The Herts Hawks were unable to cause an upset against the Division One leaders from Milton Keynes. The Hurricanes won both games in Sunday’s double header and as a result are assured of a place in the Premier League promotion Playoffs.
The first game saw the return to the mound of Hawks’ young prospect, Peter Kikel, with 7 K’s in 3 innings. He had a very satisfactory outing re-establishing the Kikel-Battery with catcher and father, Jake Kikel, who said: “Peter is back to 100% fitness. He will only need to get over the psychological barrier of holding back after his shoulder problems.” Mark Hoffmann also had a good outing in relief for Peter Kikel. It was largely due to the precision-pitching of Milton Keynes ace, Darrin Ward that the Hawks were left without hope of catching up. The only Hertfordshire player who had any real success hitting against Ward was the rookie, Jonathon Lewys with a double and a triple.
In the second game the Hurricanes took an early lead of 6-0 threatening another blow-out win, but the Hawks came back strongly. 2 runs in the 3rd inning reduced the lead. In the 4th, with runner on first, up stepped debutant, Dan Kerry. Despite having played rugby, cricket and other sports, Dan had never actually played a game of baseball before today. He took a high first pitch which was surprisingly called a strike by the umpire. The second pitch was a hard fastball which hit him directly in his protective cup, and yet the umpire ruled this to be a strike as in an effort to get out of the way Kerry could not check his swing. Following such a violent and loud bang of the ball hitting his protective cup, an experienced baseball player would have been expected instinctively to roll on the ground requesting medical attention in the knowledge that this was a very serious incident which could have resulted in a severe injury. Instead, Kerry maintained a cool composure with a face expression which appeared to send a message to the pitcher saying: “This is strike two. You need to throw one more strike if you want to get me out. Throw the ball again.”
And then the inconceivable happened. The third pitch was a hard fastball up in the zone and with a smooth Tiger Woods-like swing, Kerry launched the ball deep beyond the outfield wall in the deepest part of Grovehill Ballpark in left-centerfield for a towering Home Run. The Hawks’ bench and fans erupted, realizing the magnitude of what they had just witnessed. Dan Kerry’s baseball inexperience was obvious when he rounded the bases to come home in record time when most MLB stars would have taken their time to savour the moment.
He was greeted at home plate not only by the whole Herts Hawks squad but also by a number of Hawks fans who had somehow made their way onto the field. In accordance with baseball tradition the home run ball was taken out of the game and passed onto Dan Kerry.
This two-run shot reduced the Hurricanes’ lead to only one run, but eventually this was not enough and the Hurricanes ended up winning the game 12-7.