Falcons win first game to set up Sunday’s big clash with Nationals

(This article was written by Oliver Mintz-Lowe and first appeared on britishbaseball.org)

National Baseball Championships, Saturday, 25 Sep 2012 (NBL)

Herts Falcons 8 Southampton Mustangs 6

A strong pitching performance from Michael Osborn helped Herts Falcons to an opening day win, as the number two seeds came from behind to beat the Southampton Mustangs.

In torrid weather conditions both teams did well to play out a largely error-free encounter, but it was ultimately a six-run Herts inning that changed the course of the game.

Falcons pitcher Mike Osborne started exceptionally, retiring the first six batters of the game with three strikeouts, while his offense scored two runs, from an error and sacrifice fly, to give the number two seeds an early lead.

But Mustangs pitcher Lee Ralph managed to spark a rally, picking up the first Southampton hit of the game with an infield single. This was followed by a Ben Davis RBI single, a throwing error and RBI groundout reverse the scores and give Southampton a surprise lead.

In torrential rain and circling thunderstorms, both sides initially managed to keep errors out of the game as the offenses struggled for runs.

But after a rain delay it was Herts the took control, putting up six to blow the game open. With one swing of the bat Chris Hiche managed to reverse the lead with a two run homer. Another run, courtesy of a sacrifice fly, followed by a walk, chased Mustangs starter Lee Ralph from the game. But his replacement Frosina struggled, walking in three consecutive runs, as the game got away from Southampton.

The number three seeds showed plenty of fight as they attempted to claw their way back into it, with Gary Davison hit a two-out three-run-homer in the top of the seventh, making it a two-run game. But Osborn picked up the final out of the game, sealing a winners bracket clash with Harlow.

Click to view box scores

The win for the Falcons and the earlier edge-of-the-seat 13-12 win for the Nationals sets up a mouth-watering encounter on Sunday between the Herts Falcons and the Harlow Nationals. Here is the schedule for Sunday, 26 September:

NBL Schedule

Sunday, August 26

10:00, Game 3: Harlow Nationals vs Herts Falcons

13:30, Game 4: London Mets vs Southampton Mustangs (loser will be eliminated)

17:00, Game 5: Loser Game3 vs Winner Game4 (loser will be eliminated)

AAA Schedule

Sunday, August 26

10:00, (Semi-Final) Liverpool Trojans vs Cambridge Royals

17:00, (Semi-Final) Essex Redbacks vs Oxford Kings

AA Schedule

Sunday, August 26

13:30, (Final) MK Bucks vs Nottingham Rebels

Click to view report of the other NBL game on Saturday, Harlow Nationals vs London Mets


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