Raptors end losing streak and are back in playoff race

BBF A-League, Herts Raptors 18 London Marauders 13

written by Glen Downer

A beautiful morning greeted us as we all gathered in Finsbury Park ready for what promised to be a tough matchup for both teams. Batting first the Raptors made their intentions known straight from the first pitch, hit after hit ensued, and before the Marauders could even get warmed up the bases were full of Raptor baserunners, Brodie Caress picking up the first of his three hits on the day, Glen Downer driving one through the hole in his first AB of the 2013 season. Arnie Longboy stroked a clean hit to straightaway centre, followed by Ken Pike with another signature line drive for a couple of what would be 3 RBI’s on the day! Before we knew it, we had 8 runs on the board, and a lead that would never be lost.

Brodie Caress then stepped up on the hill as the starting pitcher for the Raptors and settled in quickly throwing strikes and making it difficult for the Marauders to hit, sadly a few Raptor errors allowed London to get a few guys on base and score a couple of runs, but we still had a healthy lead going into the second inning. 3 more runs for the Raptors in the top of the second after another great display of hitting created a nice cushion for Brodie to continue his great pitching, allowing only 2 hits on the day and 4 earned runs in 3 innings, he managed to strike out an impressive 5 batters!

Sadly due to pitch count Brodie had to be relieved following the third inning, but up stepped the boy wonder, side armer Will Zucker. Will proved to be a great force on the mound, hitter after hitter failed to make good contact, totally bemused by the great movement from Zucker’s pitches. Unable to contend with a combination of fastballs, sliders and curves the Marauders were limited to just 7 hits from Zucker, who also fanned an impressive 5 batters over 5.1 innings, also allowing just 4 earned runs. Once again the curse of the young pitcher struck and Will had to be relieved, but up stepped the reliable Jeff Witter to close things out for us.

Just requiring two outs to seal a magnificent win against tough opposition Jeff didn’t disappoint. After inheriting a baserunner from an early hit, Jeff allowed a walk and just one hit which drove in a single Marauder run. Then with some fine glove work and a very on-the-ball Ken Pike who put on a great display after relieving the always solid Jake Caress behind the plate, the final out was made at first to end a great ballgame.

Despite a few infield errors, which can largely be blamed on the poor field conditions at Finsbury Park, the Raptors were solid, and put on a fine display of hitting and great base running, with nearly all players picking up stolen bases, Ken Pike once again leading the pack with 3, clearly going for the stolen base award once again! Well done to ALL the Raptors that brought home a much needed victory and keep those post-season hopes alive.