by Trevor Clissold (this article was first published on hertsbaseball.com)
Game 1: London 5, Herts 2
Game 2: Herts 8, London 5
London had lost some ground on the leading pack in recent weeks and knew they would have to get off to a fast start to keep the visiting Falcons under pressure. The Mets jumped out to an early lead thanks to a two-run home run from Grant Del Zoppo in the bottom of the third inning and, although Herts would tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth, the Falcons struggled to build any offence against Dan McAneney who pitched four and 2/3 innings of two-run ball against a strong Herts lineup despite a recurring blister.
London were quick to respond in the bottom of the fifth and would take the lead for good as they built on a clutch two-run double from Jonathan Cramman to add three runs in the inning. Noah Frankel came in as emergency relief for McAneney and shut Herts down through the final two innings as the Mets closed the game out 5-2.
With Frankel being unexpectedly called in to Game 1 Sam Sproule was given the start for the second game but London could not reproduce their solid defensive plays from the first game allowing five runs in the third inning on the back of two Mets errors and some timely hitting from the Herts bats.
With good offensive support Falcons starter, Jordan Farkas, pitched efficiently throughout as the visitors built an 8-2 lead heading in to the sixth inning. London began to chip away at the lead as they clawed back three runs but it was to prove too little, too late as Farkas settled back in to his rythm to finish the game in the seventh with a classic 6-4-3 double play to take an 8-5 win.
Herts head coach, Lee Manning, had mixed emotions following the games – “we were frustrated at the delayed start and I think we took that in to the first game but both games were well fought and one win each is probably a fair result on the day.”
London manager, Freddy Vibert remarked “both teams played really good baseball today despite the conditions with numerous double-plays home runs a good hitting. I know a lot of the Herts players from our time at Richmond and it felt good to see everyone again. We’ve still got a long road to reach the playoffs but I am sure we will be meeting Herts again in August for what promises to be a beautiful battle”