report by Mike Wakelam
With Brighton setting up a new youth baseball programme in 2016, Herts U13 and U11 teams headed south for their first road trip of the season. With great weather and a warm welcome, a great day was had by all. The U11 teams had a couple of very competitive coach pitch games, with the first tied at 10, and Herts mixed team prevailing 10-8 in the second game.
Herts U13 team kicked off the first game by scoring 3 in the first inning with Mizuki Hosoi doubling before James Dullea drove in one and Joshua Jones drove in two. Rikuto Maruse, new to the baseball in September 2015, pitched the first 3 innings, giving up only two runs. The game was a tight one run affair until the top of the 6th, when Herts scored six more runs to break it open, the final score 11-4. Mizuki Hosoi and Cal McCreavy pitched effectively in relief.
In the second game James Dullea took the mound and threw 4 innings of two run ball, striking out the first 7 batters he faced, and 10 overall in a stellar performance. Alex Trautmen came on and pitched 2 strong innings in relief. Herts bats once again came alive scoring in all but one inning. The final score in this one was 11-3.
There were several defensive highlights during the day, with Joshua Jones firing a bullet across from 3rd to 1st to nail a runner and Oliver Sparks making a diving stop at 2nd base. Offensively, Mizuki Hosoi went 6 for 8, with 4 doubles and 4 RBI, Rikuto Maruse continued to hit the ball hard going 4 for 5 with 3 RBI, James Dullea showed poise at the plate in clutch situations, going 5/6 with 4 RBI and Joshua Jones went 5 for 7 with 6 RBI on the day.
“This team is really looking great not only on the field but as a team, “ manager Mike Wakelam said, “we have two players out injured at the moment, including one of our main catchers, and to see players step into that role temporarily for the team is great. The numbers looked great today, but the way they’re working together is their biggest strength at this stage of the season. The hospitality in Brighton was first class, and we look forward to hosting them in a couple of weeks at Grovehill, hopefully we can provide the same sun we saw down here!”
Herts U13 and U11 teams host LYBL at Grovehill next week, Saturday the 8th of May.