Report from Herts Baseball Newswire Correspondent, JON GAMBLE
Raptors took the field against the Richmond Dragons at Grovehill on Sunday with high hopes of continuing their unbeaten start to the 2009 season. These hopes took an early dive as the Dragons raced away to 7-0 lead in a first inning blitz. Aggressive base-stealing proved to be the Dragons stock-in-trade as they indicated an early intention to run away with everything not nailed down in Grovehill.
Dragons pitcher Per Nilsson Eklof came out breathing fire in the top of the second and made short work of the Raptors early batting order – sending the Raptors back to the field without scoring. The Dragons second inning picked up where the first left off – Raptors defence having no answer to the Dragons audacious display of base larceny.
Raptors managed to get a couple of runs on the board in the bottom of the second. But there was no stopping the torrent of runs coming from the Dragons who piled on the agony in the top of the sixth with another half dozen runs – taking them to an imposing 18-6 lead by the bottom of the third. The bottom of the third proved to be the highest scoring for the Raptors as the team showed that they knew how to steal a base or two with some aggressive running from Messrs Slater, Curtis and Dimitrov.
The Raptors managed to put a brake on the Dragons run rate through the middle innings. However, the Raptors were unable to build a sustained rally in spite of the efforts of Pike, Jones and and Lewys in the bottom of the fourth. Ken Pike survived a heroic collision with the first base bag to bring home the bacon. Yet Eklof had still got some fire in his belly, closing the innings with a couple of rally-breaking strikeouts.
At the bottom of the sixth, the Dragons led by a comfortable 22-10. Dragons relief pitcher Woo Kim proved to be no relief for the Raptors as he kept a clean sheet in the sixth inning. Liam Green made a confident debut as relief pitcher for the Raptors in the top of the seventh. It proved to be a baptism of fire. Unfortunately, a trio of Raptors outfield rookies learned the hard way that a ball is easier to field in front than behind – as a series of errors allowed the Dragons to run rampant – adding 12 runs to their total. The Raptors were put of their misery with a mercy finish at the bottom of the seventh. It was a day of hard lessons for the Raptors. They will have to wait for another chance to slay the Richmond Dragons.
|Richmond Dragons at Herts Raptors|
|Score By Innings||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Richmond Dragons 34, Herts Raptors 13|
|Richmond Dragons||Herts Raptors|
|John Wilkinson 3b||4||2||2||4||Ken Pike ss||2||1||0||0|
|Woo Kim 2b-p||7||3||3||1||(b4) Chris Brown rf-lf||2||2||2||1|
|Nick Hadley 1b-2b||4||4||1||2||Rob Jones 1b-ss||3||1||1||1|
|Stuart Hendry cf||7||4||4||2||Jonathon Lewys p-1b||5||3||2||2|
|Grant Bridge lf||7||5||4||1||Andrew Slater 3b||4||1||0||1|
|Allan Moffat ss||3||5||2||2||Paul Curtis 2b||4||1||1||1|
|Per Nilsson Eklof p-1b||5||5||3||4||(b6) Jon Gamble rf||1||0||0||0|
|John Walmsley c||4||4||2||2||Iwan Evans cf||2||1||0||0|
|Alvin Michael rf||3||1||0||0||(b6) Phil Hynes cf||0||0||0||0|
|(b5) Talha Akhtar rf||1||1||0||0||Ilya Dimitrov c||0||2||0||0|
|Robert Crouch lf||1||0||0||0|
|(t4) Phil Crooks lf-2b||2||0||0||0|
|Neil Brackley rf||2||0||0||0|
|(b4) Liam Green ss-rf-p||2||1||1||0|
|TEAM TOTALS||45||34||21||18||TEAM TOTALS||30||13||7||6|
|E: Per Nilsson Eklof(2), Allan Moffat, John Wilkinson, Alvin Michael, Andrew
Slater(2), Paul Curtis(2), Ilya Dimitrov, Phil Crooks. DP: Richmond Dragons 1. LOB:
Herts Raptors 7, Richmond Dragons 7. 2B: Allan Moffat(2), Per Nilsson Eklof, Woo Kim,
Jonathon Lewys, Chris Brown. HR: Per Nilsson Eklof, Stuart Hendry. SB: John
Walmsley(7), Stuart Hendry(4), Woo Kim(4), Grant Bridge(4), John Wilkinson(4), Allan
Moffat(4), Per Nilsson Eklof(2), Nick Hadley, Alvin Michael, Talha Akhtar, Jonathon
Lewys(5), Ilya Dimitrov(4), Rob Jones(3), Iwan Evans(2), Andrew Slater, Paul Curtis.
SF: Per Nilsson Eklof.
|Per Nilsson Eklof W||6.00||5||10||4||9||9|
|Jonathon Lewys L||6.00||13||22||10||13||11|
|HBP: by Per Nilsson Eklof (Rob Jones). , by Jonathon Lewys (Nick Hadley). . . , by
Per Nilsson Eklof (Andrew Slater). . . WP: Per Nilsson Eklof(7), Woo Kim, Jonathon
Lewys(6), Liam Green. PB: John Walmsley(7), Ilya Dimitrov(9). T: 3:51. A: 89.