Herts U17 All Stars picked up two important wins versus the Feltwell Redbacks which count towards the postseason playoff seeding of the National Baseball Championships.
On Friday afternoon all youth league games scheduled at Herts for Saturday were cancelled due to waterlogged fields. By midnight Herts and Feltwell managed to salvage their U17 League games by switching them to RAF Feltwell.
The Feltwell Redbacks are affiliated with the Redbacks organisation but are a team consisting of players from the US airbase at RAF Feltwell. This is their first year in the league, but despite this they proved to be a difficult opponent especially in the second game which could have been won by either team.
In game one Marty Cullen Jr started on the mound for Herts. He gave another impressive performance pitching a complete game allowing only 1 hit and 2 runs and only 1 of these 2 runs was earned. Richard Ganster went 4-4 with a double and 2 RBIs. Jake Caress, Kyle Lloyd-Jones and Marty Cullen Jr each had 2 hits in the game. Marty Cullen Jr’s two hits were a double and a triple. Liam Green continues to torment opponents with his bat. He went 3-4 which included a single, double and an inside the park home run. He just missed out on completing the cycle, with a just a double missing.
Game 2 was a very different contest. Chris Kiefer who is one of the most promising young players in the league took the mound for the Redbacks and he made it very difficult for Herts to repeat their dominant offensive results from the first game of the day. At the same time Herts pitchers walked 12 batters and hit another 5. This made their task even more difficult. Their Manager, Cristbal Hiche had to use 4 different pitchers to try to steady the ship. Herts had a slight advantage with 8 hits against Feltwell’s 5 but the game was ultimately won by the team which committed the fewest errors. Feltwell committed 7 errors in the field, while Herts had their best fielding performance of the season without any errors in game 2.
In the bottom of the last inning the RedBacks put the visitors from Hertfordshire under tremendous pressure. They loaded the bases with the runner on first base representing the winning run. It seemed like Feltwell were about to complete a memorable turnaround, when the backstop came to Herts’ rescue. A Redbacks runner decided to come home from third on a passed ball. The ball rolled to the backstop and bounced hard off the wooden panelling giving Herts catcher, Marty Cullen Jr, enough time to throw to pitcher Jake Caress who was covering home plate, to apply the game-ending tag.
Herts return home with two vital wins in the race for the National Championship, but the Redbacks deserve a lot of credit for making this a very exciting and tense second game.