(photo by Joe Gray ProjectCOBB.org.uk)
National Baseball League
Game One: Herts Falcons 6 Bracknell Blazers 7
Game Two: Herts Falcons 4 Bracknell Blazers 14
After taking a 6-3 lead against GB’s star pitcher Jordan Edmonds and seemingly in control away at the Bracknell Blazers, the Herts Falcons suffered a setback in the race for the NBL title. First the Blazers rallied with four runs in the bottom of the final inning to win the first game of the doubleheader 7-6, but perhaps what would be even more costly in the long-run are the serious injuries to centerfielder, Cris Hiche, and pitcher, Abel Salas. Hiche had to be taken to hospital where it was confirmed that he had fractured his wrist in an outfield collision with Mike Osborn as both tried to bravely make the play for the same fly ball. Salas was taken out of the game with a hamstring injury. He was slated to be the starting pitcher in the second game of the day, but the injury mean that the team’s pre-game strategy had to be scrapped. The Blazers took full advantage to win the second game convincingly 14-4.
Herts Falcons Manager, Lee Manning, could not be with the team as he was awaiting the arrival of his second child. “We have to battle through the storm while our injured players recover and try to pick up wins along the way to stay in the NBL playoff race” said Manning.
New arrival, Jose Sosa, made his debut in this game and it looks like he wants to give his all for the cause. He drove the ball hard and deep and went within a few feet of a home run which would have been some achievement at the enormous Farnham Park, which has not seen any home runs since it opened last year. The Falcons will hope that pitcher Mike Osborn will be able to recover from the collision with Cris Hiche and that he will be able to continue playing with the painful foot injury which he has been carrying since sustaining it in winter training.
(photo by Richard Lee richardleephotography.org)
Essex Redbacks 11 Herts Eagles 4
Essex Redbacks 13 Herts Eagles 3
In the Triple-A League the Eagles lost both games against the Essex Redbacks, 4-11 and 3-13.
Photo by Ralph Bartholomew
Brentwood Stags 13 Herts Hawks 14
Brentwood Stags 21 Herts Hawks 11
In the Double-A League, the Herts Hawks pulled-off another miraculous comeback. After trailing 4-11 against the Brentwood Stags they turned the game on its head to win 14-13. Ace pitcher Nick Russell kept the Hawks in the game with another good performance, but it was clutch at bats in the bottom of the final inning and a lapse of concentration which cost the Stags dearly. They were leading 13-12 with 1 out and the bases loaded. A ground ball was hit straight at their pitcher and they were preparing to celebrate as all the visitors had to do was to turn a routine 1-2-3 game-ending double-play by throwing to the catcher for the second out at home and then a throw to first base to force out the batter for the final out of the game. It all fell apart for Brentwood as the ball popped out of the catcher’s glove which allowed the runner from third base to score the tying run while everyone else was safe. It all came down to the next at bat with Charlie Day battling against the hard-throwing Brentwood pitcher. Day battled to a full count and in the final pitch was a ball which walked the winning run in.
In the second game the pitching staff of both teams once again struggled to find the umpire’s consistently tight strikezone, which made it a great day for the hitters and resulted in many walks. Brentwood came out on top winning the second game convincingly 21-11.
Next week all four Herts adult teams are in action. With their injury problems, the Herts Falcons go into their home game against the revamped Essex Arrows as the underdogs. Game starts at 1pm on Sunday, 18 May, at Grovehill Ballpark, in Hemel Hempstead. 24 hours before that the club’s youth teams will go into the unknown as they face several American U19 teams including a team from Paris, France.