: 

  • Atif Parvez – 2/4, RBI
  • Hamid Malik – 3B, 2 RBI’s, great positioning in the outfield
  • Suleman Mann – 2/3, 2HR, 3 RBI’s, Amazing diving catch and great composure all night
  • Omar Chaudhry – 3/3, 2HR, 2B, 4 RBI’s, Great communication in the outfield and best wardrobe. He kept coming out with an extra piece of clothing every inning including a toque
  • Abdul Murad – 2/3, 2B, 2 RBI’s, great play at SS
  • Fawad Shaikh – HR, 4 RBIS’s – First HR of his career
  • Umari Ashraf – 3/3, HR, 2 RBI’s  – First HR of his career
  • Ismail Kara – 4/5, 2HR, 6 RBI’s - Both Massive Homeruns
  • Shamil Khadaroo – 2/3, HR, 3 RBI’s
  • Neal Irfan – HR, 3 RBI’s
  • Amir Khalil – 3/4, RBI
  • Omar Khattab – 2/3, excellent catches in the outfield

 

Damascus @ Lahore

Week 6 started off with Lahore hosting Damascus.  Lahore was playing without their seasoned veteran leader Nirvaan Latif, but still boasted enough fire power to come out with a win. Damascus on the other hand were dealt a bad blow earlier in the day, as Hasan Afzal was injured playing soccer and would miss the game.  Lahore wasted no time in this one and put up a 5 spot after 1 and were up 5-1 after some timely hitting from Amir Khalil (who went 3-4) and Ismail Kara (who went 2-2 with a SF).  Unfortunately, this was pretty much all they would get as Damascus put the foot to the pedal and didn’t relent at all.  Scoring 6, 4 & 7 in the following 3 innings, DMC held a comfortable 18-7 lead heading into the 6th.  With the RD under 15, DMC kept going, and put up a 9 spot in the 6th to record the largest margin of victory in BSL Nights this year at 20.  As always, GM Safwan Khan led the way with 6 RBI’s, while Hassan Chaudhry (making his return after missing the past 2 weeks), hit a perfect 3-3 and drove in 6 of his own.  Another returning playing, Aftab Khan who missed the past 3 weeks, returned with a boom, driving in 3.  On this night, DMC could do no wrong, and everyone hit, while Abbas Allidina (who took the mound in the absence of starting P Salman Ahmad) was stellar.  Allowing only 5 ER, DMC can take comfort in knowing they have not 1 but 2 quality starting pitchers.

  • Amir Khalil going 3-4 and coming home twice;
  • Ismail Kara batted a perfect 2-2;
  • Safwan Khan & Hassan Chaudhry drove in a combined 12 runs on 6 hits and 2 HR’s;
  • Farooq Sani continues his hot batting, going 4-5;
  • Shane Worthington hitting yet another HR (that’s 3 off Doc this year) and driving in 4;
  • Aftab Khan driving in 3 after missing the past 3 weeks;
  • Abbas Allidina pitching a gem, allowing only 5 runs;

 

Cordoba @ Damascus

In game 2 on Field 2, a shorthanded Cordoba was taking on a red-hot Damascus.  Cordoba was coming off a loss but made a furious comeback and were feeling good, while Damascus was coming off the largest margin of victory and were equally feeling great.  Unfortunately for Cordoba, they were missing too many top talent and players were playing at positions they never played at or were comfortable.   Damascus was able to shut down Cordoba’s bats through 3 innings, as Abbas Allidina continued his pitching wizardry, from game 1.  On the flip side, DMC were hitting and were also getting some lucky bounces from players not playing at their regular positions.  Leading the charge was Farooq Sani, going a perfect 4-4 and driving in 2.  On this night, majority of DMC players were driving runs in one way or another, with Hatf Sohail & Safwan Khan driving in 3 each, and Riyad Ramjaun, Imran Merchant, Abbas Allidina driving in 2 apiece.  In the 5th inning, Cordoba bats began to click, and were able to drive in some runs and put up a mercy inning.  Commissioner Akif Waheed was trying his best to make up for the absent players, going a perfect 3-3 with 2 big doubles and driving in 2, while Zain Malik went 2-3 and drove in 2 himself.  Unfortunately, Cordoba was too short handed and although put up a great fight (they actually outhit DMC in this game), could not cut into the deficit anymore and DMC won 17-9.  With 2 big wins (and by large RD’s), Damascus has essentially wrapped up 1st place, but as they know all too well, it means nothing to finish in 1st place, and all that really matters is momentum going into the playoffs.  Cordoba will look to move up to 2nd place heading into the last week and are hoping their big bats will stop vacationing and return as soon as possible.

  • Zain Malik going 2-3 and driving in 2;
  • Akif Waheed with 2 big doubles, batting a perfect 3-3;
  • Furqan Usman batted 2-3 and drive in a run;
  • Hatf Sohail & Safwan Khan driving in 3 each;
  • Riyad Ramjaun, Imran Merchant, Abbas Allidina driving in 2 apiece;
  • Farooq Sani hitting a perfect 4-4;

 


BSL Nights 2020 - Week 5 Recaps

Welcome back folks! Chilly day for a night of softball but we hope everyone came dressed in appropriate weather friendly gear and ready to play! 5 weeks in the books and 2 more to go before playoff time. Y’ALL EXCITED?? Great! let’s jump right into action.

 

Medina @ Lahore

 Lahore has been on a 3 game undefeated streak coming into this one as they hosted the ever so dangerous Medina squad. With Medina batting first, they laid it on thick. In 2 innings, Medina was sitting tall to a tune of 12-2. Jay “Swag” Ahmed had a nice double to start the game then second time around stepped up and smashed his 1st official homerun in BSL nights. What a G! Suleman Mann also participated in the HR derby along with Medina’s usual suspect, IQ Smash. Things were looking great as Medina slowly let their guard down and that’s when Lahore pounced. Medina’s defense decided to take a hiatus from fielding for a few innings and instead started bird watching. I say this because Medina couldn’t catch a beach ball if its was lobbed at them as they missed play after play. Lahore outscored Medina to a tune of 20-4 in the final 3 innings or 14-1 in the final 2 innings. Whichever sounds better. Some notable dingers from Lahore’s side when it counted most. Shamil Khadaroo hit a grand sham bringing in 4 RBI’s while Omar Khattab had 2 of his own cruising atop the homerun race. And who can forget the ageless wonder, smoking dingers since 1995, Nirvaan Latif.

