This article was written by Herts Baseball Newswire syndicated reporter, PAUL RAYBOULD. With Raybould now a member of the Old Timers, this article gives a fascinating view from the other dug-out in last Sunday’s season opening encounter.
It was only fitting that Old Timers manager Peter Crook, enjoying his 60th year in the game, elected to put long-time servant of the club George Simmons on the mound at the start of this historic game. With each passing year, George seems to get slower yet his pitches seems to get harder to hit. As each inning went by, Herts batters kept hitting little dribblers or tiny pop ups. George pitched 6 full innings collecting 5 strike outs and walked nobody. His control on the day was outstanding, only going to 3 balls with one batter.
Jake Kikel, the Raptors manager and by far the most experienced player on the team (and old enough to be an Old Timer!), took the mound in the bottom of the 1st. Considering his limited pitching experience, Jacob showed good mechanics and control. It certainly looked like his talented son Peter has given Jake a few lessons. Nevertheless, it pays to know your strike zone and even if they can’t run or throw as well as they used to, the Old Timers hitters knew when to swing or leave a pitch. With each inning, the Old Timers added runs culminating with a big 12-run 4th. This included a solo home run shot from Justin Horsnell who later also clouted a 3-bagger.
Yours truly took the mound for the Old Timers in the 7th and after a shaky start, managed to get through two innings without conceding an earned run. Meanwhile, Jake gave way in the bottom of the 7th to Jonathon Lewys.
Although the game could have been called in the middle of the 7th on the Slaughter Rule, both teams agreed to play on. This gave the Raptors a little more playing experience and the Old Timers a chance to stretch their rusty arms.
Without wishing to sound arrogant, the Raptors should not feel too downhearted in losing to the Old Timers. The current OT team includes a number of “younger” players who have played at a high level and still have plenty of ability to offer. Meanwhile, it was clear that there are players in the Herts squad who will learn quickly and I expect to see a closer game when the teams meet again.
Old Timers Batting Order
Peter Barratt – Left-field
Gary Liston – Catcher
Mike Harold – Shortstop
Justin Horsnell – Third-base
Brian Currier – Centre-field
Paul Raybould – Second-base/Pitcher/First-base
Tony Smyth – First-base-Pitcher
Rob Walker/Billy Gibney – Right-field
George Simmons – Pitcher/Second-base
A special thanks to Old Timer, Paul Raybould, for contributing to the baseball coverage on the Herts Baseball Newswire. Paul was a member of Herts Baseball Club for many years and the club now considers him Herts’ very own representative in the great institution that is the Old Timers Baseball Club.