Written by hertsbaseball.com correspondent, Chris Jones
On Saturday 19th May Herts U11 faced the Leicester Blue Sox in a friendly on the freshly-mown second diamond at Grovehill.
The Blue Sox established their Junior section earlier this year, and this was their first ever road trip. As it is early days, the club lacks the numbers to field U11 and U14 teams simultaneously, and so their U11 team contained a mix of younger and older players. They turned out to be more than a match for Herts.
Nevertheless, it was a very enjoyable, fast-paced game with hits galore and some moments of high quality fielding. The final score of 19-3 perhaps flattered the Blue Sox; the hit count was 28-13 and it was only in the last inning that the game finally ran away from Herts.
Coaches were pitching. The Sox made a strong start, scoring five at the top of the first inning. Herts batters Blake Edwards, Theo Longboy and Thomas Garton then hit successive singles, with Oliver Durer hitting another to bring Blake home for Herts’ first run.
Herts shut out the Blue Sox in the second, thanks in part to a fine catch by Blake Edwards at third base. At the bottom of the second, Herts were unlucky to have both Lewis Auchterlounie and Cameron Manning tagged out running for home.
Leicester chalked up three more runs in the third, with no reply from Herts, moving the score to 8-1 to the Blue Sox. In the next, Herts restricted Leicester to two runs, with some smart defense, Alex Trautman and Joshua Jones combining for a 1-3 ground-out which would not have looked out of place at Fenway. Frustration again for Herts, though, as once again they left runners on base at the end of their inning.
To the fifth and last inning, this time with no five-run limit. Blake Edwards took another fine catch, but some good hitting allowed the Sox to pile on the runs – a fly ball double to the centre field fence produced three runs; another line drive brought home another two runners, and four more runs were scored before the innings closed. Playing largely for pride by this point, Herts picked up two runs: Oliver Durer and Lewis Auchterlounie made base hits, and Alex Trautman ran them in with a line drive single. But with bases loaded once again, Herts struck out to leave the final score 19-3 to the Blue Sox. Four Herts batters emerged with two hits from two plate appearances: Blake Edwards, Oliver Durer, Lewis Auchterlounie and Alex Trautman.
Coach Mike Wakelam commented “Full marks to the Blue Sox – they batted and fielded well and thoroughly deserved the win. We wish them all the best as they develop the club. But I was encouraged at the progress our U11s are making – we are a young team, but we’re working hard, improving our skills and having a lot of fun.”
GAMECAST – IN CASE YOU MISSED THE GAME OR WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN
To relive the full game with full statistical analysis fans can view a new facility which Herts Baseball Club is testing at the moment. CLICK TO OPEN THE GAMECAST AND PRESS REPLAY IN TOP RIGHT CORNER