Game 1: Lakenheath 13 Herts Falcons 3 (click for box scores and play-by-play)
The Herts Falcons had secured their place in the postseason before Sunday’s home game versus Lakenheath, but they were still in with a chance of overtaking the leaders, Harlow, and finishing the regular season as the top team in the country.
Lakenheath were also certain of a place in the postseason, but they had no intentions of taking their foot off the accelerator. They opened up the game with 3 runs in the top of the first which included a 2-run blast from Leo Perez. Herts answered back with two runs of their own but then Lakenheath’s starter Kevin Carr took control of the game and neutralised the Falcons offense. A solo home run by Herts left-fielder Dave Tretheway in the fourth inning was too little and too late for the home team. The Dbacks continued to put on the pressure with multiple runs each inning capped off with another two-run homerun from second baseman Ryan Riniker. They ended the game after five innings of play with a final score 13-3 as Kevin Carr pitched a complete game for the win. Darrin Ward was saddled with the loss.
Game 2: Lakenheath 6 Herts Falcons 9 (click for box scores and play-by-play)
Game two was a much closer affair with each team having breakout innings. This time Herts were the first to score and after 3 innings of play they were up 8-0. That included big hits from the House brothers. Dave House drove in 2 runs with a double and Jeff House followed that up with a single bringing in another 2 runs in a 5-run fifth inning.
Lakenheath’s Leo Perez was once again in the thick of the action hitting his second HR of the day to put the Dback on the board. Lakenheath then found life in the following inning with a couple singles followed up by back to back homeruns. A three run bomb by Kevin Carr and a solo shot from Ryan Riniker, his second of the day. The Dbacks were trailing by just two runs and threatening to record a memorable comeback. With the game on the line Falcons Manager, Lee Manning brought in lefty pitcher, Ryan Bird. He pitched outstandingly shutting down the Dbacks offence and allowing only 1 hit and striking out 4 to close the game for a 9-6 win for Herts.
Bird had some insurance in the fifth inning when 15-year-old Herts right fielder, Liam Green, hit the first home run in his NBL career launching the ball over the left-centerfield wall. Green started playing baseball in 2007 at the age of 10 as one of the first members of the Herts Little League. He lives just a few minutes away from Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead and Herts Baseball Club has seen him develop into one of the club’s most promising young prospects. He has previously received call-ups from the Great Britain National Team and progressed through the different age groups and adult league teams of Herts until last year when he made his debut with the Herts Falcons in “the Show”. He has two home runs in his career both were inside-the-park homeruns in the Under-17 league but hitting a home run against the best players in Great Briatain’s top league must have been a thrilling moment for him. That was the final run of the game on what was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of baseball in Hemel Hempstead.
Lakenheath Diamondbacks Manager, Ken Reber, said: “You can’t say enough about how fun today was. I’m sure both teams feel that way and you can see the competition between the clubs. But it’s a friendly one with smiles from both sides. This is exactly how we wanted to end the regular season and are looking forward to the playoffs”