The Herts Under-17 team is showing signs that it can compete against the top teams in the U17 British Leagues. On Saturday they visited the Cobham Cougars who were the national runners-up last year.
Cobham went into the game as the favourites to win both games of the doubleheader despite missing several of their starting nine. They took an early 1-0 lead but Herts responded with hits form Liam Green and Tom Everex-Armstrong bringing in 3 runs. Herts maintained their lead but the Cougars were always dangerously close reducing the lead to 4-3. In the fourth inning the youngsters form Herts switched up a gear to take the game beyond Cobham. Once again Liam Green and Everex-Armstrong delivered crucial hits to bring 3 runs in. Everex-Armstrong went 3-4 in the game. Starting pitcher Zack Longboy was pitching a gem and despite a late rally by Cobham, he took the win. Marty Cullen Jr closed the game for the visitors to pick up the save.
That win for Herts went contrary to the form book and it was even more surprising when Herts took a 7-1 lead in the second game of the day. Herts maintained the lead all the way to the middle of the fifth inning when they had a 9-3 advantage. Liam Green stood out offensively batting 3-4 with two doubles. One of the two doubles came just a few inches short of being a 2-run home run. Marty Cullen Jr had an impressive performance on the mound allowing only 3 runs over 3 and two-third innings against a very awkward opponent.
Jose Morillo relieved him and although he did his job, Cobham managed to score 4 unearned runs thanks to 3 errors which proved to be very costly at the end. Liam Green then took the mound looking to shut the door in the final inning with a 9-7 lead. He is probably one of the hardest throwing players in the U17 League but Cobham showed why they reached the National Final last season. They managed to deliver crucial hits and took advantage of some passed balls to advance runners and tie the game 9-9. With 1 out and the infield and outfield playing in to stop the winning run scoring from third base, the Cougars delivered a final blow with a hit to left-centerfield which the batter took advantage of and stretched into an inside the park home run to end the game.
This was a spectacular comeback by Cobham which was heartbreaking for Herts but it didn’t overshadow the fact that they had performed exceptionally well to take an away win from the Cougars. There is a break in the U17 league action over the Jubilee weekend. The league games resume on 9 June when the Herts All Stars will face the Feltwell RedBacks at Grovehill Ballpark in Herts.