Happy Hawks hang on, Falcons bounce back

The Herts Hawks travelled to the riverside venue of Richmond to take on the London Marauders in the AA-division (don’t ask why). They were looking to build on last week’s wins and cement their position as a force in the AA-division this year. 

Game 1 started out as a pitching duel and it was scoreless through three innings. London took a one-run lead in the fourth, then the Hawks struck back with hits from catcher, Bryn Coughlan, and Darrin Ward to lead 2-1.

 It stayed that way until the final inning, when shortstop Gilberto Medina hit a triple to drive in three runs. Pitcher Leigh Coke held the Marauders to just one in reply to finish off his complete game, and secure a 5-2 win.

 The second game was tight too, but more high-scoring. Ward also pitched a complete game for Herts and they won 14-13, surviving more final inning drama by stranding what would have been the tying run on second base.

Defense was key to their success, with an amazing diving catch in the outfield by Anthony Lavender, and several fine plays at shortstop by Medina.

 In the NBL, the Herts Falcons were in Birmingham to face the newcomers to the league, the Bandits. Their day was dogged by some personnel troubles, but they battled through.

Wade Lynch was hit in the face during batting practice, but had to soldier on and play. (He would later need stitches). Starting pitcher Rob Ackerman did not arrive until near game time so the Falcons started off with reliever Walter Bates on the mound.

The two teams exchanged runs in the early going, with the Bandits 4-3 up after two innings. Ackerman then came in and was able to close down the Birmingham bats.

Rob Ackerman (file photo)

Meanwhile, up and down the lineup, Herts were hitting well and they won comfortably, 18-5. Carlos Casal Jr made his 2018 debut for the team after a transfer was completed during the week. 

The second half of the double-header was a closer affair. The roster went down to 9, meaning Lynch had to stay on and Ackerman tried to squeeze some more innings out of his arm.

Manager Cris Hiche again pitched well as a reliever, and another burst of runs from the Herts bats helped the cause. It was 7-2 after three innings, but the Bandits chipped away, closing the gap to 7-6 before Herts put it to bed with 4 runs in the top of the seventh.

The Falcons secured the victory, 11-7. Alex Deacon got his first NBL hit, and Hiche was proud of how his team had battled throughout a tiring day.

In Single-A, the Herts Raptors got a walkover win against the Old Timers, who couldn’t get enough players to Grovehill for a full team. The two sides still played a game with the people they had got, and won that too — and everyone had a good time in the Hemel Hempstead sunshine!

That meant that Herts won five out of five games, the second time this year the club has secured a full sweep on a Sunday.