Herts U12 team were victorious in their YNBC qualifiers on Saturday during an exciting day of baseball.
The day started with a tough match up against Horsham, who had already won their first game of the day. As the visiting team, Herts hitters came out swinging with Nicholas Durer leading off with a double. Josh Jones then reached on an error before James Dullea doubled them both in. Although Herts continued to hit the ball throughout the game, with singles from Jonathan Wakelam, Cal McCreavy and Durer, solid defence from Horsham prevented any more runs. James Dullea started the game for Herts and was in masterful form. Dullea pitched 4 and 2/3 no-hit innings before reaching his pitch count for the day, and left having struck out 13! He also made a fine play on a weak ground ball to first base. Durer fielded it cleaning and fed to Dullea who was covering from the mound and bare handed the ball before stepping on the bag. With two outs in the fifth Horsham scored their first run with a based loaded walk and the score was 2-1. In the bottom of the sixth, Durer stepped to the mound and got two quick outs. Horsham then had runners on first and second with their best hitter at the plate. He promptly scorched a line drive to left field, but Josh Jones was there to make the catch and Herts erupted as they took the victory.
With Horsham having beaten Brentwood in the first game, Herts still had to win against Brentwood in their second game to go through. Having thrown only one inning in the first game, Nicholas Durer started the second. Durer was pitching well, but a finger injury meant he had to leave after 2 and a third. Brentwood scored in the first before Herts answered in the bottom of the inning with five runs. Durer again led off the game with extra bases, this time a triple and then scored on Joe Gipple’s single to centre. Josh Jones then walked before singles by James Dullea and Cal McCreavy. Brentwood’s aggressive young team answered with a run in the second before blanking Herts, and then scored two in the third, but that would be all they would get as Alex Trautman stepped to the mound and shut them down for the final two and two thirds innings in a fine relief appearance. Herts then scored five in each of the third and fourth innings to come away with a solid 15-4 victory and advance to the National Championships.
Nicholas Durer went 4 for 5 with a double, a triple and walk.
James Dullea went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and a walk.
Joe Gipple hit the ball hard all day going 3 for 6 and putting the ball in play every time at bat.