Herts Eagles 7 Old Timers 17.
written by hertsbaseball.com correspondent Duncan Hoyle
Herts Eagles battled well against a typically well organised and disciplined Old Timers team but eventually succumbed 7 – 17. However the Eagles will be able to console themselves with the many positive individual performances from the game.
On the warmest baseball playing day of the season so far, Herts starting pitcher Reagan Wood got off to a great start with 3 first inning strikeouts to keep the Old Timers down to 2 runs scored in the first innings. However the Herts batting unit just couldn’t get going, struggling to come to terms with the Old Timers lefty pitchers curve balls.
Wood was forced to leave the pitchers mound in the second inning with a slight shoulder strain and it was Geoff Thomas who had the difficult job of having to pitch out the rest of the inning. By the time the inning had finished the Old Timers had increased the lead to 8 – 0.
Debutant Craig Le Roux made his Herts debut in the 3rd inning on the pitchers mound, replacing Thomas who had pulled his hamstring during his pitching efforts, and Le Roux pitched superbly from the start. He was working well with Adrian Smithers, who was playing for the first time as catcher to rein in the Old Timers offense. After battling with some initial nerves, Smithers had an excellent game in his 5 innings as catcher, letting few balls get past him and he will gain a lot of confidence from his performance.
The Eagles made some good defensive plays including a good tag out at home plate by Smithers, a great relay play from deep left field which included Senna Ashida, Theo Scheepers and Oz Kemal, and a great 2-out play instigated by 13 year old 3rd baseman Callum Vangundy. Vangundy is a GB U15 international who was making his debut for the Eagles, and the natural quality he brings to the Eagles will be a big boost for the rest of the season.
Le Roux was able to keep the Eagles in the game, only going for a run or 2 each inning. Finally in the 6th inning the Eagles were able to get some much needed production going in the batting department, with another debutant, Rupert Greyling getting the offensive show on the road by nearly hitting a home run. He had to settle for a double, but was brought home to score the Eagles first run. Substitute catcher Oz Kemal got into the action with a superb hit to bat in 2 runs and by the end of the innings the Eagles had scored 5 to give themselves a chance of avoiding the mercy rule.
In the middle of the 7th inning the score was 17 – 5 to the Old Timers meaning the Eagles had to score 3 to take the game into an 8th inning. 15-year-old Will Zucker was another Eagles debutant who has previously played in Japan, and he got a good hit which he followed up with some great baserunning to get round to score. He looks like he will be an another excellent addition to the Eagles roster. Sadly for the Eagles only 1 more run was scored which meant that the mercy rule came into play at the end of the 7th inning.
The Eagles were bitterly disappointed in not been able to go all the 9 innings, but can take great pride in the spirited way in which heads didn’t drop and the fact that there are fixtures to be played in the next two Sundays, starting next week with an away day outing to Billericay in a clash with the Essex RedBacks.