Herts Ravens keep playoff hopes alive

Mike Cattermole had a good game for the Ravens pitching a complete game without any earned runs (photo by Will Baxter)

The Herts Ravens have kept their hopes of qualifying for the AAA League playoffs alive after splitting their doubleheader with the Richmond Knights.

BBF AAA League (Game1): Herts Ravens 7 Richmond Knights 6 (click to view box scores)

The Ravens went into the game looking to extend their 4-game winning streak. Manager Carlos Casal was on the DL and Louis Hare was once again in charge of the team. He led by example producing yet another outstanding pitching performance, but Richmond made it difficult putting together 5 hits and scoring 5 runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead. It seemed like the game was out of reach for Herts but they somehow managed to reproduce the incredible comeback from the game at Oxford 7 days ago. Dace Westfallen, Jonathon Lewys, Gilberto Medina and Aspi Dimitrov each came through with a hit to put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, but there were two outs and all the pressure fell on the young shoulders of first baseman, Kyle Lloyd-Jones. The Great Britain Under-19 National Team player drove a bullet through the infield to bring in two runs giving the Ravens a 7-6 lead. He went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI in that game.

Louis Hare kept his composure and closed the game in the bottom of the final inning in a dramatic come-from-behind win for Herts.

BBF AAA League (Game2): Herts Ravens 5 Richmond Knights 2 (click to view box scores)

The Ravens were unable to keep the momentum going in the second game. Richmond pitcher, Julio Malpica, had an outstanding game allowing only 2 runs on 3 hits. Matt Spaulding had two of those hits and Kal Dimitrov had the other for Herts.

2 runs could have been enough for the Ravens as Mie Cattermole pitched a gem of a game. He allowed only 6 hits and no earned runs. It was only the defensively shaky third and fourth inning which cost Herts dearly.

The two runs in the sixth inning reduced Richmond’s lead to 5-2 and the stage was set for another dramatic Ravens comeback, but it wasn’t to be. Malpica held on for the win.

After this round of games, the Ravens are in sixth place. The odds are against them but their good run has given them a hope of reaching the playoffs. They are 4 games back on the playoff places with 12 games to play. They will need to win 2 out of every 3 games between now and the end of the regular season to stand a chance. They have won 6 of the last 10 so they are more less on track, but need to maintain that momentum.

Update: 24 hours after the game the Ravens received the bad news that pitcher Louis Hare has fractured his elbow in two places playing football. It is uncertain how long it would take for him to return to action. Initial estimates suggest between 3 and 6 weeks as a minimum, but could be as long as 3 months. The one positive is that it is not his throwing arm so he may be able to return as a pitcher with another batter batting for him as a designated hitter.