written by Cris Hiche
The 9-0 in the 1st inning of the first game and 14-0 by the 2nd inning summarises the difference Falcons showed against the 2-time NBL champions Harlow Nationals throughout the day. A lot can be said about the game and both teams will draw their own conclusions. The fact is Falcons did everything perfect. Pitching was great, hitting was great, defence was great, and running was great. With such a high score, there’s bound to be great highlights and there were. Cris Hiche blasted the first home run of the season for the Falcons to right field. The defensive and impressive duo of Robbie Unsell (2B) and Xavi Gonzales (SS) was up to the highest level once again. John Bloise (LF), Barry Wiles (3B), Phil Clark (1B), and Dave House (C) were solid. However, Dave Tretheway (RF) stole the show with a tremendous diving catch.
It is important to note that Nationals looked awful out there and they’ll be the first to admit it. They committed an unusual amount of easy errors from experienced players and their bats were too quiet. Credit to winning pitcher Jordan Farkas, who although didn’t have the velocity of previous outings, managed to control the game. Nevertheless, Nationals is always a dangerous team and was able to score some runs to end up with a more “decent” final score of 16-8 for the Falcons. Pitcher Jordan Farkas said after the game: “My arm was dead since the first inning and didn’t have the speed. So I used my control to outsmart the always dangerous Nationals lineup. I got the run support which is always great for a pitcher.”
And if you thought the second game would be much closer and hard-fought, well it wasn’t. It was a deja-vu with again solid defence, running, hitting and pitching by the Falcons. The player of the match was without a doubt pitcher Darrin Ward who with his vast experience shutdown their lineup once again. It was so one-sided that by the bottom of the 7th it was still 8-0 with 2 outs and no man on base. ‘Wardie’ relaxed a bit and walked the next batter. Of course baseball is about momentum and the Nationals used that little window of opportunity to score one run to spoil Darrin Ward’s perfect day and avoid a shutdown (Final score 8-1).
Some of the highlights of the game were some good defensive plays by several Nationals players (trying to stop the numerous Falcons hits) and as imagined, little can be said of the Falcons defence because they were barely challenged. Yet the only time the Nationals could have done something with man on second and one out with a deep fly ball to center, a ‘textbook, MLB style’ 8-6-5 relay was performed to execute the double play and finish the inning. Cris Hiche mentioned after the game: “I really enjoyed that double play. It was beautiful all the way and I love throwing people out like that. I enjoyed it more than the HR in the first game.” Manager Lee Manning summarised the day: “Two great games and is fantastic to sweep the Nationals. Our team played excellent in every aspect of the game and this gives us confidence that we can achieve our goal this year.”
With the next games on Saturday 4th of May at Finsbury Park against the London Mets, I really encourage all adults and youth players of the Herts family and those from other organisations to come watch two great teams battle each other and see these exciting Falcons try to make it 7-1 for the season.