Medina has been playing great over the past few weeks but with a full squad, there was no excuse for this unit to play that bad. Captains Mo Kala and Hamid Malik were very frustrated and need to go back to the drawing board to make some serious changes. With the playoffs around the corner, this is the worst time for a team to fall apart. Medina has a great bunch of guys and alhumdolillah it’s a pleasure hanging with them but its time to get down to business. They need to hold each other accountable and more importantly try to focus on their strengths/weaknesses as individuals. Medina has some amazing strengths but its up to the captains to utilize the squad to the best of their abilities. With the hour glass running out of sand, Medina needs to bring their team back from rock bottom and play for each other. They have 2 weeks to figure it out before the big dance and with the guys Medina has, I know they’re taking this loss to heart as they should. Inshallah they will fair better in the coming weeks

 

Highlights of the game: 

  • Shamil Khadaroo – HR, 4 RBI’s
  • Salim Jaichi – 4 / 4, 4 RBI’s
  • Omar Khattab – 4/4, 2 HR’s, 4 RBI’s
  • Nirvaan Latif – 3/4, HR, 7 RBI’s
  • Neal Irfan – 3/3, 3 RBI’s
  • Suleman Mann – 3/4, HR, 3 RBI’s
  • Jay Ahmed – 3/4, HR, 3 RBI’s
  • Fawad Shaikh – 2/3, 2 RBI’s excellent hitting!
  • Atif Parvez – 2/3 2B, 2 RBI’s

  

Cordoba @ Medina

 Cordoba was coming into this game having lost their previous game to Damascus as they doubled Cordoba’s score to take if 14-7. Cordoba wasn’t happy about that so they decided to pull it together and give Medina a run for their money. Medina was coming off a demoralizing loss as they went from almost mercying Lahore to being outscored 20-4 in the final 3 innings. Needless to say, both teams were gunning for a win. Cordoba took to their bats first but Medina made quick work of them holding them to 0 and in return, Cordoba did the same. Then they went to work. Cordoba, usually known for their power hitting only hit 1 over the fence, courtesy of Mr. Khilji who also brought in 5 RBI’s. These guys were doing well placing the ball but mainly, targeting 3B and SS all game long as the infield couldn’t get it together. Medina had allowed 9 run on errors that game (as opposed to Cordoba’s 1) which included some very easy outs had the ball not been fumbled or if the throw was on target. Medina’s infield showed a lot of rust and couldn’t come up with the plays when needed the most. The bad bounces weren’t doing Medina any favours either as the pitch made it difficult to gage the ball but Cordoba seemed to have done okay with it, making most of the common plays. Cordoba was picking up runs consistently through out the game including 2 mercy innings. Medina did respond by putting up a 6 run inning but that would be all Medina had in the tank tonight as those 8 runs weren’t even close to being enough. Cordoba closed out this game on a 14-2 run honouring our beloved Kobe Bryant in this one to a legendary score of 24-8

 

Highlights of the game: 

  • Zain Khilji – 4/4, HR, 5 RBI’s
  • Yusauf Ch – 2/4, 2B, 3 RBI’s
  • Mohammed Ali Pasha – 3 RBI’s
  • Zain Malik – 2 RBI’s, great play at 1st
  • Bilal Malik – 2/3, 2 RBI’s
  • Furqan Usman – 2 RBI’s
  • Ahmed Butt – 2/4, 2 RBI’s
  • Ahmad Ammad – 2/4, RBI, some nice catches in the OF
  • Bilal Javed – 3/4, 2 RBI’s
  • Atif Parvez – 2/3, 2 RBI’s
  • Mo Kala – 2/3, 2 RBI’s
  • Jay Ahmed – Great catch at RF, reaching over the fence to rob Yusauf Ch of a HR.
  •  

Cordoba @ Damascus

Week 5 pitted Damascus vs. Cordoba with both teams missing some big bats.  On Damascus’ side, Hassan Chaudhry & Aftab Khan were still nursing injuries, while on Cordoba, Zain Malik was serving his 1 game suspension from last year.  Damascus started off the game with a 3 spot in the 1st inning but was countered quickly by Cordoba with a 3 spot of their own.  This game was the epitome of small ball as neither team relied on their big homerun hitters and instead were each chipping away.  With Damascus up 5, Hamza Waheed was helping his own cause on this night batting a solid 2-3 including a big time double.  Not to be outdone was his teammate Mohammed Ali Pasha who went a perfect 3-3 at the plate, all while showing these youngins that he was still a stellar SS.  Up only 3, Damascus went into the 5th inning and using the small ball strategy and some timeline base running put up a 7 spot and blew the game open.  Riyad Ramjaun & Abbas Allidina led the way, both with 3 hits on the night, while Shane Worthington & Salman Ahmad both drove in multiple runs.  The play on the night though was made by Farooq Sani who tracked every ball hit in the outfield his way and made 1 spectacular catch after another.  Damascus secured the win and would look to keep momentum going into game 2, while Cordoba looked to regroup, knowing that their leadoff man Zain Malik would be back in the lineup.

  • Riyad Ramjaun & Abbas Allidina led the team with 3 hits each;
  • Imran Merchant returned, playing through multiple injuries but was his stellar self at SS;
  • Every Damascus player would reach base at least once using the small ball strategy;
  • Hatf Sohail & Farooq Sani with multiple hits;
  • Salman Ahmad pitched a gem, allowing only 5 earned runs and walking only 1;
  • Mohammed Ali Pasha hit a perfect 3-3;
  • Hamza Waheed went 2-3 and drove in 2;

 

Lahore @ Damascus

In the 2nd game of the night, Lahore and Damascus were both coming off big wins, and the winner of this matchup would end the week in 1st place in the standings.  Damascus continued their hot hitting, as the 1-2 punch of Hatf Sohail & Riyad Ramjaun (both on base machines) went a combined 6-7, allowing GM Safwan Khan to do what he does best, and drive in runs.  Safwan hit another monster HR and drove in 5 on this night, and Damascus was up by 6 after 2 innings.  Not to be outdone, Lahore’s bats came to life shortly after and Shamil Khadaroo and Nirvaan Latif both hit timely homeruns and drove in multiple runs, reducing the lead to just 2.  Unfortunately for Lahore, on this night, rookie sensation Omar Khattab had a bad night at the plate and went an uncharacteristic 0-4, which would hurt any chance Lahore had to make a comeback.  Adding some insurance, Shane-O-Mac Shane Worthington, would send one over the fence, while Awais Malik ended the game with one of his better statistical games ever, going 3-4 including a massive double (not to mention his amazing play in the OF).  As was the case throughout the night, pitcher and AGM Salman Ahmad was stellar on the mound, allowing only 7 ER’s and walking only 1.  With stellar pitching, fielding and batting, Damascus was not going to lose this game and redeemed themselves after a poor 0-2 showing last week and end up 2-0 on this week and atop the standings.  Lahore meanwhile have no reason to hang their heads as they have shown that they will be one of the top teams to contend with come playoff time.

