Report from Herts Baseball Newswire correspondent, ROB JONES
The history books will show this another defeat for the newest Herts baseball team, but they won’t show how mighty close it was. The Raptors showed a lot of heart to stage a late rally, and nearly snatched a game that they can look back on with pride.
Things started badly for Raptors, with their first three batters going down weakly, and after loading the bases in the second they left empty-handed again. Bracknell had already started their steady accumulation of runs and they led 7-0 by the bottom of the third. Then with two outs the Raptors at last started to chip away at the lead – outfielder Steve Nippress driving in two runs. Rob Jones brought in two more in the next inning but Herts then hit a bad patch. Relief pitcher Humberto Goncalves struggled with his control, and fielding errors allowed four more Bracknell runners to cross the plate. Raptors now found themselves 12-4 down, and time was running out. Could they turn it around?
The first step was snuffing out the Blazers’ offense, and the new closer Rod Ariss did just that. He helped his own cause with a hit and a run in the bottom of the seventh and then, in the bottom of the eighth, the Raptors bats finally came alive. The team batted around, chasing the starting pitcher from the game and capitalising on the reliever’s slow start. There were RBI’s for Nick Russell and Pete Cox, and for Ilya Dimitrov, who beat out a spinning infield hit off the end of his bat to bring in two more runs.
Now it was crunch time. Bracknell were getting rattled, having seen a commanding lead slip away. They argued strikes, they argued calls, they even argued the score, and the officials had to hold a long conference before it was decided that the visitors led just 14-12. Their mood didn’t improve when Rod Ariss closed them down completely in the top of the ninth, striking out the final two batters he faced. For the first time in the game, Blazers had been held scoreless.
The Herts catcher Andy Ringrose started things off well, pulling a triple down the left field line. Hopes were raised of a truly dramatic finale, but the Raptors couldn’t bring him home. The final out was a tantalising, soaring drive, that came down too close to a waiting fielder. On this day, it simply wasn’t to be.
Herts Raptors again showed great team spirit, lively batting, aggressive running, and overall improved defense. They will be frustrated by the loss, but can take many positives into their next game at Thames Valley, and hopes are high of a win this time.
|Bracknell Blazers II at Herts Raptors|
|Score By Innings||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Bracknell Blazers II 14, Herts Raptors 12|
|Template Team||Herts Raptors|
|Player 1 p||3||2||1||0||Rob Jones 1b||5||2||2||2|
|Player 2 c||4||1||3||3||Andy Ringrose c||5||1||2||0|
|Player 3 1b||4||1||0||0||Andrew Slater 3b||5||1||0||0|
|Player 4 2b||5||3||2||1||Rod Ariss ss-p||6||2||4||1|
|Player 5 3b||3||3||1||2||Steve Nippress lf||4||1||2||3|
|Player 6 ss||5||2||2||4||Carlos Casal cf||5||2||1||1|
|Player 7 lf||5||0||0||0||Jake Kikel p||1||1||1||0|
|Player 8 cf||4||2||0||1||(t5) Humberto Goncalves p||0||0||0||0|
|Player 9 rf||3||0||0||0||(t7) Nick Russell ss||1||1||0||1|
|Pete Cox 2b||3||0||0||1|
|Ilya Dimitrov rf||4||1||1||2|
|TEAM TOTALS||36||14||9||11||TEAM TOTALS||39||12||13||11|
|E: Player 5, Rob Jones(2), Andrew Slater, Carlos Casal, Pete Cox. LOB: Herts Raptors
12, Template Team 12. 2B: Player 6(2), Player 5, Rod Ariss. 3B: Steve Nippress. SB:
Player 1(4), Player 6(3), Player 3(2), Player 4(2), Player 5(2), Player 2(2), Player
8, Player 9, Rod Ariss(3), Ilya Dimitrov(2), Rob Jones(2), Jake Kikel, Carlos Casal,
Steve Nippress. CS: Player 5, Player 2, Player 9(2), Rob Jones. SB: Player 7.
|Bracknell Blazers II||IP||H||R||ER||BB||SO|
|Player 1 W||9.00||13||12||10||9||9|
|Jake Kikel L||4.00||7||8||5||5||7|
|HBP: by Player 1 (Steve Nippress). . . . . . , by Rod Ariss (Player 3), by Player 1
(Andy Ringrose), by Player 1 (Carlos Casal). . PB: Player 2, Andy Ringrose(5). Balk:
Player 1. T: 3:00. A: 0.