The stage was set…and then Southampton ruined the script

The Hawks are preparing for last year's playoff drama all over again.

News of the surprising 9-0 win by the Kent Mariners over the Daws Hill Spitfires filtered through the newswires last week. This meant that the Mariners were the only team which could leap over the Herts Hawks into sixth place which is the last unclaimed ticket to this year’s Double-A League playoffs. The schedule published at the start of the year had determined that the Herts Hawks will face the Kent Mariners on the final day of the regular season (18 August) with the winner progressing through to the first round of the playoffs. The stage was set – a baseball clash at Grovehill Ballpark with everything on the line.

However, the second-from-the-bottom Southampton Mustangs did not read the script and on Sunday produced the shock of the weekend sinking the Mariners convincingly 26-3.

This means that there will not be a do-or-die scenario this coming weekend in Hemel Hempstead, but the Hawks can start to celebrate a place in the playoffs for a second successive year.

Under the authoritarian regime of co-managers Andy Cornish and Greg Bochan, the Hawks have managed to keep up with the top teams in this league, despite losing the majority of their 2012 roster, after many of the players moved up to the club’s Triple-A expansion team, the Herts Ravens. The Hawks currently stand with a record of 7 wins and 7 losses (.500 winning percentage), but despite clinching a postseason spot, they would love to end the regular season above .500. This Sunday’s matchup with the Kent Mariners may not have the drama which everyone was expecting, but there will certainly be a lot to play for, as far as the Hawks are concerned. It will also be an opportunity for the managers to make a final assessment of the team roster and decide on the starting lineup for the first round of the playoffs which will be played on Sunday, 25 August. Some players, like Ilya Dimitrov, have just changed their flights to make sure they can land in time for the postseason games, so the preparations have began.

Next week we will be publishing further information about who the Hawks will be facing in the playoffs.