  • Farooq Sani hitting 2 doubles and hitting a perfect 4-4;
  • GM Safwan Khan batted 3-4 and drove in 5, adding another HR to his total;
  • Riyad Ramjaun, Hatf Sohail & Awais Malik all produced 3 hits each and finished a combined 9-11 batting back to back to back;
  • Shane Worthington with a big time HR
  • Salman Ahmad pitching yet another gem, allowing only 7 ER’s and walking only 1;
  • Shamil Khadaroo & Nirvaan Latif both with HR’s;
  • Fawad Shaikh going 2-3 and driving in 2;

 


BSL Nights 2020 - Week 4 Recaps

What’s happening gentlemen?? welcome to our week 4 recaps! As usual we’ve got tons of action to talk about ranging from mercy games, to individual performances and of course some heartbreak. Let’s just dive right into it

 

Damascus @ Medina

 On this windy night, Damascus got their boys ready as they thought they were walking into a shootout against another offensive juggernaut in Medina. Damascus batted first and put up 2 quick runs to get the night started thanks to a Safwan Khan blast down CF. Medina responded posting 6 runs to get momentum on their side which started with an Omer Chaudhry moon shot to the stands. He raked in 3 RBI’s on that dinger. He would go on to hit 5 homeruns on the day bringing in 11 RBI’s. Damascus only combined for one more run after that inning while Medina put the pedal to medal putting up a 7-spot in the second inning. Medina’s bats were rolling as Omer C hit another 2 run shot followed by a Hamid Malik solo homerun and an Imran Qureshi 3 run homer. Other notable hits came from Aatif Parvaiz, Jay Ahmed, and Fawad Shaikh who went 3 for 3 on the night with some beautiful hits! He always brings his kids to watch and they were very proud of their dad! Mashallah!!

Medina would go on to score 12 more runs to activate the mercy rule which ended the game in 5 innings. Most of the credit goes to Medina’s defense and to Hassan Chaudhry of course for missing the game 😉. Damascus was missing 3 of their big hitters so this performance isn’t up to their usual standards.

Medina made some major changes to their defense and they paid dividends as Jay Ahmed was making all the right plays in the OF. Omer Chaudhry moved over to short stop and held it down there. There was some rust on his game as he hasn’t played short stop in over 4 years but it seemed like he was pretty comfortable there.

 

Highlights of the game:

  • Omer Chaudhry – 2 HR, 3/3, 5 RBI’s
  • Hamid Malik – HR, 2/3, RBI
  • Imran Qureshi – HR, 2/3, 5 RBI’s
  • Mo Kala – 2 Walks, massive double
  • Omar Khan – 2 RBI’s
  • Fawad Shaikh – 3/3, excellent batting!!!
  • Robocop – 3/3, 2 RBI’s and excellent pitching
  • Aatif Parvez – King of doubles. 1 double 2 RBI’s and excellent play at 3rd
  • Hatf Sohail – RBI
  • Safwan Khan – HR, 2/3, 2 RBI’s
  • Salman Ahmad – 2/3
  • Shane Worthington – 2/3

 

Medina @ Cordoba

With Medina coming off an impressive win against Damascus, they were looking to carry that momentum over to this game as Cordoba had the last laugh, when these 2 teams previously clashed. With both teams containing tons of fire power, these 2 teams were rolling right off the gates. The first 3 innings saw the teams deadlocked at 8. Crazy and Chu started the team off right with a dinger each (both ended up with 2 on the night) followed by a Bilal Javed Miandad blast. On the other side, Omer Chaudhry was having one of those days as he cleared 3 homeruns in this game ending with 5 on the night. Both teams were airing it out as the outfielders were quite busy on this day. Medina was missing their left center fielder in Suleman Mann but Hamid Malik filled in and held it down in the outfield making multiple key grabs and controlling the outfield all game. Medina’s bats finally slowed down as Cordoba held them to 0 runs in the 4th inning while putting up a cool 5 of their own. Medina didn’t give up though as they continued to push despite going down by 5. Aslam “The Savage” Abdullah did what he does best as he blasted a 3 run shot when Medina needing it the most. Medina was down 14-11 going into the final inning as they brought in 4 runs to take the lead by one. That lead would be tough to hold on to as 1 run is no task for the high-powered Cordoba offense. With Crazy leading off and getting on base, Yusauf Chaudhry stepped up to the plate and smashed a walk off homer to take the win against Medina for the 2nd time in 2 weeks.

 

Highlights of the game:

  • Omer Chaudhry – 3 HR, 4/4, 6 RBI’s
  • Hamid Malik – Excellent fielding in LCF
  • Imran Qureshi – 3/3, 3 RBI’s
  • Mo Kala – BB, massive double, RBI
  • Aslam Abdullah – Timely homerun, 3 RBI’s
  • Fawad Shaikh – Amazing double. Fielder dove hard and still missed it
  • Robocop – Controlling the mound/infield
  • Aatif Parvez – 2/3, RBI
  • Ahmed “Crazy” Ammad – 2 HR’s 3 RBI’s
  • Yusauf Chaudhry – 2 HR’s (Including walk off HR to win the game), 4 RBI’s
  • Bilal Javed – 1/4, HR, 2 RBI’s
  • Zain Malik – 2/d, RBI
  • Akif Waheed -2 RBI’s
  • Bilal Malik – 2 Sac Flies bringing in 2 RBI’s

 

Cordoba @ Lahore

Lahore was coming into this game trying to get their second win a row while Cordoba had dropped to Damascus on their last game, trying to get back on track. Lahore welcomed their beloved star Salim Jaichi who had to miss the first half of the season due to injury. Lahore thought they would have to slowly work him into game shape but he proved that he didn’t miss a beat as he smashed 2 homeruns this game. Cordoba started the game off putting up half of their total in the first inning with 6. Lahore returned the favour with 3 runs but Cordoba would pull away as they were up 10-5 after 2. Yusauf Chaudhry and Bilal Javed did what they do best blasting homeruns and bringing in a combined 6 RBI’s on the night. Cordoba would go cold the next 4 out of 5 innings only brining in 2 runs the rest of the game. A large part of that was due to the fantastic pitching of Amir Khalil. Lahore would slowly chip away as they continued to score while holding Cordoba. Omar Khatab and Khurum Channa would join in on the homerun fun as they both crushed 1 each for a combined 3 RBI’s but Cordoba’s strategy of putting Lahore on a homerun limit might have helped a little as batters had to hold back from crushing the ball. Regardless, Lahore was playing great as everyone on the roster had at least 1 RBI on the game. Talk about team effort. Lahore battled hard to get back in this game and were down 4 entering the final frame. The Lahore squad played hard and managed to get 4 to tie the game but weren’t able to get the go ahead for the win. This game would end in a tie. Cordoba would put much of the blame on their poor base running as they made several errors costing them runs. Lahore on the other hand ran the bases well, and had some close calls go their way.

