written by hertsbaseball.com correspondent, Chris Jones
The latest match in the series between the Herts Dodgers and the Herts Giants was held on Saturday 16th June at Grovehill.
The Dodgers came to the game one-up in the series after a 10-4 victory on May 26th. For the Dodgers, Thomas Garton and Cameron Manning came in for Ozan Martin, William Ahern and Alex Jones, while the Giants brought in big hitter Joshua Jones in place of Rose Burgess-Van Dort and Talia Martin. With seven players per side, both coaches elected to omit centre and right fielders.
Despite apocalyptic warnings of “once-in-50-year” rainstorms, the Grovehill field was playable, and the weather held up just enough to allow the game to proceed. Elsewhere on the field the concession stand pavilion was straining at its guy-ropes, threatening to sail off towards St Albans. Spectators kept themselves wrapped up well, thermos flasks at hand, and your scorer wore one woolly glove while tapping the plays into the computer.
The Giants took the first turn at-bat. All of the first six batters hit singles, and four runs were scored in all. In reply, the Giants had their opponents scoreless with two outs, but let the opportunity slip. Again, a parade of singles brought runner after runner to home plate, five runs in all.
Another three runs to the Giants in the second, to take a 7-5 lead. The Dodgers were restricted to two, after some efficient infield play forced out runners at third and second. Scores were tied after two innings.
Into the third, the Giants hit more infield singles, plus a line drive to the left-field fence from Joshua Jones to bring home Oliver Durer. 10-7 to the Giants, and the pressure was on the Dodgers to reclaim the lead. All was set, with bases loaded and one out, before a strike-out and a 1-3 ground-out (Alex Trautman and Oliver Durer) closed the inning without a run scored.
The Giants turned the screw in the fourth inning, scoring the maximum five runs, the highlight an unstoppable ground rule double by Joshua Jones. Now facing an eight-run deficit, the Dodgers couldn’t repeat their batting form from the start of the game, scoring only one in their last two innings. A fly-out to pitcher and catcher at the bottom of the fifth brought the game to a close, the Giants running away with a 15-8 win to tie the series.
After the game, the coaches were encouraged by the continuing improvement we are seeing from these two teams. Fielding seemed sharper, and there was more awareness of where to make the plays. We have plenty of areas to work on, including throwing accuracy and base-running, but there’s a lot of promise here – sometimes we have to remind ourselves how young some of the players really are.
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