With the Herts Falcons resting at the weekend attention turned to the other three Hertfordshire teams. Two of them, the Herts Hawks and the Herts Raptors, clashed together in an eagerly anticipated derby game. The Hawks were top of the Single-A League table after winning all eight of their league games, while the Raptors were bottom of the table, still looking for their first win. There was no upset as the league-leaders secured a comfortable 16-6 win. Raptors batters found it difficult to deal with the repertoire of pitcher Nic Goetz. Andrew Slater and Ken Pike came in relief to shut down the underdogs despite a mini rally in the late innings which brought the Raptors to within 6 runs. Ilya Dimitrov hit his second home run of the season. This time an inside-the-parker down the left field foul line.
While the Hawks are on course to reach the playoffs, the Raptors urgently need to start winning games if they are to stay in the race. Their next game is away at the Essex Archers this Sunday, 5 July.
In the Triple-A League the Herts Eagles were looking to bring their playoff hopes back to life in their home doubleheader with third-placed Brighton Bulldogs. These series saw Grovehill Ballpark’s biggest crowd of the season as the fans from the Herts Derby made the short walk to the main diamond to join other Herts and Brighton watching this game and enjoying the barbequed food which was on offer. The aroma of barbequed meat in the air seemed to spur the Herts Eagles on as they won the first game of the series by a quite unbelievable score line of 34-10. Brodie Caress (pictured above) pitched a complete game for the win and he had fantastic run support from his team which included a home run by Will Zucker. In the second game Brighton responded winning 14-3. There was a brief glimmer of hope for the Eagles in that game after Jon Lewys hit a towering home run over the left centerfield wall. That was only one of four hits for the Eagles as Brighton pitcher Angus Cowell shut down Herts’ bats. One of the runs scored by the Bulldogs was a solo home run by Sebastian Molina who plays for Brighton in the Triple-A League and for Herts in the under-19 League which prompted a round of applause from the home fans as Molina is very much a part of the Herts baseball family.
Next Sunday, 5 July, is going to be decisive for the Herts Falcons as they travel to the surging Southampton Mustangs. The Falcons have lost their last six league games while the Mustangs have won their last two. The Falcons will need to win at least one of the two games in the series to keep their playoff hopes in their own hands.