Report from Herts Baseball Newswire Correspondent, DAVE HAMILTON
The Herts Hawks bats came alive on Sunday as they racked up 19 runs in a 7 inning 'slaughter' of the Brentwood Stags in their AA league contest at Grovehill. A reasonably even battle was blown open in the fourth inning, when 13 runs scored for the Hawks, leaving the Stags shell-shocked – and some tight defensive work duly completed the victory.
Following a narrow loss to the league leading Sidewinders in their previous league match, and a strong performance at last week's London Tournament in Croydon, the Hawks were confident heading into the game, and were keen to claim their fifth victory of the season.
The Stags scored first though, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. However, this was soon obliterated by the Hawks as lead-off man Luis Concalves set the tone for the entire game by ripping the ball down the first base line and then using his speed to stretch the hit into a triple. With hits from Carlos Casal, John Oliver and Louis Hare to follow, the Hawks scored three runs before a single out was recorded, and in the circumstances the visitors were probably fairly relieved to end the first inning only trailing by the score of 4-1.
Any thoughts of an easy victory were swiftly dispelled, as Brentwood came back, scoring two runs in the second inning and then knocking starting pitcher Stuart Boast out of the game in the third inning as they took a 7-4 lead, with the help of a home run by their shortstop/relief pitcher. The Hawks responded with catcher Dave Westfallen smashing the ball to the deepest part of the ballpark, just out of the centerfielder's reach and over the fence for his first (and only the Hawks' second) home run of the season. Even so, the Hawks still trailed 7-5 after three and a half innings.
At this stage the contest looked finely poised, but by the time the Stags next got to hit, the game was all but over. All nine Hawks batted twice in the fourth inning, as the ball flew all over the field with a combination of line drives, bloop hits, and aggressive baserunning that was just too much for Brentwood to handle. Even a pitching change couldn't reverse the Stags' fortunes and it was a demoralised side that came off the field to find they now trailed 18-7.
With a large lead now in place, the Hawks became increasingly efficient in the field, with Dave Westfallen adding to his home run by producing a text-book throw to gun-down a runner at third base, and entertaining the crowds with a juggling circus catch that was certainly not in the coaching manual! Overall, the Hawks put in a determined effort in the field, if a little over-exuberant at times – speedster right fielder Ross Asquith was so determined to close out one inning that he raced halfway across the field into shortstop Luis Concalves as the infielder made a catch on the edge of the outfield grass.
Further entertainment was provided by Hawks manager Carlos Casal who, not for the first time this season, got a little carried away on the basepaths and contrived to run himself out. After reaching base safely, he tried to catch the Stags infield napping and only succeeded in being well and truly stranded between first and second base, with the visitors queuing up to apply the tag.
There was little else for the Stags to cheer though and substitute outfielder Rod Ariss made the catch the sealed victory for the Hawks, giving pitcher John Oliver his third win of the season and restoring the team's record to .500 once more.
The two teams meet again next weekend, at Brentwood, and while the Hawks will be looking for a repeat performance you can be certain that the Stags will have their eyes firmly on avenging this week's defeat.
|Brentwood Stags at Herts Hawks|
|Score By Innings||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Herts Hawks 19, Brentwood Stags 8|
|Herts Hawks||Brentwood Stags|
|Luis Goncalves ss||5||3||2||1||Player 1 cf||4||1||2||1|
|Carlos Casal 3b||5||3||4||1||Player 2 3b||5||0||2||0|
|John Oliver 1b-p||4||3||2||3||Player 3 2b||4||1||2||0|
|Louis Hare 2b||5||3||3||3||Player 4 1b||4||1||0||0|
|Dave Westfallen c||4||2||3||3||Player 5 lf||4||0||2||1|
|Stuart Boast p-1b||4||1||1||2||Player 6 p-ss||4||0||0||1|
|Dave Hamilton cf||3||1||2||2||Player 7 ss-p||4||2||3||1|
|(t6) Rod Ariss cf||1||0||0||0||Player 8 rf||3||1||0||0|
|Nick Russell lf||3||1||2||2||Player 9 c||4||2||4||2|
|Ross Asquith rf||3||2||1||0|
|TEAM TOTALS||37||19||20||17||TEAM TOTALS||36||8||15||6|
|E: Dave Westfallen, Nick Russell, Player 6(2), Player 2, Player 3, Player 7. LOB:
Herts Hawks 6, Brentwood Stags 9. 2B: John Oliver(2), Player 9(2), Player 2, Player
7, Player 5. 3B: Luis Goncalves. HR: Dave Westfallen, Player 7. SB: Ross Asquith(3),
Carlos Casal(2), Stuart Boast, Dave Hamilton, Dave Westfallen, Player 9(2), Player 3,
Player 4. CS: Nick Russell, Player 9. SB: Dave Hamilton. SF: Stuart Boast.
|John Oliver W||4.33||6||1||0||0||2|
|Player 7 L||2.67||7||6||3||1||3|
|WP: Stuart Boast(4), John Oliver(2). PB: Dave Westfallen(4), Player 9(2). T: 3:00. A: