Falcons in Big Playoff Push

Kimiyoshi Saionji hit a vital home run in the 10-9 win against the Essex Arrows last year. The two teams meet again on 31 July

The BBF has just announced the 2011 Postseason format and this has given a major boost to the Herts Falcons.

The Falcons found themselves in Pool B of the National Baseball League, which many refer to as “The Pool of Death”.  With powerhouses like London, Lakenheath, Mildenhall and the Southern Nationals, the Falcons always knew that they were going to face a difficult challenge this year. 

This week’s BBF announcement confirmed that the winners of each Pool will qualify automatically for the NBC. Four more NBL teams will qualify for the playoffs and the critical aspects for Herts is that these will be the next four teams with the best regular season, regardless of which Pool they are in

The Falcons are currently 10 games back on the leaders Lakenheath in NBL Pool B, however this playoff announcement has brought the Falcons right back in the race for the postseason playoffs.  Looking at the Playoff standings they still find themselves at the bottom, but crucially only four games back in the Playoff chase. 

NBL STANDINGS (Playoff Race)
Team W L Pct GB Playoffs
Lakenheath Diamondbacks 12 2 0.857 NBC
Richmond Flames 12 4 0.75 1 NBC
Southampton Mustangs 11 5 0.688 2 Playoffs
Southern Nationals 9 5 0.643 3 Playoffs
London Mets 8 5 0.615 3.5 Playoffs
Bracknell Blazers 5 7 0.417 6 Playoffs
Croydon Pirates 5 10 0.333 7.5  
Mildenhall Bulldogs 4 10 0.286 8  
Essex Arrows 3 11 0.214 9  
Herts Falcons 2 12 0.143 10  

Another important factor is that the boys from Hertfordshire still have to play against their direct playoff rivals, Bracknell, Essex and Mildenhall, who all have records of less than .500 (win-loss percentage) so there is real hope that the playoffs are still very much within reach for Herts.

Of course in order to make up the deficit, they will need to start a winning run.  The old cliché of “take one game at a time” will apply for them so all their focus has to be on the next game on 31 July which is a crucial encounter against direct rivals, Essex Arrows.  A sweep in that doubleheader and the Falcons will jump over Essex and perhaps over Mildenhall as well depending on the outcome of the Bulldogs’ games versus Croydon.

With so many Herts players on the DL or overseas at the moment, the two-week break comes at a perfect time for Herts.  By the time the decisive clash with the Arrows comes they should have players like Nic Goetz, Mahendra Prasad, Jamie Munn, Troy Linton, Liam Green and Aspi Dimitrov back.

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