Tuesday March 31st 2020

HERTS QUALIFY, PILOTS SHOT DOWN OVER CROYDON

The diamond was drenched in déjà vu.  Only one year ago the Herts first-team were onthis same field… facing the same opposition.

 

In the 2007 National Championships, the Falcons metthe Humber Pilots in the AA Final. Relegated from the Premier League the season before, Herts weredetermined to cap their walk-over winning season with a trophy and trip backinto the AAA.  But sloppy first-inningdefense and ineffective pitching allowed Humbera 5-0 lead, and they never looked back. The Falcons suffered an 8-5 loss and hung their heads in defeat.  Although they secured re-promotion to theAAA, the lack of a national title was the sole blemish on an otherwise perfect(and perfectly effortless) season.

 

Here we go again. Humber – also promoted to the AAA in the Northern bracket – made thelong trek due south from Hullto face their pushover opponents from the previous year.  Heavy storm clouds loomed over the same,rain-soaked field… and the Pilots came expecting a repeat victory.

 

Mayday! Mayday!

 

These were not the same Falcons.  Herts charged into 2008 with a full head ofsteam.  New leadership brought a wholenew approach.  With a focus on improvedtraining methods and a unifying philosophy, these Falcons sported adetermination and team commitment unrivalled in years past.  The emergence of additional talent – newfoundand home grown – meant that Herts brought improved speed, pitching, defense andpower to an already successful lineup. The Pilots were in for a dogfight.

 

In a complete reversal of their last encounter, theFalcons won the coin toss, took the home side dugout and readied themselves fora tooth-and-nail showdown.  The Pilotsseemed to take an early advantage when 2007 Best Pitcher Nic Goetz got off to aherky-jerky start walking the first two batters and beaning the third.  But the threat was quickly silenced.  Catcher Jason Greenberg gunned down awould-be base-stealer for the first out of the game, and a line-drive doubleplay by third baseman Darrin Ward brought the inning to the end.  Herts wasted no time in embracing theirmomentum.  In the bottom of the 1st,speedy leadoff batter Jim Hyde walked, stole second and was brought home on adouble from slugger Andy Cornish.  Twomore hits, two walks, a hit batter and a suicide squeeze brought in anadditional four runs for the Falcons who, in a reversal of fortunes of their2007 championship game, had an early 5-0 lead… and a confidence that evenMother Nature couldn’t quash.

 

Goetz quickly found his focus and dominated the Humber offense.  Ina foreshortened five-inning game the Pilots were held to one run on only twohits.  Meanwhile, the Falcons batserupted for six runs in the 2nd, six more in the 3rd, andfour runs in the 4th.  Theblowout seemed to end before it had even begun as the Falcons brought theirwinged rivals down to earth in a 21-1 qualifying win.

 

The game was not without controversy.  The two-man ump crew of Petter Nordwall andDarrin Muller hand their hands full with the frustrated Humberside.  Shortly after shortstop C. Radgewas ejected for colourfully objecting to a close play at second base, oneinning later replacement shortstop S. Radgewas thrown out for intentionally tripping speedster Hyde on the base-path.  Indeed, this marked the first father-sonejections in recorded BBF championship history.

 

On the positive side, Herts busted out the bigbats.  Cornish connected for two doublesand a monster-run for 4 RBI.  MartyCullen and Darrin Ward also doubled, and Ward smacked a two-run blast of hisown.  Second-baseman Kimiyoshi Saionjiwent 4-for-4 with 4 RBI including a three-run dinger.  The Falcons flew around the base-pathsstealing 8-of-8 and hustling out two triples from Jim “T-Devil” Hyde and Dan“Hollywood” Kerry.

 

As the Falcons packed up their rain-soaked gear withthe knowledge that Oxfordhad bested their division rival London Metros, the inevitable question loomed…“Can we win it all…?”




BOX SCORE

Humber Pilots at Herts Falcons
Score By Innings 1 2 3 4 5 R H E
Humber Pilots 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 4
Herts Falcons 5 6 6 4 0 21 19 2

Herts Falcons 21, Humber Pilots 1
Herts Falcons Humber Pilots
  ab r h bi   ab r h bi
Jim Hyde lf 4 2 3 1 M Radge cf 2 0 0 0
Andy Cornish ss 4 3 3 4 S Radge 2b 2 0 1 0
Jason Greenberg c 4 3 1 0 C Radge ss 0 0 0 0
Kimiyoshi Saionji 2b 4 4 4 4 A Maltby c 1 0 0 1
Darrin Ward 3b 2 3 2 3 B Webb p 2 0 0 0
(t4) Peter Kikel 3b 1 0 0 0 M Gilbert 3b 2 0 0 0
Dan Kerry cf 2 3 2 1 S Mayhew lf 2 0 0 0
(t4) Tim Elkins cf 0 1 0 0 K McThitas 1b 2 0 1 0
Marty Cullen 1b 3 2 2 2 P Senn rf 2 1 0 0
Greg Bochan rf 2 0 1 1
(b3) Rodney Naghar rf 2 0 1 1
Lee Manning dh 3 0 0 0
Nick Goetz p 0 0 0 0
Aspi Dimitrov p 0 0 0 0
TEAM TOTALS 31 21 19 17 TEAM TOTALS 15 1 2 1

