GAME REPORT (by Dave Hamilton): Chantal Gerrard, playing in only her second league game, was the batting hero(ine) for the Herts Hawks as they completed a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Richmond Riverdogs on Sunday. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Hawks were facing an agonising defeat after their strongest defensive display of the year. However, Richmond were unable to get the final three outs as Chantal drove in the Hawk's winning run with a single down the third base line.
The Hawks were keen to build on the potential shown in the previous week's grudge match against the Falcons and provided some solid defence to back up a strong pitching performance from the rejuvinated Larry Martillo. However, Richmond pitcher Per Nilsson was also doing a fine job of keeping the Hawks hitters off balance and did not concede a hit in the first five innings as the Riverdogs clung to a 1-0 lead.
Chantal's lead-off single and some aggressive baserunning from player-manager Jake Kikel helped the Hawks draw level in the sixth inning, only for Richmond to edge ahead once more by scoring a run of their own in the seventh.
Embroiled in the pitching duel, both defences kept up the pressure and although a more patient approach at the plate saw the Hawks threaten to score in both the seventh and eighth innings, their hitters couldn't quite find the clutch hit they so desperately needed and runners were left stranded at second and third base to set up the nailbiting finish.
Trailing 2-1, rookie outfielder Jonathan Lewys led off the ninth inning with a walk before being forced out at second base on Larry Martillo's ground ball, and pinch-hitter Paul Auchterlonie (a late replacement for Carlos Casal who had suffered a serious looking leg injury five minutes earlier in the field) then hit a one-out single to right field to put the tying run on third base. Mark Hoffman's ground ball was good enough to tie the scores and set the scene for Chantal Gerrard to drive in the game-winning run with her second hit of the game.
The win lifts the Hawks record for the season to 3 wins and 4 losses, but the loss was tough on the Riverdogs who battled hard in a very tight ballgame. The Hawks now have a week off to work on their hitting before two games with Bournemouth on July 1st. Based on today's performance, they could do worse than learning to hit like a girl!!!