The Herts Falcons assured themselves a playoff spot last Sunday, 18th July, with an emphatic 42 – 8 win over Brentwood Stags, gaining revenge for their only loss, inflicted by Brentwood earlier in the season.
The Falcons bats started working from the very first inning, with starting pitcher Paul Raybould getting it started with a looping hit between the infield and outfield. A stolen base and a walk issued to John Delborello allowed John Oliver to bring home Paul. This first run was quickly followed by runs for the remainder of the Falcons lineup, the highlight being a 2 run Home Run for catcher Andy Cornish. Paul Raybould became the 9th batter to cross the plate, for the second time in the inning.
That proved to be the end of the scoring in the first inning, as John Oliver became the third out of the inning.
Although the Stags’ leadoff hitter was able to reach first base, he was soon picked off trying to steal second, and the next two hitters were caught in the outfield; by Aspi Dimitrov in centre, and Dave Hamilton in right field. Score after 1 inning 9 – 0 Falcons.
The second inning continued in the same vein as the first had for the Falcons bats, as they again batted round the order, with 10 runs crossing the plate. Again holding the Stags scoreless the Falcons had given themselves a comfortable 19 run lead after the first two innings.
The third inning saw Andy Cornish lead off with his second HR of the day, which was followed two batters later by John Oliver depositing a pitch over the outfielders head for his only HR of the day.
Shunji Kakutani scored the fourth run in the inning, and that was it for the Falcons.
The Falcons bats kept on pounding the Stags pitching, as another 7 runs were scored in the fourth inning, the highlight being a first HR of the season for manager Lee Manning. A scoreless
Just two runs were scored by the Falcons in the fifth, with another pitch being deposited over the outfield by Shunji Kakutani for his first HR of the season. The Stags replied with a 3 run HR of their own and they managed to outscore the Falcons in an inning for the first time in the game.
The sixth inning again saw the Stags take the honours, as the Falcons were held to just 3 runs, and they scored 4 of their own.
The seventh inning, however, reverted to form as the Falcons continued the slug fest. The replacement of Dave Hamilton by Sean Young in right field did not have any adverse effect, as the runs continued to add up. Lee brought home Paul Auchterlounie and Sean for two runs; Lee himself scored on Mark Houchin hit, who also scored on a John Delborello single. After a John Oliver single moved John D to third, up stepped Shunji, who deposited a pitch over the leftfielders’ head for his second, and the Falcons’ sixth, HR, scoring three runs. The game finished with a scoreless half inning for
The game included one of the rarest achievements in baseball. The Falcons player/manager, Lee Manning, completed a “cycle” which consists of hitting a single, a double, a triple and a home run.
With a playoff place now guaranteed, the race reaches its climax for the Falcons. Next Sunday (25th July) they host the second placed Croydon Pirates, the only other team who can claim first place in the division. A win will see the Falcons secure first place, and home field advantage for at least the first playoff game; a loss will leave it out of their hands, relying on the Pirates’ results in their remaining fixtures.
Replacements: M Houchin (for A Cornish 4th inning), S Young (for D Hamilton 7th inning).
written by Paul Auchterlounie