Herts Hawks need the X-factor to overcome the title favourites this Sunday

People often say that “statistics never lie”. If that’s the case then the Herts Hawks are in trouble. They will travel to Guildford this Sunday looking to turn the form book on its head and put statisticians out of business.

The season so far would indicate that the Guildford Mavericks and the Poole Piranhas are on course to cruise through the Quarter-Finals and into the National Baseball Championships. Guildford have won all 16 of their regular season games and they added their 17th win of the season with a 12-4 victory over the Daws Hill Spitfires in the first round of the playoffs last Sunday. They have conceded only 2.25 runs per game in the regular season and their offense averages 15.8 runs per game. The Hawks have scored at a rate of 9 runs per game and on average they have allowed 4.6 runs per game. No matter how hard the Hawks try to spin those numbers to extract something positive out of them, the odds are stacked overwhelmingly in favour of Guildford.

But we are into the postseason. This is the big stage where sometimes the underdogs can be written off only to find super-human strength out of nowhere and topple the most invincible of opponents. This Sunday the Hawks will need that X-factor, which statistics cannot explain. An outstanding pitching performance, a leaping catch at the wall, an inning-ending double play, a clutch hit in the late innings – the Hawks have proven that they have that special ability of rising to the big occasion against all odds.

The wettest British summer in history meant that the two teams did not meet in the regular season as the game was rained out, so both teams will have little information about each other and they will be looking to gather any intelligence they can get their hands on before Sunday.

.         John Kristensen              Tetsuro Shinkawa                  Owen Hazelby

Herts are expected to face one of Guildford’s three main starting pitchers. John Kristensen (4-0) started last Sunday’s playoff game versus Daws Hill and he has the lowest ERA (1.77) in the team. Tetsuro Shinkawa (4-0) is a player who is well known to everyone at Herts as he played alongside Herts players in the Hunlock Series last October. The Japanese pitcher has played the highest number of innings (32) on the mound for the Mavericks this year. His ERA is slightly lower than Kristensen’s at 3.03, however he has accumulated the largest number of strikeouts (38) in the team. Owen Hazelby is the third likely starter. He has an impressive 5-0 record this year with an ERA of 1.93.

There are three main Guildford players who bring power to their batting lineup. John Kristensen (4 HR), Owen Hzelby (2 HR), John Sparks (2HR) while Kyle Dooley and Testuro Shinkawa have the highest batting average in the team.

The game will be played in Guildford, 12pm start. It promises to be a colossal battle. The winner will progress through to the Semi-Final. For the loser the season would be over.


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