 

Highlights of the game:

  • Zain Malik – 2/3, BB
  • Bilal Javed – 2B, HR, RBI
  • Ahmad Ammad – 2/3, BB
  • Yusauf Chaudhry – 4/4, HR, 5 RBI’s
  • Akif Waheed – 2/3, RBI
  • Hamza Waheed – 1/2 , RBI, BB
  • Amir Khalil – Excellent pitching, 2/4
  • Khurram Channa – 3/3, HR, RBI
  • Omar Khattab – 2/3, HR, 2 RBI
  • Salim Jaichi – 2/3, 2HR, 3 RBI

 

Lahore @ Damascus

Lahore entered the night cap after making a huge comeback to tie their previous game while Damascus entered the game on an all time low, after getting mercied in their first game.  Lahore wasted no time putting up a 7 spot in the first inning and things looked eerily similar for DMC as they were already down a mercy inning.  With a squad full of guys with a lot of heart, Damascus took their turn and the bats came to life as they were able to put up a 7 spot of their own after some timeline hitting by Hatf Sohail and Shane Worthington.  Not to be outdone, team Lahore’s bat kept going and with probably the deadliest middle lineup in the league (Ismail Kara, Omar Khattab, Salim Jaichi & Shamil Khadaroo) all hit monster HR’s and put Lahore up by 4 going into the bottom of the 5th.  As been the case all year, with DMC needing runs, GM Safwan Khan rises to the occasion, and hit his 2nd HR of the night capping a 9 RBI night to tie the game.  It was Lahore’s turn to put runs up and with DMC’s defense stepping up, Lahore was not able to put up a big number but mustered 1 run.  With DMC down 1 and 2 on, Riyad Ramjaun was up to bat.  A single or walk would bring up GM Safwan Khan but unfortunately, a liner back to the pitcher ended the game.  Lahore goes undefeated this week with a 1-0-1 record, while DMC drops both and will look to regroup next week.

  • Rookie phenom, Omar Khattab with a 3-4 day, adding to his HR total;
  • Salim Jaichi went a perfect 3-3 and hitting his 3rd HR of the season in only his 2nd game;
  • Another rookie sensation, Arsalaan Abdullah goes a perfect 4-4 and driving in 3;
  • Hatf Sohail goes 4-5 with stellar play at 3rd base;
  • Shane Worthington a perfect 4-4;
  • GM Safwan Khan with 2 HR’s and driving in 9;

 [HM1]


BSL Nights 2020 - Week 3 Recaps

Welcome back folks! We hope everyone is staying safe and well. Week 3 action resumed with our usual 4 game schedule with some teams coming off winning streaks and others trying to put one together. We ready to dive into week 3 Recaps?? Let’s do it!

 

Medina @ Cordoba

Medina was coming into this game red hot having won their last 3 games and they were looking to extend this streak. Medina was however missing Jay smooth Ahmed who has been a consistent play maker on the offensive end.  Medina started off slow at bat as they picked up 3 quick outs including an embarrassing Hamid Malik strike out. Cordoba turned around and put up 4 runs to take the lead while Medina struggled to get their bats going. Medina’s bats finally woke up thanks to 2 run smash job to RF by Hamid Malik who picked up his 2nd homerun on the season. That strike out must’ve really gotten to him because after that, he smashed 4 homeruns and remained perfect on the plate the rest of the night.  That dinger helped spark Medina’s offense as they put up a mercy inning going into the 5th inning up 8 – 7. Cordoba however wouldn’t back down as they took advantage of Medina’s weak fielding and kept picking the gaps. They scored 2 runs going ahead of Medina by 2. Final inning, with Cordoba up 2, Hamid Malik stepped into his 2nd homerun of the game putting Medina up by 1. With the home team getting ready to close out this game with just 2 runs required in the final inning, Cordoba torched Medina for 7 runs including a Zain Malik grand slam to RF to counter his brother’s multi homerun game and steal the show. Cordoba took this one to a score of 16 – 10.

Highlights of the game:

  • Hamid Malik – 2/3, 2 HR, 4 RBI’s
  • Imran Qureshi – 4 RBI’s
  • Tansweer Khawaja – 2/3 – 2 RBI’s
  • Zain Malik – Grand Slam – 4 RBI’s
  • Ahmad Ammad – 2/3 HR, 3 RBI’s
  • Zain Khilji – 3 RBI’s
  • Abdul Butt – 2 RBI’s
  • Hamza Waheed – 2 RBI’s

 

Damascus @ Lahore

Week 3 started with Lahore entering riding a high from their previous weeks big win against Cordoba, while Damascus entered this week, losers of their past 2 games.  Damascus also entered the week fielding only 9 players (misunderstanding by management, but we thank everyone for their understanding), while Lahore themselves were also playing shorthanded, still missing their big blockbuster trade asset Salim Jaichi and rookie phenom Omar Khattab.  Salim is still nursing a lower leg injury and we pray for his quick recovery.  Damascus took full advantage of the strong winds blowing this week and produced a total of 9 walks.  The proved to be very important with so many people getting on base, DMC’s big bats would come to life with runners in scoring position.  Shane Worthington hit his 1st HR of the season, while Hassan Chaudhry continued his tear this year, hitting another HR.  Damascus is also getting fantastic production from Farooq Sani, who continues his hot hitting, going a perfect 5-5 on this night.  On the flip side, Lahore’s big bats seem to finally be coming alive, with Shamil Khadaroo finally breaking his mini slump, knocking out 2 monster HR’s (we believe 1 of them hit his buddy Amir’s car).  Lahore hit 4 HR’s but could not keep up with the timely hitting of Damascus.  With everyone on DMC hitting and everyone on the team producing at least 1 RBI, this was all that was needed for Salman Ahmad to lock down Lahore’s bats.  Damascus breaks out of their 2-game losing streak while Lahore goes back to the drawing board.

  • Farooq Sani hitting a perfect 5-5 with 2 doubles;
  • Shane Worthington knocking out his 1st HR of the season, and driving in 5;
  • Hassan Chaudhry perfect at the plate (5-5) with 3 extra base hits (2 doubles & 1 HR);
  • Shamil Khadaroo 2 monster HR’s and driving in 5;
  • Zia “Doc” Beg continues his hot hitting, going 3-3 including a double

 

Damascus @ Cordoba

In the night cap, Damascus took on Cordoba as both teams were coming off big wins in their first game of the week.  Damascus continued with their patience at the plate and hot hitting as they quickly scored 4 runs to open the game.  As was the case in game 1, the winds were strong on this night and clearly affected pitching.  Hamza Waheed was trying everything in his arsenal to counter the strong gusts, but to no avail unfortunately.  3 innings in and Damascus was up 6-2 and continued to pile on the runs.  Smart and patient hitting by Awais Malik saw him draw 3 walks and the 4th inning was capped off by a Farooq Sani HR that ended the inning due to the mercy rule.  DMC was cruising until they were forced to field 9 players and use one as a catcher.  Unfortunately, management misunderstood the rules and fortunately for DMC, Cordoba was nice enough to provide a catcher for most of the game.  With the rules appropriately being enforced, Cordoba made a furious comeback of their own.  Zain Malik has turned into quite a HR hitter this year as he knocked out his 3rd HR of the season.  Meanwhile, the usual suspects like Bilal Javed & Yousaf Chaudhry led their team by example, solidifying the fielding while hitting HR’s themselves.  The star for Cordoba on this week though was Abdul Butt, who only had 1 hit, but what a hit it was.  Abdul hit a moonshot for his 1st career HR.  Cordoba fought back valiantly, putting up 9 runs in the bottom half of the final inning only to fall ever so close, losing by 2.  Cordoba ends the night with a split, while Damascus ran the table this week and goes back to the top of the standings.

