Report by Daniel Levitt
The Herts Falcons have endured their fair share of ups and downs over the course of the 2014 season.
Whether it be the crippling injury to Cristobal Hiche at the start of the year or the consistent line-up changes, they have pretty much seen it all. However, they keep on fighting and have refuted the idea of giving up.
It was fitting then, that the latest chapter in their epic journey provided a synopsis of their season so far.
They fought for their lives this past Sunday, to earn a split against the Southern Nationals at Farnham Park. The 5-7 and 10-9 score lines simply don’t capture the emotion and ardent nature with which both games were played in.
Heading into the double-header, it was salient: how many runs could the Falcons pour on their run-leaking rivals. For the reigning champions however, it was all about offensive production, with just 3 home runs slugged all season, compared to Herts’ 10.
Game 1 could not have gotten off to a worse start for the visitors, as it was the Nationals who piled on the runs early, with 2 runs coming in both the second and third innings. In a complete turnaround from the pre-game predictions, it was the hosts that were on the offensive and waiting for their opponents’ to turn up.
The reply started in the third inning and continued into the sixth where the deficit was cut in half and the game sat poised at 4-2 heading into the final frame.
Enter the Herts Falcons’ bats.
The zealous crowd on hand had waited all afternoon for this highly anticipated game to kick into action, and finally it did.
The Falcons would not just pull back and tie the game, they would go onto score five runs in the seventh inning to win the contest. After six innings of anguish, Herts Manager Cristobal Hiche and his troops could exult and breathe a sigh of relief, for now.
Their jubilant mood over such heroics would last only so long however, as game 2 started hastily.
For the Falcons, they were determined to get off to a better than they had in the opener, but that was just a pipe dream as the defending champions once again raced off to a 5-0 lead after just four innings. But the hosts weren’t as resolute in holding their lead as they had hoped.
With Abel Salas leading the way, the Falcons rejoined a string of hits and suddenly found themselves with three hard-earned runs, but still trailing 10-3 heading into the seventh and final inning of the afternoon.
The presentiment from the Nationals over what might happen for the second time in one afternoon, couldn’t have helped their nerves and, for a split second, it looked as though both teams would leave the ballpark with the ‘Miracle of Farnham Park’ swirling in their heads.
As the hosts came within one out of falling to defeat, they built momentum and again pieced the hits together to score five runs in succession.
The much talked about Falcons bats were finally flying.
The baseball gods had seen enough drama for one afternoon however, and the Nationals eventually recorded the final out to leave the game as an enigma, but not one the Falcons would want to try and work out.
As for the standings, the Falcons remain three games out of a playoff spot with just four games remaining in this rollercoaster season. For the first time now, their fate is out of their own hands and their road to redemption reconvenes this Sunday as they play a pair of games against the Essex Arrows.