Report from Herts Baseball Newswire Correspondent, JON GAMBLE
The Herts Raptors travelled to Finsbury Park on a grey Sunday afternoon with hopes of edging their way closer to the season play-offs. For the London Marauders it has been a long season as they went into the game still without a single win. The barbecue sizzles in the background.
The Herts team came out of the pits firing on all cylinders. Nippy base-stealing and a willingness to take advantage of some erratic pitching quickly put four runs on the board. The Marauders were unable to respond as sharp fielding by the Raptors – including their first double-play of the day – made short work of the early London batting order. Perrie Sherman, returning from international pitching duties in Belgium, was looking at home in the catcher's box.
The Raptors made the most of some not-so-sharp fielding errors to add a further four runs in the top of the second. However, debut pitcher Jeff Witter appeared to take a liking to his new job for the Raptors – restricting the Marauders to only one run in reply.
The top of the third inning turned into a walkfest for the Raptors as a combination of sound hitting, wild pitching and aggressive base stealing piled on the runs. Someone famously said that there is no defence against a walk. For the London Marauders this was the hard lesson of the day. The Raptors base-stealing operation was working like a high-octane machine but uncontrolled pitching was also making it too easy to get batters round.
By the end of the decisive third inning, the Marauders have been grilled to order – as the Raptors lead stretches to 20-2. The Marauders were never able to get a serious rally going. This was largely the result of the disciplined pitching performance of Jeff Witter backed up by a very tidy fielding display from the rest of the Raptors – in which Iwan Evans, Andrew Slater and Paul Curtis should all get special mention. The Raptors improvement in the fielding department – including another crisp double play in the bottom of the fourth – was the hallmark of the game.
Of the three contests between these two sides this season, this was the most one-sided. The London Marauders are a genial side who play the game in the proper spirit, while the hospitality at Finsbury Park sets the standard for convivial sportsmanship. For the Marauders the road to baseball success surely lies through solving the pitching riddle. It is a puzzle that the Raptors have also struggled with throughout the season. Jeff Witter's economical performance on Sunday suggest that they have gone a some way towards solving it.
|Herts Raptors at London Marauders|
|Score By Innings||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Herts Raptors 24, London Marauders 6|
|Herts Raptors||London Marauders|
|Iwan Evans cf||6||5||3||3||Player 1 p||4||1||1||0|
|Ilya Dimitrov ss||2||4||0||1||Player 2 c||3||2||1||0|
|Andrew Slater 1b||6||4||2||3||Player 3 1b||1||2||0||0|
|Jonathon Lewys 3b||3||2||1||2||Player 4 2b||3||0||0||2|
|Paul Curtis 2b||2||2||1||0||Player 5 3b||2||1||0||0|
|Perrie Sherman c||2||1||0||2||Player 6 ss||4||0||1||0|
|Jeff Witter p||5||0||0||1||Player 7 lf||3||0||0||0|
|Robert Crouch lf||5||3||1||0||Player 8 cf||1||0||1||0|
|Jon Gamble rf||1||3||0||0||Player 9 rf||3||0||0||0|
|TEAM TOTALS||32||24||8||12||TEAM TOTALS||24||6||4||2|
|E: Paul Curtis, Perrie Sherman, Player 4(2), Player 5(2), Player 6. DP: Herts Raptors
2. LOB: London Marauders 6, Herts Raptors 12. 2B: Iwan Evans, Player 6. SB: Andrew
Slater(4), Jonathon Lewys(4), Ilya Dimitrov(4), Iwan Evans(3), Robert Crouch(3), Paul
Curtis(2), Perrie Sherman, Player 3(4), Player 5(3), Player 2(3), Player 1(2). SF:
Jonathon Lewys, Player 4.
|Jeff Witter W||7.00||4||6||3||9||5|
|Player 1 L||7.00||8||24||9||23||5|
|HBP: by Player 1 (Ilya Dimitrov). . , by Player 1 (Jon Gamble). . . . WP: Jeff
Witter(3), Player 1(9). PB: Player 2(7). T: 3:15. A: 98.