The tension building up ahead of Sunday’s final games in the AA regular season is what athletes in any sport crave for. The race for the playoffs couldn’t be scripted any better than this.
The Hawks (9-4) find themselves tied for second place with the London Mammoths (10-5) and the Daws Hill Spitfires (9-4). All three teams have clinched a place in the postseason playoffs, however what happens this Sunday could make the difference between success and failure in the playoffs. All three still have a chance to clinch first place if the Sidewinders slip up in their final game, but in the context of the AA Playoff format, this is less important.
All season long the teams from AA Pool B have been keeping one eye on developments in Pool A and in particular the astonishing performances of the Guildford Mavericks (15-0) and the Poole Piranhas (14-1). The teams finishing third and fourth in Pool B will have to face these two seemingly unbeatable Pool A teams. They may not admit it but the invincibility of these two teams must be on the back of the minds of Daws Hill, Herts and London.
For these 3 teams Sunday will not be just a regular season league game. For them this is the start of the postseason. The Hawks and the Spitfires go head-to-head at RAF Daws Hill (first pitch 12:00pm). They both need a sweep knowing that their destiny is in their own hands and that this would secure second place, or even first. The London Mammoths will have their smart phones at hand during their game at the Southampton Mustangs to follow progress at RAF Daws Hill. They need to win and hope that Daws Hill and Herts will split their doubleheader.
Top 4 in the AA League (Pool B) Standings ahead of Sunday’s games
The Hawks have become known in the AA league for being a friendly bunch regardless of what happens on the field, but don’t let their friendly appearance fool you. They know how important this is for the whole club. Herts is one of the biggest baseball clubs in the United Kingdom but has won only two national championships in its history – AAA National Champions in 2008 and U14 National Champions in 2010. Success on the field will be a major boost for the army of Herts Baseball members and fans.
They have their work cut out as the Spitfires are a formidable opponent. They are expected to face starting pitchers Chad Munger and Jeff Stolz. Munger has been taking the AA league by storm with an ERA of 1.18 and 60 strikeouts. Which of the Hawks starters will they match him with? Hawks co-Managers, Andy Cornish and Greg Bochan, are spoilt for choice with several equally competent pitchers such as Greg Bochan, Jim Arnott, Louis Hare, Nic Goetz, Nick Russell, Vassil Botev.
Everyone expects both games to be pitching duels and teams trying to manufacture a run from somewhere, but both teams have some powerful hitters in their lineups and they may have a major say on Sunday. Let the battle commence.