The Herts Falcons used an impressive offensive barrage to sweep the Bournemouth Sharks by scores of 13-7 and 13-3, clinching the D1A Pennant.
Bournemouth came into the game with the league’s best defence, giving up an average of only 2.5 runs per game. The Falcons jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning of Game 1. They were patient at the plate, drawing four walks and they were also aided by two Bournemouth errors. They increased the margin to 9-0 in the second inning. The five runs were sandwiched around two singles, two walks, and three Shark errors. Bournemouth fought back in the fourth inning, scoring 5 runs on five singles and two walks. The Falcons were able to escape without any further damage.
Kim Saoinji hit his 3rd home run in the top of the 7th, and the Falcons defence closed it out for a 13-7 victory. The Falcons had nine hits, with Lee Manning leading the team with two. Catcher Jason Greenberg also had two RBI’s.
In the second game, Nic Goetz was very impressive with a complete game two hitter. Goetz picked up his fourth victory of the year, and had good control, with only 2 walks and 1 strikeout. The Falcons bats came alive in the first inning, with 4 runs on six hits, including doubles by Lee Manning and Andy Cornish.
They increased their margin to 9-0 in the 2nd. With one out and the bases loaded, Jason Greenberg hit the teams first Grand Slam HR, and his fourth of the year. The Falcons essentially put the game away in the 3rd as they built up a 12-0 lead. The first four batters reached base and three runners scored.
The Sharks threatened in the bottom of the fifth with three runs, but rookie right fielder Dan Kerry made a fine catch on a hard hit ball to end the game. The Falcons had 14 hits, including a 3 for 3 performance by Greenberg, who scored 4 runs and added 5 RBI.
With the win, the Falcons qualified for the post season Final 4 and are also in a position to earn promotion to the Premiere League, where they formerly played in 2005-2006. The team closes out the regular season this Sunday with a home game against Bournemouth. Tickets are available, and can be purchased either online or by calling 1-800-GOFALCONS.
The Herts Hawks had a battle for second place in the division with their direct rivals – the Shropshire Panthers.
The first game started badly for the Hawks and went downhill from there – starter Pete Kikel had trouble hitting the strike zone, and when he did, the Panthers managed to either hit it between the fielders or bloop it beyond the reach of the infield. Defensive heroics by catcher Jake Kikel, who was hard-pressed to block the large number of wild pitches but still managed to throw out a runner at second base, did not change the situation. Offensively, the Hawks struggled with the breaking stuff of starter Ashley Rogers, and when they managed to put together several hits in one inning, the Panthers piled on the runs in the next. Overall, a performance that literally anthropomorphizes the saying “there is nowhere to go but up from here”.
The second game was much tighter – Hawks starter Larry Martillo, after allowing an early 4-run lead to the Panthers, managed to hold the game from blowing completely open. However, the Hawks bats continued to be mainly silent – excepting the stellar hitting performance of Ross Davies who went 4-for-4 and the very respectable 2-for-2 of Pete Kikel and Larry Martillo. However, the lack of hitting was compounded by somewhat lackadaisical base-running, which saw several Hawks being picked off or caught off the bases. Despite a late surge in the 7th inning, the Hawks went down 8 – 4.