The first week of Hunlock Series games produced some very close encounters with 4 of the 6 games being decided by 1 run. At the end of the day 3 teams are tied at the top of the standings.
WHITE LIGHTNING 4 RED ROOSTERS 13 (click to view box scores)
The Red Roosters started strongly with a convincing 13-4 win against White Lightning. Their first round pick, Nick Russell, produced another solid performance on the mound. The scoreline would suggest that he had the support from the team’s batting lineup, but in fact White Lightning outhit them 6-4 with Lucas Lattergrass (3-3) and Craig Le Roux (1-2 2B) standing out from the Lightning lineup. It was walks and errors which proved very costly for White Lightning otherwise the game could have been very different.
BLUE DOGS 5 BLACK WIDOWS 6
The Black Widows are a team managed by the Herts U17 team manager, Cris Hiche, who adopted a clear strategy during the Draft of putting together the U17 team. We understand that before Sunday’s games Hiche was desperately trying to pick up the other youth players who ended up in the rosters of other teams, but to no avail as rival managers seemed reluctant to make a deal. With so many young players in the Black Widows’ lineup it was a major upset that they managed to beat the experience and power of the Blue Dogs in a dramatic 6-5 walk-off win.
RED ROOSTERS 4 BLUE DOGS 5 (click to view box scores)
The Blue Dogs bounced back against the Red Roosters in what was billed as the clash of the day. The two teams featured the highest number of NBL players and both managers chose NBL pitchers to pitch in this matchup – Darrin Ward for the Dogs and Kevin Niedringhaus for the Roosters. Both pitchers dominated allowing only 1 earned run each with Ward striking out 8 through 4 innings and Niedringhaus 7 over 3 innings.
Ward also helped himself with a home run in that game holding on for the win despite a late Roosters’ rally.
BLACK WIDOWS 3 WHITE LIGHTNING 2 (click to view box scores)
White Lightning regrouped and produced an outstanding performance against the Black Widows. The team picked up Lucas Lattergrass and Perrie Sherman from the free agents block just 24 hours before this game and started as catcher and pitcher, respectively. They provided the stability they needed after a rough ride in the earlier game. The defence behind them was also much improved with only 1 error in the game. They took a 2-0 lead going into the late innings, but the Widows came back with several quality at bats including Duncan Hoyle and Kyle Lloyd-Jones making good contact in consecutive at bats to drive ground balls to the right side of the infield allowing runners from third base to score and tie the game at 2-2. In the last inning the Widows scored the go-ahead run without a single hit in the inning but with some productive at bats. Cris Hiche came on to pinch hit working a lead-off walk to get on base and the team brought him home to score with several productive at bats. The loss was very harsh on White Lightning, but the young Widows are certainly showing maturity of seasoned professionals. Jake Caress came in relief with a 1-run lead and he closed the game without showing any nerves in a tense situation.
BLACK WIDOWS 2 RED ROOSTERS 8 (click to view box scores)
Red Roosters ended Black Widows’ 100% record with an 8-2 win. Rob Jones, Lima Green, kevin Niedringhaus, Carlos Casal and Nick Russell all recording a hit, but it was new recruit Matthew Cox who got the biggest cheer after flying around the bases on a hit to left field to score with an inside-the-park-homerun.
WHITE LIGHTNING 14 BLUE DOGS 15
With both teams running low on pitchers this proved to be a high-scoring game. White Lightning once again came agonisingly close to winning but lost a second consecutive 1-run game. The win put the Blue Dogs in a three-way tie at the top of the standings.
Stand-out players of the weekend:
Guv Bhangal – his home run in his first ever baseball game has provided enough material for a Hollywood movie. Guv Bhangal introduced himself to Herts baseball club in the best possible way and he proved that the home run was not a fluke with display of more power later in the day. What will “the Natural” have up his sleeve next Sunday.
Lucas Lattergrass – provided much-needed stability for White Lightning in the absence of some of the team’s more experienced players. The team was down after a bad loss in the opening game of the day, but Lattergrass, aong with Theo Scheepers and Reagan Wood, had a calming influence and offered words of encouragement and constructive advice for his team mates.
Jake Caress and Cris Hiche – impressive pitching outing for both. No runs, no walks, and no hits allowed by them.