by Duncan Hoyle
Herts Eagles had their playoff hopes dented by a strong London Marauders team, who in doing so booked their place in the postseason.
The match was played on a warm evening in Finsbury Park with a good attendance of park goers stopping to watch the game.
Herts got the scoring going in the first with some good baserunning from Joseph Osborne Brade and then had Hawks star Vassil Botev on the mound, dropping down to the Eagles for some pitching time as he made his return from injury. Botev went on to pitch 4 innings finishing his stint with 9 strike outs and only 2 conceded hits. Botev showed some excellent speed and velocity, not always completely on target as he managed to connect with the helmet of Marauders batters on two occasions, but when he was accurate he was very difficult to hit. Oz Kemal had his best game for the Eagles behind the plate and they were able to play a big part in keeping the Eagles close to the Marauders.
Theo Scheepers replaced Botev on the mound and continued to keep things tight up to the end of the 6th inning, and Herts kept on chipping away at the Marauders lead to bring them within 2 runs and keeping up their hopes of pulling off a shock victory against the unbeaten Marauders.
In the middle of the 7th the score was 9-7 to the Marauders and Herts were hoping they could stay close and get their noses in front to put a bit of pressure on the Marauders. However, the Marauders had a big squad and were able to bring in a number of fresh subs to up the tempo and ultimately push ahead of the Eagles during the 7th and 8th innings.
The game finished 17 – 7 at the bottom of the 8th which was a harsh final score for Herts. The Eagles can take away a lot of satisfaction in the effort and character shown during this game.
There is still plenty left this season for the Eagles with several friendly games lined up, the Hunlock series and the final league game at Hove on 5th August now becoming a must-win game if the Eagles are going to stand any chance of making the playoffs.