The Herts Falcons picked up a very good win in game 1 of the series versus the Lakenheath Diamondbacks, but lost a tense second game in extra innings.
Robbie Unsell was one the Falcons’ big signings in the winter and he made his debut in these series. He played at short stop and was placed at the top of the Falcons batting lineup going 1-for-4 with a RBI double and 2 runs.
This was probably the Falcons’ best offensive performance of the season so far against a Lakenhetah team which is always one of the most difficult teams to play against. Kevin Niedringhaus (3-4 2B 5RBI), Cris Hiche (2-2 RBI) , Jake Michels (2-4 2RBI), Dave Tretheway (2-4 RBI) all had multiple hits. On the mound Jordan Farkas was not shaken by a Max Scholten home run on the first pitch of the first inning. The Herts starter went on to pick up his third win of 2012 with another solid performance. He was supported by a very good performance from the defence behind him which committed only 1 error.
In the second game the Falcons had to battle against a DBacks team eager to bounce back as well as a very small strike zone resulting in a number of walks. Herts allowed 7 runs in the first inning and although they did tie the game up to take it into extra innings it always felt like they were on the back foot. The bottom of the 7th almost ended in fireworks as Lakenheath was in position to win the game when Leo Perez hit a rocket over the left field wall that would have been the game winning homerun only to be reversed by the home plate umpire. The Dbacks eventually won it 14-13 despite a brave effort by the visitors from Hertfordshire who managed to retire Lakenheath twice in extra innings despite allowing two runners on base with no outs. Ryan Riniker picked up the win for Lakenheath and Chase Richey got the save. Mike Osborn was saddled with the loss for Herts.
After the games we managed to get the views of both managers, Lee Manning (Herts) and Ken Reber (Lakenheath) who made his return to the team after missing most of spring training, marking it with a 2-run home run in game 1.
Ken Reber: “”Herts simply came out more prepared than us as it felt like we didn’t have our heads in the game for most of the game. Credit Herts starting pitcher for keeping us off the bases”. For game two Reber felt that “”this was a game that probably lasted longer than it should have but we were just glad to have survive with the win.”
Lee Manning: “Lakenheath won game 2 because they adjusted to the umpire before we did. Game 2 was more about keeping the bat on the shoulder and letting the umpire walk the hitters. Lakenheath scored 7 runs in the first inning and we were always playing catch up.” Manning added: “I’m proud of the way the team kept on fighting to take the game into extra innings but our fitness played a big part late in the game. No baseball in the last 28 days did take its toll in the end.”
FALCONS MAKE THEIR RETURN HOME AFTER 6 WEEKS ON THE ROAD
The split at Lakenheath meant that Herts have lost top spot in the NBL after the Nationals and Southampton swept their opponents. They will be hoping to regain top spot next Sunday when they welcome the Croydon Pirates to Grovehill Ballpark. This is the first home game for the Falcons since their Opening Day win against the Bracknell Blazers. Game 1 starts at 12pm.