  • GM Safwan Khan driving in 4 runs;
  • Farooq Sani hits 4-5 and driving in 5 (he went 9-10 on the day);
  • After taking a league low 4 walks in the first 2 weeks, Damascus showed their patience this week and took 9 walks in each of their games this week for a total of 18;
  • Hatf Sohail’s play at 3rd base while also hitting 2-4 and driving in 2;
  • Zain Malik hitting yet another HR, now sitting at 3 on the season;
  • Abdul Butt hitting his 1st career HR;
  • Mohammed Ali Pasha getting back in the groove, hitting a perfect 3-3;
  • Leaders Bilal Javed & Yousaf Chaudhry both hitting HR’s, while playing stellar defense in the field;

 

Lahore @ Medina

Coming off a hard loss to Cordoba, Medina was looking to get back to their winning ways. As the home team they took the field first, allowing Lahore to get things rolling as they put up 4 runs on multiple hits. Shamil Khadaroo had a great hit to RF, allowing multiple runners to advance.
Fast forward to the 3rd inning with Lahore leading 5 to 3, Medina was struggling to put together any offense. Tonight was Hamid Malik’s night as he blasted anything/everything over the fence that touched his bat. He stepped into another 2 run homer to help Medina take the lead by 1. Sunny Abdul Murrad also had a sick shot down CF which resulted in an inside the park homerun. Great hit and even better wheels!! Lahore however would chip away behind the heavy bats of Ismael Kara and Nirvaan Latif. Fast forward to the 6th inning where Lahore was up 12 – 9 when everyone on Medina decided to take a sip of coffee and wake up. with one hit after another, Aslam Abdullah and Hamid Malik slapped another couple of homeruns, helping Medina put up a 7 run Mercy inning to go up by 4 entering the final frame. With Lahore playing with their backs against the wall, they would need a massive inning to take the lead and hold the home team. They did exactly that and a lot more, torching the black and gold for 9 runs, all of a sudden up by 5. Medina’s defense just couldn’t figure out how to make those simple catches. Hats off to Lahore for playing a great final inning but Medina only has themselves to blame after that horrendous display on defense. With one last chance for Medina they took to their bats and quickly picked up 2 outs. But then they started to rally as IQ Smash stepped up to the plate and blasted a 3 run homer closing the gap to 2. With their top coming up, Lahore needed that last out to ensure their top didn’t get going as Medina has been known to rally after 2 outs multiple times this season. Tonight’s game wouldn’t be one of them as Nirvaan Latif closed out the game with a fancy catch. Lahore takes this 21 – 19.

  • Nirvaan Latif – 4/5, HR, 5 RBI’s
  • Hamid Malik – 4/4, 2HR, 5 RBI’s
  • Aslam Abdullah – 4/4, HR, 5 RBI’s
  • Imran Qureshi – 4/4, HR, 5 RBI’s
  • Abdul Murad – 2/4, inside the park HR, 2 RBI’s
  • Shamil Khadaroo – 3/5, 3 RBI’s
  • Zia Beg – 2/5, 2B, 3 RBI’s with a nice deep shot to RF over the defenders head
  • Arsalan Abdullah – 3/5, 2B, 3 RBI’s and great play at 1st
  • Amir Khalil – 4/5, 1 RBI, 1BB

BSL Nights 2020 - Week 2 Recaps

Welcome back to the action everyone! With week 1 in the books and teams starting to realize their strengths/weaknesses their was a lot of good softball and a lot of clutch hitting. Teams seem to match up equally in terms of skill now the question is, how will the teams utilize their strengths and gain an advantage over one another? Does your team have what it takes?

We’ve got some hot Recaps for you below. Enjoy!

 Medina @ Lahore

 Lahore played host to the Medina in our first game and as expected this game started off with a bang. Sulemann “The Hammer” Mann stepped out to the plate and crushed a solo Homer to get Medina started. Immediately after that, Hamid Malik stepped into a 3 run homer padding Medina’s lead. Medina went on to mercy Lahore in that inning only to have Lahore came out and tie the game! Ismail Kara showed why Lahore picked him 2nd overall as he smashed a giant homer into LF finishing with 3 on the night (You owe us 3 lost softballs buddy!!). Omar Khatab complemented that clean up job with a solo smash of his own and that followed by a “solo shlam” by Shamil Khadaroo. 14 run scored in just the first innings. Now that’s what I’m talking about!! Medina’s offensive party continued as IQ Smash launched a HR to RF followed by an Aslam Abdullah HR to RF (first of his BSL career) pulling in 5 runs to Lahore’s 1.  Balls were just flying out of the park in this game as the wind was carrying everything.

Medina eventually separated themselves from Lahore and managed to gain a comfortable lead 18 to 11 going into the final inning (short game as game was called after 5 innings). With Medina up 6, they were looking to close out this game but Lahore had some plans.  They came out guns blazing as Nirvaan Latif and Ismail Kara smashed a pair of homers to bring this game within reach but Medina was able to hold off the onslaught as they ended Lahore’s night 1 run short of a tie. Bad guys take this one 18-17. With Medina’s offense flowing, their defense is getting bailed out game after game. Medina is looking to separate themselves and take that top spot but if they don’t figure out their defensive woes, they wont be enjoying this success for much longer. Lahore has got some serious fire power and have fallen just short in a couple of games being edged out by a run but we expect these guys to go on a serious run as they do every season. Question is, will history repeat itself or is Lahore ready to make a deep playoff run?

