Report from Herts Baseball Newswire Correspondent, DAVE HAMILTON
It went down to the wire, but unfortunately the Hertfordshire Hawks suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in the AA British League on Sunday, losing 9-5 to the Richmond Dragons in a typically competitive match-up between these two sides at Grovehill.
Coming back from a heavy defeat to the Bournemouth Sharks in their previous game, the Hawks were keen to put in a much stronger performance against their long time rivals. On this front, they certainly delivered, as they were only one run behind going into the final inning, but unfortunately the hitters were once again unable to deliver the crucial hits needed to bring victory.
The first two innings were tight, with neither side able to make any real impact against some good starting pitching. However, once again fielding errors proved the Hawks' downfall in the third inning, as three errors contributed to two Richmond runs. The damage could have been much worse though if catcher Dave Westfallen hadn't succesfully tagged out two runners as they tried to score.
A superb bunt single from Hawks leadoff hitter Ross Asquith gave the Hawks the perfect start to their half of the third inning. Asquith then showed off his speed on the basepaths as he stole second and third base before forcing a mistake from the normally reliable Dragons catcher Charlie Pratt, which made the score 2-1. Unfortunately, despite threatening further damage, the Hawks were unable to level the score, and Richmond increased their lead in the next two innings to leave the Hawks trailing 5-1 at the halfway stage.
Hertfordshire's second team were determined not to go down without a fight though, and pitcher John Oliver spearheaded the offensive charge, scoring a run in the fifth inning, before driving in two more runs in the sixth with a two-out double. This made the score 5-4 and with the defense now standing firm, the Hawks sniffed victory.
With hard-throwing (but occasionally erratic) relief pitcher Dan McAneny on for Dragons, catcher Pratt got his revenge on Hawks speedster Asquith by throwing him out at second base on a steal attempt in the 8th inning, and the game was headed for a tense final inning. Sadly for the Hawks though, it was their opponents bats which finally came to life, as they strung together five hits and added four crucial insurance runs.
Even then, the home side did not go down without a fight. The Hawks scored a run of their own, and with two further batters reaching base, the Dragons were forced into a second pitching change in order to close out the game.
Although understandably disappointed after the loss, the team's manager Carlos Casal was heartened by the improved performance and knows that cutting down the fielding errors or making a couple more hits with the bat will be enough to swing the next game (vs Brentwood on June 15th) in favour of the Hawks.
|Richmond Dragons at Herts Hawks|
|Score By Innings||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Richmond Dragons 9, Herts Hawks 5|
|Richmond Dragons||Herts Hawks|
|Dan Lally p-1b||4||2||1||0||Ross Asquith lf||4||1||1||0|
|Charlie Pratt c||5||1||2||0||Tim Elkins rf||4||1||0||1|
|Chris Gould 3b||4||2||3||1||John Oliver p-1b||4||1||2||2|
|Jeff Vilasmil ss||3||1||0||1||Louis Hare 1b-p||5||0||0||0|
|Dan McAneny cf-p||4||1||1||1||Carlos Casal 3b||3||1||1||0|
|Per Nilsson 1b-cf-p||3||2||1||1||Dave Westfallen c||4||0||1||1|
|Stuart Hendry rf||3||0||0||0||Nick Russell 2b||2||0||0||0|
|(t6) Woo Kim 2b||2||0||1||2||Luis Goncalves ss||4||0||1||1|
|Gonzi Lorenzo 2b-rf||1||0||0||1||Dave Hamilton cf||1||1||0||0|
|(t8) Nigel King rf||1||0||0||1||(t7) Rod Ariss cf||2||0||0||0|
|Pete Gosselin lf||2||0||0||0|
|(t6) Brandt Kloke lf||3||0||2||0|
|TEAM TOTALS||35||9||11||8||TEAM TOTALS||33||5||6||5|
|E: Per Nilsson(2), Charlie Pratt, Dan McAneny, Carlos Casal(3), John Oliver, Louis
Hare, Dave Westfallen, Nick Russell. LOB: Richmond Dragons 10, Herts Hawks 13. 2B:
Dan Lally, John Oliver. SB: Dan Lally(2), Chris Gould(2), Per Nilsson(2), Brandt
Kloke(2), Charlie Pratt, Ross Asquith(2), Dave Westfallen, Dave Hamilton, Luis
Goncalves. CS: Ross Asquith. SF: Gonzi Lorenzo, Dan McAneny, Jeff Vilasmil, Nigel
|Dan Lally W||6.00||6||4||4||5||7|
|John Oliver L||7.00||5||5||0||6||1|
|HBP: by Dan Lally (Dave Hamilton). . . . WP: Dan McAneny(2), Dan Lally, John Oliver.
T: 3:00. A: 40.