Report from Herts Baseball Newswire Correspondent, DAVE HAMILTON
The Herts Eagles once again treated their home fans to an exhilarating afternoon of baseball in blazing sunshine on Sunday, recording yet another walk off victory, this time against the Richmond Knights. The Grovehill faithful have certainly had more than their fair share of excitement from Herts second team as for the third home fixture in a row, game one in the AAA double-header went right down to the wire…
Despite Richmond's first batter of the game hitting a home run, the Eagles had looked very comfortable early on, building up a solid 9-3 lead in the first two innings – Mike Wakelam's two run double the highlight of a six run burst in the second inning.
Richmond started edging back though and eventually knocked pitcher Aspi Dimitrov out of the game in the sixth inning as they cut the lead to 11-9. A baserunning blunder in the bottom of the sixth inning allowed Richmond to escape without conceding any further runs and, when the visitors scored two runs in the final inning to tie the score it looked like the Eagles might snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
This time there were to be no heroics for the Eagles in their final at bat and so once again the Grovehill faithful were treated to the nail-biting excitement of extra innings. Richmond were batting first but Nick Russell, making his pitching debut for the Eagles, held his nerve on the mound and claimed a critical strikeout as the Knights were unable to drive home the potential winning run from third base.
Still tied at 11-11, the Eagles had another chance at victory and Mike Wakelam completed a great game with the bat by claiming his fourth hit of the game to lead off the innings. He then stole second and advanced to third base on a wild pitch before handing over to pinch-runner Lee Manning. With Aspi Dimitrov at the plate (who already had three hits of his own in the game), another wild pitch gave the Eagles victory, Manning racing down the line before the catcher could recover the ball.
After the game, manager Dave Westfallen attributed the win to his team's execution of a number of key plays, with some aggressive baserunning tactics being successfully combined with bunts and hit and run plays to manufacture runs, while the visitors were more reliant on power hitting. Special praise also went to winning pitcher Nick Russell who had filled in admirably in the absence of the regular Eagles relievers.
Unfortunately the Eagles were once again unable to carry their early success over into game two, trailing 15-1 in the middle of the fourth inning. The home fans were given something to cheer about with an eight run fourth inning rally, capped by Jason Greenberg's two run double, but the unlikely comeback was swiftly halted by Richmond. Unfortunately Rod Ariss and Dave Westfallen were unable to replicate Russell's earlier success as they too were called into action for their pitching debuts, the Knights eventually claiming a 23-9 victory under the slaughter rule.
All Herts teams have a week off from regular season action next weekend, as focus switches to Croydon where two combined squads will be competing against teams of all levels in the weekend long 'London Tournament'. The Eagles' next league fixtures are away to the Oxford Kings on July 19th.
|Richmond Knights at Herts Eagles|
|Score By Innings||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||R||H||E|
|Herts Eagles 12, Richmond Knights 11|
|Herts Eagles||Richmond Knights|
|Rod Ariss ss||1||1||0||1||Player 1 ss||5||4||3||3|
|Carlos Casal 3b||4||2||1||1||Player 2 c||3||1||2||3|
|Nick Russell lf-p||5||2||1||0||Player 3 p||3||1||1||2|
|Darrin Ward 1b||4||2||2||2||Player 4 1b||4||0||2||0|
|Dave Westfallen c-2b||4||1||1||2||Player 5 3b||5||0||1||0|
|Mike Wakelam 2b-rf||5||1||4||3||Player 6 2b||5||0||0||0|
|(b8) Lee Manning pr-rf||0||1||0||0||Player 7 lf||3||2||1||0|
|Dave Hamilton cf||2||0||0||1||Player 8 cf||4||3||3||1|
|Aspi Dimitrov p-lf||3||1||3||1||Player 9 rf||3||0||0||1|
|Tim Elkins rf||2||1||1||0|
|(b5) Jason Greenberg rf-c||0||0||0||0|
|TEAM TOTALS||30||12||13||11||TEAM TOTALS||35||11||13||10|
|E: Carlos Casal, Jason Greenberg, Player 4, Player 6. DP: Richmond Knights 1. LOB:
Richmond Knights 8, Herts Eagles 9. 2B: Mike Wakelam(2), Player 4, Player 1, Player
2. 3B: Player 8. HR: Player 1, Player 3. SB: Aspi Dimitrov(3), Rod Ariss(3), Nick
Russell, Dave Westfallen, Dave Hamilton, Tim Elkins, Lee Manning, Player 5(2), Player
1, Player 8. CS: Nick Russell. SB: Dave Hamilton, Jason Greenberg. SF: Rod Ariss,
|Nick Russell W||3.00||3||3||1||1||4|
|Player 3 L||7.33||13||12||9||9||2|
|HBP: by Player 3 (Tim Elkins). . . , by Nick Russell (Player 9). . WP: Player 3(4).
PB: Dave Westfallen(2), Jason Greenberg. T: 2:55. A: 43.
|Richmond Knights at Herts Eagles|
|Score By Innings||1||2||3||4||5||R||H||E|
|Richmond Knights 23, Herts Eagles 9|
|Richmond Knights||Herts Eagles|
|Player 1 p||4||3||1||2||Rod Ariss cf-p-ss||4||1||1||0|
|Player 2 c||3||3||3||3||Carlos Casal 3b-2b||1||1||0||1|
|Player 3 1b||2||3||1||2||Andy Cornish 2b-cf||2||1||0||0|
|Player 4 2b||4||3||3||2||Darrin Ward 1b-3b||2||0||1||1|
|Player 5 3b||4||2||2||1||Dave Westfallen ss-p||2||2||1||0|
|Player 6 ss||4||3||3||5||Jason Greenberg c||2||1||2||3|
|Player 7 lf||2||2||0||0||Nick Russell lf||2||1||0||0|
|Player 8 cf||4||1||0||1||Dave Hamilton rf||2||1||0||0|
|Player 9 rf||2||3||0||1||Tim Elkins dh||3||1||1||1|
|Mike Wakelam p-1b||0||0||0||0|
|TEAM TOTALS||29||23||13||17||TEAM TOTALS||20||9||6||6|
|E: Player 8(2), Player 6(2), Player 4, Player 9, Jason Greenberg(2), Carlos Casal,
Andy Cornish, Dave Westfallen. DP: Herts Eagles 1. LOB: Herts Eagles 4, Richmond
Knights 6. 2B: Player 6(2), Player 4(2), Jason Greenberg. 3B: Rod Ariss. SB: Player
1(2), Player 5(2), Player 2(2), Player 9, Player 6, Player 3, Player 7, Player 4,
Carlos Casal(2), Dave Hamilton(2), Nick Russell. CS: Jason Greenberg, Darrin Ward.
SF: Darrin Ward.
|Player 1 W||5.00||6||9||4||6||3|
|Mike Wakelam L||3.00||7||11||6||6||5|
|HBP: by Mike Wakelam (Player 3). . . , by Player 1 (Carlos Casal). , by Dave
Westfallen (Player 7). PB: Jason Greenberg(2). T: 2:43. A: 42.