With just hours remaining before the 2012 National Baseball Championships begin at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead, we had a chat with Herts Hawks co-managers, Andy Cornish (AC) and Greg Bochan (GB) from New York via satellite, as the team prepares for their massive semi-final clash with the Nottingham Rebels.
hertsbaseball.com You have played in several NBCs in your career. This is the first time that your team will play at home. Will that have a positive effect on the team or will that add unnecessary pressure?
AC: Of course it will be positive; to have the fans, the other teams, and most importantly to have actually played on the field before the weekend is a huge boost
GB: I think it will have a positive effect on the team. We’ve always had good support from our fans even at away games but the familiarity of Grovehill will be a bonus.
hertsbaseball.com How much higher is the pressure on you for the finals, bearing in mind that your co-manager will have to listen to the game on the radio?
AC: I think that the pressure will be on Greg, who we are going to miss. I will have to remind the players that this is the same game as every other game we have played throughout the year, and we need to play 100% for 27 outs. If that happens I will be very happy.
GB: Since I’ll be listening on the radio I won’t feel much pressure :). it’s very tough not being there for these post season games. I’m thrilled that the Hawks are playing great and at the same time I am gutted that I couldn’t be a part of the last playoff game and the upcoming finals. I’d love to be able to feel the thrills those guys must be experiencing.
hertsbaseball.com Is the National Baseball Championship the place to try some small-ball?
AC: We have played small ball throughout the year at situational points, and it has worked well. If the situation does come up, I have the faith that we will be able to execute with the accuracy and energy that we have done all year.
GB: I don’t think this should be answered as I don’t want opponents reading about our strategies. But it’s always a good time to play small ball.
hertsbaseball.com We all know that the Hawks are building their success on solid defence and good pitching. What is the element that would need to be added if they are to give a good show against the highly rated Nottingham Rebels on Saturday?
AC: Our pitching has been excellent all year, but there is a whole new game to play. The Rebels look like they have good hitting, we still need to keep them off balance, and I know that our pitchers can do it. I think to be successful this weekend; our pitching and defence have to be on top of their game. With our strongest team out on Saturday and Sunday, I have no worries about the hitting, I am very happy 1 through 9 of the line-up, we have speed, power, and in a few cases both as we have shown over the last few weekends.
GB: I think at this point its confidence. We’ve put up the numbers and now we have to believe we can continue doing so. Confidence goes a long way on the diamond.
hertsbaseball.com In view of the plethora of pitching talent that the Hawks currently enjoy, have you made up your mind about your starting pitcher for the semi-final game on Saturday?
AC: I have a plan on who is going to pitch which day. Both of our elite pitchers are going to get a look in over the weekend
GB: No comment.
hertsbaseball.com What is your standing order to the players for their fitness and dietary regime in the next few days left before the finals?
AC: I think that we need to do what we have been doing. I will be having my usual Friday night of fajitas and relax in front of a film. We need to be hydrated.
GB: Keep doing what you’ve been doing, it’s worked so far. Maybe don’t get too drunk this Friday and Saturday nights.
hertsbaseball.com Many of the fans are dying to know what is the meaning of “Boom”?
AC: Well. To be honest, I have no idea. I like to think that it is that explosion of energy from the players when something magical happens. I am hoping to keep it rolling this weekend.
SATURDAY’S GAMES INVOLVING HERTS TEAMS
The Herts Hawks semi-final game with the Nottingham Rebels is at 4pm on Saturday, 25 August, at the old diamond. The Herts Falcons start at 3pm in their opening game versus the Southampton Mustangs at the new diamond. This means that Herts fans will have to choose one or the other, or position themselves strategically so they can see both games, or move from one diamond to another, and back again, depending on which team needs the support the most.