 Final Score: Medina 18     Lahore 17

 Game Highlights: 

  • Sulemann “The Hammer” Mann with a solo homerun and 3 RBI’s
  • Hamid “Super hot shot AGM” Malik with a run homerun
  • Imran Qureshi AKA IQ Smash continues to take the league by surprise with another couple of HR’s and 6 RBI’s
  • Aslam Abdullah with a homerun to RF and 3 RBI’s
  • Omer Chaudhry with a solo homerun
  • Abdul Murrad 3/3 with 2 RBI’s, 2 doubles and excellent play at SS
  • Tanseer Khawaja – 2 for 2 and a double. Controlled the mound well on a windy night
  • Ismail Kara – 3 Homeruns with 8 RBI’s
  • Omar Khatab – 2 solo Homeruns
  • Nirvaan Latif – Massive homerun in the final inning helping Lahore comeback. 4/4, 3 RBI’s
  • Shamil Khadaroo – homerun with 2 RBI’s
  • Zia Beg – Excellent pitching on a windy night
  • Medina’s quote of the day “What did you have for breakfast today” - Total of 14 Homeruns in this game from 9 different batters

 

Damacus @ Medina

 In our 2nd game of the double header Medina was flying high coming into this game with 2 wins in a row looking to get some revenge on Damascus. Damascus was coming off a hard loss where they so nearly tied the game, rallying to bring the game within reach with just 1 out remaining.  As the home team, Medina took the field first and got butchered by the high powered offense of Damascus putting up 6 runs courtesy of a Safwan Khan power shot to the parking lot. Medina took to bat and immediately picked up 2 outs, expecting the inning to come to a quick close, guys were preparing to get back on defense only for the bats to catch fire and somehow find a way to mercy Damascus. The next few innings were quiet for Medina… like really quiet as they put up goose eggs while Damascus slowly added to their lead every inning. Fast forward to the 4th inning where Damascus put up 3 runs to extend their lead to by 6, that’s when the Medina’s bats woke up. Sulemann Mann smashed a big time double bringing in an RBI, Down to 2 outs, Medina rallied and pulled in 6 runs knotting this game up going into the 5th. With that momentum, Medina shut Damascus down and jumped back in the dug out where it seemed like they were dowsing themselves in kerosene because Medina came out on fire! Omer Chaudhry smoked one out of the park for a solo run but then the next couple of batters were quickly called out leaving Medina to rally yet again. As Medina tried to break the tie they had scored 3 runs with 2 runners on base. Aslam Abdullah was up and sitting at a full count when he connected on a perfect pitch and launched that ball into parking lot as he brought in 3 runs with his clutch shot. That would prove to be an important hit as it would stand as the game winner. Damascus had 1 more inning to erase a 6 point deficit. Playing from behind, Damascus fought hard putting up runs and getting batters on base. For a moment it looked like Medina couldn’t stop the offensive onslaught as 4 runs were brought in with just 2 more to tie but for a second game in a row Damascus couldn’t complete the comeback. Hats off to them as they fought hard both games and showed how resilient they can be.  Although this counts as a loss for Damascus, I think both games helped this team build character and realize that despite the losses, they are one of the best all round teams. just because they fell short today, doesn’t mean they wont learn from this. With Captain Safwan Khan and the 2nd best Chaudhry in the league (just kidding buddy) they are being lead by 2 of the best hitters in the league. Can Damascus rally behind Captain Safwan and turn things around in week 3? Can Medina keep up this offensive pace? Only time will tell as we wrap up yet another successful week of softball

 Game Highlights: 

  • Imran Qureshi – 3/3, 4 RBI’s
  • Omer Chaudhry – Solo Homerun
  • Aslam Abdullah – Game winning Home run – 4 RBI’s
  • Mo Kala – finally making his presence felt – 2 Doubles, 4 RBI’s
  • Jay “The Mechanic” Ahmed – Rock solid in RF with some nice catches
  • Umair Ashraf – 1/1, RBI
  • Fawad Shaikh – 1/2, 2 RBI’s
  • Sunny – Great play at SS with some nice throws to home
  • Tanseer Khawa – Excellent pitching to go with his 2/3 at bat and 1 RBI
  • Suleman Mann with a very timely Double – 3/3, 1 RBI
  • Aatif Parvez – 2/3, double, 1 RBI
  • Safwan Khan – Homerun and 4 RBI’s and excellent catches in the OF
  • Hassan Chaudhry – Homerun and 4 RBI’s
  • Excellent pitching by Abbas Allidiina – 3/4 at bat with 3 RBI’s
  • Imran Merchant – 3/4 and a double
  • Hassan Afzal – Big time double with 2 RBI’s
  • Farooq Sani – 2/3, 2 RBI’s
  • Riyad Ramjaun - 2/3 at bat and a walk

 

Cordoba @ Lahore

With Lahore starting the season with three straight losses they felt this game was a must win. Lahore only has one win against Cordoba in the past 3 seasons so the odds were already against them. The game started with Cordoba putting up 4 hours courtesy of back to back smashes from Ahmad ‘Crazy’ Ammad and Bilal Javed. Lahore chipped away in the bottom half of the first inning with a towering shot by Omar Khattab (first of 4 home runs this game – yes you read that right – 4 home runs!). Zia Beg continued to be a calming force on the mound with stellar pitching, and helped his own cause by going 3/3 with 2 doubles and 1 RBI. Cordoba continue to chip away at Lahore’s lead with a home run by Zain Khiji to get them within 1 run. Lahore broke it wide open in bottom of the 4th inning with potent hitting from Shamil Khadaroo and Ismail KaraHamza Waheed kept Cordoba in it with strategic pitching as much as possible. Mohammed Ali Pasha showed his age and left the game with a lower body injury (just kidding brother – inshallah you are well). Lahore pulled through with a win and glad to get that monkey off their backs.

 Game highlights: 

  • Omar Khattab – 4 home runs, 8 RBI (yes, 8 RBIs)
  • Ismail Kara – 3 RBI
  • Shamil Khadroo – 2 doubles, excellent defense
  • Amir Khalil – 3/4, 3 runs
  • Zia Beg – excellent pitching, 2 doubles
  • Everyone on Lahore recording a hit
  • Bilal Javed – 2 home runs, 2 RBI
  • Ahmad Ammad – 2 home runs, 5 RBI
  • Abdul Butt – improved hitting, double
  • Ahmed Butt – top tier outfield defense

Cordoba @ Damacus

Damascus entered week 2 on a high, entering as the only undefeated team, while Cordoba was also on a high, fielding their entire team this week with suspensions out of the way.  Damascus started off sluggish while the high-flying offense of Cordoba was on display at the get go.  2 innings into the game and Cordoba were up 10-0 as Damascus was struggling on the mound with the hard winds blowing.  Meanwhile, Hamza Waheed was making his season debut after nursing a finger injury the past few weeks and looked stellar on the mound.  As you can expect, Bilal Javed hit his usual HR but Cordoba now looks like they have another HR hitter in Zain Malik.  Zain hit a monster HR and drove in 3 to put the boys in Yellow up.  Not to be outdone, Damascus started clawing their way back and shutting down the opponent’s offense, as the 2 teams entered the final inning with only 4 runs separating them.  Some costly errors by Damascus in the field allowed Cordoba to add another 4 as Yousaf Chaudhry had a great day at the plate going 3-4 and driving in 2.  Down 8 with 1 inning left, Damascus did everything in their power to overcome the deficit.  GM Safwan Khan led by example as always, knocking out 2 more HR’s in this game, while Abbas Allidina hit 2 more himself.  A furious comeback was 1 run short as Cordoba was able to stop the bleeding just in the nick of time winning the game by 1.  With Cordoba at full strength, their season outlook is on the rise.  Damascus on the other hand need to clean some things up defensively, but the team showed a lot of heart, making it a game at the end.

