The winter weather means different things to different people. For those of us in the baseball world, it means a bit of rest for aching bones, and it also means awards! Herts Baseball Club is looking back on the season and handing out the silverware.
For the Raptors, who battled to 3 wins in the Single-A league, there were plenty of heroes both old and new. After a close-run vote, the players chose Michael Cresswell as their MVP for 2014. In his third year with Herts, this was a well deserved honour. Not only did he lead key categories, as you will see below, Cresswell was also among the team leaders in others.
Joint manager Rob Jones said: “Mikey was part of everything this year. Above and beyond the stats, he had the x-factor that you need to compete and drive on your team-mates.”
And so here, to complete the picture, is the full list of Raptors winners. There are no actual trophies — this is the age of austerity after all — but raise a glass to them all.
Best pitcher – Michael Cresswell. The young lefty never even expected to be a starting pitcher when the season began, but he became the most reliable go-to guy as the Raptors searched for leadership from the mound. His consistency improved further from his pitching debut in 2013, and by the year’s end he had achieved the best ERA on the staff and the best K/BB ratio. An almost flawless pickoff move — which claimed numerous victims — only added to his achievements for the year.
Infield Gold Glove – Jamie Lang. The long-suffering Mets fan missed part of the year due to a visit to the United States, but either side of that he was a solid figure in the middle of the infield defence. He ended with more than a dozen assists and got the honour of securing the final out of the year at the Essex Redbacks.
Outfield Gold Glove – Joseph Osborne-Brade. A classic story of an impressive return from injury. After missing the entire 2013 season following a broken leg, Joseph stamped his authority on the Raptors outfield in 2014. He took a series of spectacular catches – including one at Essex which was nominated for play of the year – and perhaps even more importantly he was a safe pair of hands in every inning.
Batting title – Rob Jones. The team’s co-manager played in more games than usual in 2014, and used them to fight to another .500 year with the bat. He might have moaned publicly about his batting in July, but in fact the stats showed him with the most hits and the most runs, and the highest average (based on a minimum of 15 PAs).
Most RBIs – Tomasz Kosak. The Warsaw Express – in what turned out to be his final year with the Raptors – claimed the title with the help of big offensive outbursts against Tonbridge and at Haverhill. It’s a trophy which caps years at Grovehill which saw a big impact from a big character.
Stolen Base King – Michael Cresswell. A close-run thing (terrible pun intended) on a team with many keen base thieves…. but our leading pitcher also racked up the most steals. Honourable mention should go to Jeff Witter, who was in the mix despite the fact that some might think he lacked the traditional skill-set of a base-stealer!
Rookie of the Year – Daniel Bennett. New recruits did sterling work for the Raptors, and showed great dedication. Daniel made himself a tough out at the plate and – in the field — played several positions, including acquitting himself well at shortstop and trying out as a catcher.