The Herts U17 team came up against the reigning National U17 Champions, the London Mets. The team from the capital is always a formidable opponent and they have strengthened further with several new players from Venezuela and Japan. They beat Herts convincingly on the day, but the visitors are a much more solid team this year. The players are a year older, bigger and stronger and seem to have much greater confidence even against the champions.
John Peters shut them down allowing only 1 hit and 1 run over 5 innings. The Mets have just returned from the Pony European Qualifiers in Prague where they faced hard throwing pitchers so they didn’t seem intimidated by herts flame thrower, Liam Green. In fact the off-speed pitches of 13-year-old, Brodie Caress, seemed to trouble them more. Brodie was one of the few Herts pitchers who managed to contain the Mets offence allowing only 1 hit and no runs. Marty Cullen Jr got the only hit for Herts in that first game of the series, but depite the 13-1 loss, it was very positive to see only 1 error committed by the team.
In game 2 Marty Cullen Jr started on the mound. His pitching kept the Mets much quieter. Herts kept within touching distance right up to the fifth inning when the score was 7-2, but 5 runs in the bottom of the fifth clinched the second win for London on the day with a score of 12-2. Kyle Lloyd-Jones (2-3 RBI) and Richard Ganster (1-2) were the bright spots in the Herts batting lineup.
Last year Herts lost 19-2 and 23-10 in the same matchup and the team will be going back to Hertforshire knowing that they have made major improvements over the last 12 months especially given the fact that the Mets have strengthened further this season.
Next up for Herts is a home double-header against the Horsham Hornets who are joint leaders in the U17 League standings. First pitch 11:30am, Saturday, 19 May 2012.