  • Zain Malik with his 1st BSLN HR and driving in 3, while locking down 1st base;
  • Bilal Javed driving in 6 runs on the day;
  • Yousaf Chaudhry batting 2-3 with 3 RBI’s and commandeering the outfield;
  • Hamza Waheed making his season debut as pitcher and striking out 3;
  • Safwan Khan with 2 more HR’s to add to his season tally;
  • Abbas Allidina driving in 6 and hitting 2 HR’s;
  • Imran Merchant with stellar play at SS while getting on base all 4 AB’s;

BSL Nights 2020 - Week 1 Recaps

Medina vs Damascus

 With everyone coming off an extra long offseason, everyone was happy to be out but a lot of us had some rust to shed. Damascus was the home team and took the field first while Medina got ready to put up some runs. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out that way as Damascus quickly shut them down and in return put up a mercy inning. Down 7 runs, Medina wasn’t too happy but they knew the game was just getting started.  While Medina`s top order struggled to get going right off the bat, their middle and bottom of the lineup were heating up. Imran Qureshi had a monster day as he Smashed 2 bombs over the fence bringing in a total of 5 RBI`s, and a walk. While Imran was tearing things up for Medina, Safwan Khan was equally dangerous on the night smashing 2 HR`s of his own along with 6 RBI`s. After a few good innings the game turned in Medina`s favour as their bats caught fire and were ahead by 4 runs going into the final frame. DMC had a great 7th inning as their batters loaded the bases just in time for Imran Merchant to walk up and smoke a grand slam putting DMC in a position to close out the game. With 1 out remaining, DMC needed 1 run to win but Medina couldn’t get the out they so desperately needed to keep the game tied. Damascus takes this one in an exciting walk off victory.  A few highlights to mention as there were some fantastic plays by many individuals.

  • Safwan had some nice grabs in the outfield saving a bunch of runs and hitting 2 big HR’s
  • Fawad Shaikh made an unbelievable catch near the end of the game which saved a few runs and kept Medina in the game
  • Aslam Abdullah had a big double in RF
  • Imran Qureshi with 2 HR’s and a walk
  • Chaudhry brothers trading HR’s
  • Imran Merchant’s game tying grand slam in the final inning
  • Omar Khan, Aatif Parvez and Fawad Shaikh making great contact at the plate

 


Medina vs Cordoba
 Cordoba was just coming a walk off victory while Medina was coming off a walk off loss hoping to turn things around against a stacked Cordoba squad. With Medina being the away team they batter first and quickly took advantage of a 3 run smash job from Omer “Shuffle Master“ Chaudhry.  After 2 innings Medina was up 10-1 and was looking to continue that momentum but Cordoba had other plans as they turned around and put 6 runs in the following inning cutting the lead to 3 but Medina’s batting lineup has proven to be resilient as the entire batting lineup played their game and continued to pour in runs. Imran “the sledge hammer” Qureshi continued his dominance as he launched another HR into deep space (or the dark bushes.. point is he lost the ball) and after reaching the HR limit, he adjusted and started smashing base hits. I don’t know what he’s eating these days but captain Kala just ordered 10 boxes of it! Aslam Abdullah had a great Debut as he went 3 for 4 this game with an RBI. Medina was sitting comfortably with a 19-8 lead after 4 periods but their defense was starting to make mistakes allowing Cordoba to slowly close the gap. In the final inning Medina was up 20-10 and all they had to do was shut the home team down and pick up an easy win. We all know that the defending champs Cordoba have a lot of chemistry and with the core they have, and they are always in the game. With their top coming up, Cordoba was starting to capitalize on a few dropped catches and other minor errors as they started closing the gap in this open inning. Ahmed “Crazy” Ammad hit 3 fly balls this without clearing the fence in this game (very odd) but each time the fielder misplayed the ball allowing him to pick up a double. Yusuf Chaudhry then stepped into a monster HR down CF closing the gap to 4 runs. With 2 outs there was only so much they could push as Medinas was able to stop Cordoba dead in their tracks and pick up the much needed victory.
 
Highlights:

  • Imran Qureshi – 3/3 and a HR
  • Omer Chaudhry – 2 HR’s
  • Aslam Abdullah – 3 for 4 and trying to catch Crazy’s long shot with his chest (u better ice that)
  • Akif Waheed HR
  • Yusuf Chaudhry’s HR in the final inning
  • Bilal and Tanseer Khawaja’s slick pitching
  • Zain Malik’s HR not a HR (Massive shot to LF only to go foul by a couple of feet)
  • Zain Malik and IQ’s play at first base
  • Sunny Murad constantly picking up the shallow outfield pop flies (bailing out the senior Chaudhry) and excellent play at SS
  • Jay Ahmad - 5 for 7 on the day with 4 RBI's

 

Lahore vs Damascus


Both Lahore & Damascus were coming off intense walk off games with different outcomes; Lahore lost a heartbreaker by 1 while Damascus were riding a high coming back 5 in the last inning to win game 1.  Damascus went with their 2nd pitcher of the day, starting Abbas Allidina, while AGM Salman Ahmed took a breather after pitching great in game 1.  Through 2 innings, the game was tight and was tied at 2 apiece.  Unfortunately, that’s when the wheels fell off for Lahore and Damascus took control of the game, with 6, 7 and 6 runs in the next 3 innings.  The onslaught was headed by GM Safwan Khan who went 4-4 and drove in 5 RBI’s, upping his week 1 stats to a perfect 8-8 on the day, while 1st pick Hassan Chaudhry was also perfect and drove in 5 runs.  The player of the game for Damascus on this night though was none other than Hassan “Desert” Afzal who cranked out a monster homerun and drove in 4.  On the flip side, there were also positives to be taken from Lahore.  Newcomers Arsalaan Abdullah and Saad Ibrahim went perfect at the plate and will definitely help Lahore as they progress through the season.  Lahore was also playing without their big bat, as Salim Jaichi was forced to sit this one out with an injury.  Unfortunately, after 5 innings, Damascus had run up the score and the game was called due to the mercy rule as Lahore dropped this game 21-4.  Lahore ends week 1 with 2 losses while Damascus comes away with 2 wins.  There is still lots of season left so both teams shouldn’t read too much into this week’s scores, as history has shown, week 1 means nothing with an entire season left to play.