E: Andy Cornish, Darrin Ward, M Gilbert(2), C Radge, M Radge. LOB: Humber Pilots 4,
Herts Falcons 6. 2B: Andy Cornish(2), Darrin Ward, Marty Cullen. 3B: Jim Hyde, Dan
Kerry. HR: Kimiyoshi Saionji, Andy Cornish, Darrin Ward. SB: Andy Cornish(2), Jim
Hyde(2), Jason Greenberg(2), Kimiyoshi Saionji, Dan Kerry. CS: M Radge, S Mayhew. SB:
Marty Cullen.

Herts Falcons IP H R ER BB SO
Nick Goetz W 4.00 2 1 1 4 1
Aspi Dimitrov 1.00 0 0 0 0 1
Humber Pilots            
B Webb L 4.00 19 21 16 5 3

HBP: by Nick Goetz (C Radge), by B Webb (Dan Kerry). . . , by B Webb (Lee Manning). .
Balk: B Webb. T: 2:00. A: 151.
Humber Pilots – Top of the 1st:
M Radge walked, caught trying to steal 2nd.
S Radge walked, batted forward to 2nd, tagged out going to 3rd.
C Radge hit by pitch.
A Maltby lined out.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.
Herts Falcons – Bottom of the 1st:
Jim Hyde singled, stole 2nd, batted forward to home.
Andy Cornish doubled, stole 3rd, batted forward to home, 1 RBI.
Jason Greenberg grounded out.
Kimiyoshi Saionji singled, stole 2nd, batted forward to home, 1 RBI.
Darrin Ward walked, batted forward to 3rd, advanced to home on error.
Dan Kerry hit by pitch, batted forward to 2nd, advanced to 3rd on error, batted
forward to home.
Marty Cullen sacrifice bunted, 1 RBI.
Greg Bochan singled, 1 RBI.
Lee Manning grounded out.
5 runs, 4 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.
Humber Pilots – Top of the 2nd:
B Webb grounded out.
M Gilbert struck out looking.
S Mayhew reached on error, caught trying to steal 2nd.
0 runs, 0 hits, 1 error, 0 LOB.
Herts Falcons – Bottom of the 2nd:
Jim Hyde walked, stole 2nd, batted forward to home.
Andy Cornish hit 2-run home run, 2 RBI.
Jason Greenberg reached on error, stole 2nd, batted forward to home.
Kimiyoshi Saionji singled, batted forward to home, 1 RBI.
Darrin Ward doubled, batted forward to home, 1 RBI.
Dan Kerry singled, stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on balk, batted forward to home, 1 RBI.
Marty Cullen singled, batted forward to 3rd, 1 RBI.
Greg Bochan flied out.
Lee Manning flied out.
Jim Hyde singled, advanced to 2nd on error, picked off.
6 runs, 6 hits, 2 errors, 1 LOB.
Humber Pilots – Top of the 3rd:
K McThitas singled, forced out at 2nd.
P Senn reached on fielder's choice, batted forward to home.
M Radge popped out.
S Radge singled, batted forward to 3rd.
C Radge walked, batted forward to 2nd.
A Maltby walked, 1 RBI.
B Webb grounded out.
1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 LOB.
Herts Falcons – Bottom of the 3rd:
Andy Cornish doubled, batted forward to 3rd, stole home.
Jason Greenberg singled, stole 2nd, batted forward to home.
Kimiyoshi Saionji singled, batted forward to home.
Darrin Ward hit 2-run home run, 2 RBI.
Dan Kerry tripled, advanced to home on error.
Marty Cullen reached on error, batted forward to home.
Rodney Naghar struck out swinging.
Lee Manning popped out.
Jim Hyde tripled, 1 RBI.
Andy Cornish grounded out.
6 runs, 6 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.
Humber Pilots – Top of the 4th:
M Gilbert reached on error, forced out at 2nd.
S Mayhew lined out.
K McThitas grounded out.
0 runs, 0 hits, 1 error, 0 LOB.
Herts Falcons – Bottom of the 4th:
Jason Greenberg walked, batted forward to home.
Kimiyoshi Saionji hit 2-run home run, 2 RBI.
Peter Kikel struck out looking.
Tim Elkins walked, batted forward to home.
Marty Cullen doubled, batted forward to home.
Rodney Naghar singled, batted forward to 3rd, 1 RBI.
Lee Manning hit by pitch, batted forward to 2nd.
Jim Hyde struck out looking.
Andy Cornish walked, 1 RBI.
Jason Greenberg grounded out.
4 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 3 LOB.
Humber Pilots – Top of the 5th:
P Senn grounded out.
M Radge grounded out.
S Radge struck out swinging.
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

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