Northenders win 10th title

Friday, May 28, 2010, 6:39

The seventeenth season of the Malta National Baseball League came to an end last Sunday, when the Mellieha Northenders and the Zabbar Devils battled each other in a three-game series for the final showdown of the year. This was Mellieha’s eighth straight appearance in the National League Championship Series, having won five titles from the first seven appearances, while the Zabbar Devils made their first appearance ever in the finals. After several consecutive losing seasons, the Devils finally managed to climb to the top of the local baseball charts, recording their first winning season ever.

Action from Game 2 of the National League Championship Series of Baseball

The Devils and the Northenders faced each other four times during the 2010 regular season, splitting the series with two wins each, anticipating that the title could go either way. Unfortunately, Zabbar’s title hopes were taken away from them, when the Northenders swept the Devils in two games over last weekend, with Mellieha increasing their total title number to ten in seventeen years. The Northenders dominated both games, with timely hits and strong pitching from their staff, eliminating the need to play a Game 3 next weekend. This was the second time in a row that Mellieha had lifted the championship trophy and their sixth title in seven seasons.

This title was a well-deserved win for the Northenders, as they have many dedicated individuals who work very hard not only to be the best, but also to promote baseball and softball in any way possible. Northenders’ player/manager Keith Bartolo and coach Ray Bartolo are two people that clearly stand out from this list of individuals, who have dedicated so much time over the past few years to turn Mellieha into the baseball capital of Malta. The club has also produced three senior ballplayers that have played with Dutch and Italian clubs over the past two years, with one of them currently playing in the top Italian Division. The Mellieha ball club also has a very strong nursery with three young members selected to participate in this year’s World Baseball Children’s Fair in Tokyo, Japan, which will be held this July. A female slow-pitch softball club has also been formed this year, again thanks to the dedication from the Mellieha staff.

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