  • Safwan Kahn went 4-4 and hit another HR, driving in 4 RBI’s
  • Hassan x 2 (Afzal & Chaudhry) both hit HR’s and drove in a combined 9 runs
  • Imran Merchant was stellar at SS and hit a monster HR and drive in 3
  • Abbas Allidina allowed only 4 ER’s in his pitching debut while also helping his own cause and batting a perfect 3-3
  • Damscus’ top 2 batters Hatf Sohail & Riyad Ramjaun went 6-8 and ensured they were always on base with big batters behind them
  • Arsalaan Abdullah & Saad Ibrahim were perfect at the plate in this game
  • “Sir” Nirvaan Latif continued his hot hitting, cranking a HR and driving in 2

 

Lahore vs Cordoba

In one of our first games of the season Cordoba hosted a stacked Lahore squad hoping to get their first game off to a good start and that they did. Holding Lahore to a goose egg, Cordoba poured in 6 runs to start their season off right. Lahore responded by going on a 9-2 run holding on to a 9-8 lead after 3 periods. Not sure if something changed in the air but everyone stopped putting up runs and it seemed like a struggle to get anything going. Finally top of the 6th, Cordoba brought in the game tying game putting pressure on Lahore to break the tie and develop some sort of a lead. With just 1 run scored in that inning, Cordoba needed 1 to tie and another to taste victory and that they certainly did as Cordoba takes this game in an exciting walk off victory

 


2020 - Team Previews

Team Medina

Captain Mo Kala has been leading the Medina Faithful’s since day 1 of BSLN and this year is no different as he teams up with super hot shot AGM Hamid Malik to help continue his legacy. Hamid Malik will be the new #2 on team Medina and will look to build on his 2 all star-appearances. Medina had the first overall pick and didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on Omer Chaudhry. His experience along with his leadership (and the Chaudhry Shuffle) are valuable assets and will be leaned on to help train/build chemistry with the rest of the team-mates. When Medina’s turn came back around, and Robocop was still available, the duo didn’t hesitate to snag him. Tanseer Khawaja has been known to control the mound with his pitching and at the same time help mentor some of the new guys. Medina continued to stack their team with veterans like, Suleman Mann, Imran Qureshi, Sunny Murad and the one and only Jay “The mechanic” Ahmad. As the draft was nearly complete, Medina rounded up Umair Ashraf, Omar Khan and Atif Pervez who played a major role in Medina’s offense last year. Medina also decided to take a chance on 2 new comers, Aslam Abdullah and Fawad Shaikh. Fawad Shaikh has played softball for a long time and will rely on his past experience to contribute to Medina’s winning ways. Aslam Abdullah might be the difference this year for Medina as he flew under the radar and landed on Medina’s doorstep. Aslam is an all-round player who can help in various ways and will look to make some noise in his BSLN Debut.

Medina may have one of the strongest outfields and will look to make most of their impact on defense. If these guys can build some chemistry and learn to play off one another in this short season, Medina is poised to make another deep playoff run especially when being led by “Kala Mamba”. Can the dynamic duo of Kala and Malik help lead Medina to the promise land and bring home a 2nd championship in 3 years? We’re about to find out!! Game 1, Medina vs Damascus. 7pm SHARP!! LETS GOOOOOO

 

Team Lahore

Team Lahore brings back most of its core from the first two seasons. Dubbed “The Rexdale Boyz”. Lahore has added top talents in Ismail Kara and Nivaan Latif to help take Lahore to their championship aspirations.  Like their 2nd overall pick Ismail Kara, Lahore continued to select new to the league players Omar Khattab, Saad Ibrahimi and Arsalan Abdullah.  Little is known about these players, If they can contribute early, Lahore could be a potent offensive team.

In order to keep the core together Lahore made a block buster trade sending Zain Khilji for former gold glove first basemen Salim Jaichi.  The move left a hole in centre field for Lahore, Captains Aftab sheikh and Amir Khalil will have to work to find solutions for Lahore to reach their title hopes.

Lahore does have depth, Fawad Shaikh will be expected to grow from his rookie season. Neal Irfaan should build on his breakout season last year both at the plate and defensively.  Shamil Khadaroo should continue to be serviceable both at the plate and in the field. Pitcher Zia Beg mans the mound for Lahore for a second season.

Lahore goes into week one with depth at the plate, with two legitimate power bats, but are expecting a lot from first year players.  Although they have depth in the outfield they are lacking and elite defender to control the outfield. 

Win or lose, Lahore is looking forward to a fun season while growing the brotherhood on the team.

 

Team Damascus

Captain Safwan Khan takes the helm of the Damascus ship once again. He is joined by Salman Ahmad as his assistant. Safwan would be looking to take his team to the final again and hoping to lift the trophy this time. Damascus had the last pick and grabbed Bilal Javed in their first pick who they later traded for Imran Merchant, strengthening their defence. For their second pick, they did not miss the opportunity to grab “post shadi” Hassan Chaudhry and would be looking to benefit from his team building, all round abilities and overall game experience. After the first two picks, team Damascus was sitting pretty with 3 solid batters and 3 solid fielders.

Captain Safwan continued to boost his team’s offence by picking two all-stars Farooq sani, “no one can stop my cricket shots” and Riyad, “the better”, Ramajun. Shane Worthington and Hatf Sohail, who played a major role in the team’s appearance in the final last year, will be wearing the team Damascus jersey again. They continued to pick Hasan, “desert” Afzal, Aftab, “I can feel no pain”, Khan and Awais Malik. Abbas Allidina makes his debut in BSLN and will benefit the team with his past experience from the JMS league. Salman will be taking the mound and looking to improve on his rookie year pitching.

Damascus is packing a strong defense and offense and one of the best all around teams. If they can quickly build the team chemistry and overcome the mental lapses, they will be a strong competitor for the championship. Time to put in work Damascus and LET’S HAVE FUN!

 

Team Cordoba

Team Cordoba is keeping its core intact with several players returning from the championship team. In 2020, the team added Triple A (Ahmad Amad, Akif Waheed, Abdul Butt) who are some of the former players that are returning from year 1. So, the team should hit the ground running with strong team chemistry.

The GM agreed to take on the 13th player in Abdul Butt (aka Big Butt) via trade, as Abdul Butt promised the team for a breakout year. Will he hit his first homerun in year 3?

The team has also added BSL veteran Zain Khilji and thus became one of the most top-heavy teams in the league. Zain Khilji's contributions will be key on both offensive and defensive end for Cordoba's success.

Cordoba has always been a batting juggernaut and that hasn’t changed this year however, there are several question marks on the defensive end. They will need their new members Bilal Malik and Furquan Usman to learn the game and contribute on the defensive end.

With no clear favorites so far, Cordoba has their work cut out for them to contend for the title again.

 


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.