British Baseball A-League
Guildord Mavericks 22
Herts Eagles 19
report by Duncan Hoyle
Guildford Mavericks held off a late surge from Herts Eagles to record their second successive win, in a competitively played game at Grovehill Ballpark.
The Eagles got off to a dreadful start, due to a combination of aggressive baserunning, good hitting from Guildford and some poor fielding to find themselves 7-0 down after the 1st inning. However starting pitcher Theo Scheepers began to find his range, and the Eagles offence started to get some hits to make the score 14 – 5 after 4 innings.
With the possibility of the Eagles falling foul to the mercy rule, manager Duncan Hoyle made some changes at the end of the 4th, bringing in Zack Longboy as relief pitcher, experienced first base man Glen Downer and Ben Marques, who replaced the injured catcher Oz Kemal.
Longboy settled in quick and went on to pitch until the end of the game, only conceding 1 run in the 6th and shutting out the Guildford offence in the 7th to allow the Eagles to get back into the game. Strong hitting from Joseph Osborne-Brade, Ben Marques and Zack Longboy brought the Eagles within touching distance.
With the Eagles now having comfortably avoided the mercy rule, the game progressed into the 9th inning, Guildford had added a few more runs to lead 22 – 17. With the Eagles needing 5 to tie and take the match into an extra inning, Marques and Longboy both scored to bring the Eagles within 3. Theo Scheepers looked to have saved the game for the Eagles when he smashed a shot to deep centerfield, however the centerfielder made an excellent catch to keep the runners on base. The Guildford pitcher who had pitched the whole game must have been feeling the pressure, but he kept his cool as it came down to Tak Ashida to try to hit the walk off grand slam, but in giving it his all he could only manager to sky the ball to the third baseman who made the catch and secure the win for Guilford.
The Eagles travel to the magnificent Pavilion Field in Brighton for their first away game of the season to face Hove Tuesday on Sunday, 29 April (first pitch 12:00).