Report from Herts Baseball Newswire Correspondent, Jon Gamble
Few things are as unpredictable as the weather in an English summer. A sure rain-off for the afternoon's game in Guilford looks likely. Yet as the Raptors arrive to face the Mavericks, it is one of those perfect sunny June days in England that are made for a game of baseball.
The Raptors are confident coming out of a strong win at Richmond the previous week. The confidence shows right from the start. With bases loaded, Jonathon Lewys thumps a 3-run home run deep into the playing fields of leafy Surrey. The Raptors have turned up for a game.
The Mavericks reply with a couple of runs. They don't look flustered. The early innings settle into a low-scoring scrap with both sides defending with grit. At the top of the fifth, the Raptors change gear. Paul Curtis and Steve Nippress both hit doubles. Jonathon Lewys decides it's time to belt another 3-run home run – with bases loaded off course. He is in imperious form.
The Mavericks finally look a little rattled. Time-out. Out goes TJ Sheridan with the Mavericks' bullpen in action. Andrew Slater is promptly hit by fiery low pitch but manages to get round in some obvious pain. This is leading from the front. At the end of the inning, the Raptors are on top with a commanding 15-3 lead.
The Mavericks are going to have to dig deep to get out of a hole. They reply with 5 doubles in the bottom of the fifth, score 7 runs and show that they are not ready to be sent to bed early. 15-10 looks a lot better.
What the Maverick's new pitcher lacks in accuracy he makes up for in vim. Some of his pitches are so zesty that even the umpire is having trouble seeing how low they are. The Raptors are hustled out in the top of the fifth – with only Steve Nippress getting round.
They put on a couple of runs in the bottom of the sixth. It is 16-12 at the end of the innings. Everyone suddenly knows that they're in a game not a walk-over. Ilya Dimitrov and Steve Nippress both hit doubles in the top of the seventh. Steve is having a helluva game with both bat and mitt – by now. Jon Gamble strikes out looking after dodging pitches round the ankles and at head height. He is still looking for the pitch that struck him out. 19-12 at the top of the seventh.
The Mavericks made the most of a couple of fielding errors and picked up the rally they started in the bottom of the fifth to reply with 5 runs in the bottom of the seventh. The Mavericks are not the kind of team that gives up when they're behind. They rode their luck. Once they had pulled the game back to 19-17, their tails were up. Both teams out up a run each in the eighth with the game finely balanced..
The Raptors had lead all the way through the game, going into the ninth inning 20-18 but could not hold the Mavericks in the final inning. They had played catch-up all game and finally made it. The Raptors left Godalming a little disappointed but somehow satisfied that they had fought hard in a closely fought game. Driving home through Buckinghamshire, the heavens opened and the thunder clapped. Few things are as unpredictable as the English weather in summer – except maybe the Mavericks' relief pitcher.
|Herts Raptors at Guildford Mavericks|
|Score By Innings||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Guildford Mavericks 21, Herts Raptors 20|
|Guildford Mavericks||Herts Raptors|
|TJ Sheridan p||6||1||1||1||Matt Johnston cf||5||2||1||0|
|Michael Burdett c||7||3||3||2||Nick Read c||4||2||1||0|
|Tom Sheridan 1b||7||2||3||4||Jonathon Lewys 3b||6||3||4||7|
|Dante Taglucop 2b||5||2||3||2||Andrew Slater p||5||3||1||1|
|Ally Carr 3b||5||2||1||0||Ilya Dimitrov ss||5||4||3||1|
|Peter Badenhuizen ss||5||2||3||2||Jack Calow 2b||3||1||1||0|
|James Cumper lf||6||4||4||2||(t5) Neil Brackley 2b||2||0||0||0|
|Marty Poulter cf||6||3||3||1||Paul Curtis 1b||5||2||3||4|
|Rik Travers rf||4||2||1||1||Steve Nippress lf||5||2||2||2|
|Phil Hynes rf||2||0||0||0|
|(t4) Robert Crouch rf||3||1||0||1|
|(t7) Jon Gamble rf||0||0||0||0|
|TEAM TOTALS||51||21||22||15||TEAM TOTALS||45||20||16||16|
|E: TJ Sheridan(2), Michael Burdett(2), Tom Sheridan(2), Dante Taglucop(2), Ally Carr,
Paul Curtis(2), Jonathon Lewys, Ilya Dimitrov, Jack Calow. LOB: Herts Raptors 9,
Guildford Mavericks 11. 2B: Tom Sheridan(3), Michael Burdett, TJ Sheridan, Dante
Taglucop, Peter Badenhuizen, Marty Poulter, Jonathon Lewys(2), Steve Nippress(2),
Ilya Dimitrov, Andrew Slater, Paul Curtis. HR: Jonathon Lewys(2). SB: James
Cumper(4), Michael Burdett(2), Dante Taglucop(2), TJ Sheridan, Marty Poulter, Ally
Carr, Rik Travers, Ilya Dimitrov(3), Steve Nippress(2), Jonathon Lewys(2), Matt
Johnston(2), Paul Curtis. CS: Andrew Slater.
|TJ Sheridan W||9.00||16||20||13||10||11|
|Andrew Slater L||8.33||22||21||16||6||3|
|HBP: by TJ Sheridan (Andrew Slater). . . . . WP: Andrew Slater(3). PB: Nick Read(2).
T: 4:35. A: 32.