In their last fixture of July, Herts Hawks went to north London for a second game against Sidewinders.  And, sadly, it was the second time that an eight-man Sidewinders team was able to comfortably defeat the Herts boys.  Greg Bochan took to the mound and threw the entire game. Sidewinders, however, were up to the task of facing the crafty veteran and were able to consistently hit well — twenty one in total, including an inside-the-park home run, in order to tally up twenty runs in just seven innings. Some defensive miscues behind the pitcher didn’t help – Rob Jones put down two catches in the outfield, and normally reliable players misplayed a couple of balls.


Offensively things were slightly better for the Hawks. After a slow start they were able to take advantage of nine walks and five hits to at least put up six runs of their own. Kal Dimitrov, Tim Elkins and Arnold Longboy all drove in a run each, Jones finally redeemed himself with an RBI double, and Simon Langton also contributed to the offense with two hits and a pair of runs. It was nowhere near enough, but hey, it was a sunny Sunday, and at least nobody fell down the rabbit hole lurking in centre field.


Next up on August 1st was a visit to the Thames Valley Bisons. With several players either away (it was holiday season, after all) or playing with the Eagles in AAA, it was always going to be difficult for the Hawks. The team had to call up a few Raptors just to be able to field a team. Not surprisingly the game was over in seven innings when the ten run slaughter rule came into effect.


Thames Valley did all the damage in the first four innings. Fifteen hits, to go with 12 walks and seven errors, allowed them to score 21 runs against Hawks pitchers Jeff Witter and Mark Hoffman, who split the pitching between them. On a more positive note, the Hawks were able to keep Thames Valley from scoring for the rest of the game; however the damage had already been done.


Offensively the Hawks could not answer Thames Valley’s surge and were only able to attain two hits and two walks all game. Witter and Tim Elkins were the sole providers of any offense for Herts, with a hit each. After seven innings the Hawks were unable to score any runs allowing for a very one sided final score of ThamesValley 21, Herts Hawks 0. It was another disappointment but the Hawks were unbowed.


On Sunday August 8th the Hawks played a double header against a very determined Bears team from Windsor. The Hawks bats started Game One like a house on fire, scoring eight runs in the first three innings, including a six run explosion in the second.  GB international star, Liam Green, was the stand out performer with three hits and three RBI’s, closely followed by Greg Bochan who had a pair of hits and a pair of RBI’s.  Bochan was also the starting pitcher, and he went six innings before handing over to Green. Their combined effort was excellent and the game was tied at eight apiece going into the fifth inning. But the pitchers could not hold them – and the Bears would press on scoring eleven runs to run away with it. Hawks were restricted to just one more run and they went down 18-8.


Game Two saw another young talent, Perrie Sherman, take to the hill for the first three innings, before being replaced by Simon Langton for an inning and then veteran Jeff Witter who finished the game off. With the Hawks defence only committing one error all game Windsor had to earn their runs – but unfortunately they did just that! Eleven hits and ten walks helped them rack up 18 runs. The Hawks did show some response to Windsor’s offense with ten hits of their own, but could not make them count. After six innings, the Hawks had only scored eight runs which would not be enough for the game to continue and the ten run slaughter rule came into effect. Liam Green was again the standout player with the bat, with three hits and five RBI’s. Liam’s performance was backed up by Perrie Sherman, Simon Langton and Jeff Witter who each picked up a hit and an RBI.


On this occasion, special thanks went to Witter and to Bochan who both volunteered to umpire a game each which was much appreciated by all. It had often been a struggle to muster a team, and then the games had been a further struggle, but the Hawks kept their spirits up and their season was to have a triumphant climax.


The Herts Hawks ended the season with a double header against the Brentwood Stags and put in two impressive performances to claim a pair of well earned victories. Game one saw that man Bochan pitch a complete game, giving up just one run on two hits to collect his second win of the season. An errorless defence along, with Bochan’s nine strikeouts, were able to hold the Stags to just one run in seven innings. The Hawks offense was more than up to the challenge of Brentwood’s pitchers. With a combined fifteen hits over the course of seven innings the Hawks were able to score nine runs. Takeshi Ashida joined the middle of the lineup and with Witter and Bochan they combined for seven hits and seven RBI’s between them. The impressive display all round by the Hawks was rewarded with 9-1 victory.


In game two the Hawks picked up from where they left off. They jumped out to an eight run lead in the first and would add on another five by the end of the game. Every player contributed with at least one hit each, resulting in a total of nineteen hits and thirteen runs. Unfortunately, Brentwood’s bats started to come alive in game two against Jeff Witter. The offensive surge by the Stags meant that the game was always close and six runs in the final three innings meant that they were just two runs shy of the Hawks with one out to go. Fittingly, Greg Bochan returned to the mound to get the final out and the game was over with the Hawks emerging 13-11 winners.

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