Herts fans have been voting over the last few weeks and they have determined that Andrew Slater and Nick Russell’s 3-6 triple play was the Best Play of the 2014 baseball season.
It happened on Opening Day, 13 April 2014, in a Double-A league game between the Herts Hawks and the eventual national champions, London Mammoths. With runners on first and second and no one out, the ball was hit sharply on a frozen rope to first base where Andrew Slater caught it for the first out. Without hesitation he stepped on first base for the second out and then threw to Nick Russell at second base for the third out with runners in both cases desperately diving back into the bags but unable to stay alive.
Zac Malone’s 2-3 double play versus London Mets in the NBL was one of the contenders for Play of the Year (photo by Paul Holdrick)
Even as early as April, both Slater and Russell were confident that this rarest of defensive plays in the game of baseball will be votes Play of the Year. This was despite facing some stern competition from Zac Malone (2-6 double play from his knees in extra innings vs London Mets), Cris Hiche (grand slam vs London Mets on Opening Day in the NBL), Carlos Casal Jr. (outfield catch on his horse vs Southampton Mustangs) Joseph Osborne-Brade, Takaya Miki and Ilya Dimitrov (all three with diving or leaping outfield catches) and again Cris Hiche (acrobatic line drive catch at first base in the Hunlock Series Final).
The 2014 Nob-Out was awarded to Ralph Bartholomew for trying to retrieve a ball stuck high up on the backstop fence using a bat, only to lose the bat in the process by lodging it up onto the backstop.