The Herts Hawks begin their postseason campaign this Sunday, 25 August. Their fifth-place finish means that they will be facing the Sidewinders, which is probably one of the most liked teams in the league. The core of the team is made up of Japanese players and they always play in the Japanese tradition with the utmost respect to the game.
The Hawks’ late come-from-behind win against the Mariners on the last day of the regular season is considered by many to have done a big favour to the Daws Hill Spitfires who were pushed down into sixth place as a result and will face the Guildford Mavericks. Although the Mavericks finished one place above the Sidewinders, the recent reinforcements by the team from Enfield make them a formidable opponent and perhaps marginally stronger than Guildford going into the playoffs. Mavericks fans will probably disagree.
The Hawks go into this playoff game missing several key players. One of them is Nick Russell who has been the ace of the team on the mound with an ERA of 0.83 this season (ranked second in the league). They will be missing the home run power of co-manager Andy Cornish who hit his third homerun of the season last weekend. Also missing are Sunday’s game one winning pitcher, Andrew Slater, and slugger Tim Elkins.
So a depleted Hawks squad will be making the short trip to North London, but the team is still more than capable of winning against the higher seeded Sidewinders. The Sidewinders won the last meeting of the two teams in an exciting 5-4 game. Another close game is expected this Sunday.
Playoff games are special and the players will have that tingly feeling in their stomachs on Sunday. There is an extra incentive this year as the prize for the teams which go through the first two playoff rounds is a place in the Semi-Finals to be played on 7 and 8 September at the brand new Farnham Park – British Baseball’s equivalent of football’s new Wembley Stadium.
The game will start at 1:30pm in Enfield (click for directions) this Sunday, 25 August.