The Herts Ducks have claimed their first win of the season, beating East London Latin Boys 11-7 on Sunday (4th June). Our correspondent Kumail Jaffer was in the thick of it, and has this report:
THE DUCKS are in flight.
Herts’ brand new AA team have won their first game at this level – 11-7 away at the league leaders, East London Latin Boys.
The season so far has involved a series of close losses as many of the Ducks players continue to acclimatise to the AA division. But a fierce team effort in the opening game of Sunday’s doubleheader put Herts on the board against a previously unbeaten opponent.
Evan Robins and Miguel Gibson gave the Ducks a fast start before young Prime Mencias pitched the first of what would be three astounding innings.
Limiting the Latin Boys to just four runs in his outing, he gave the Ducks a platform to launch their offensive game.
The pressure was clearly getting to the hosts as they gave up a couple of unforced runs due to throwing and fielding errors.
In the top of the third, hits from Gibson, Kumail Jaffer and a brilliant double from Mo Abdule brought four runners home.
That gave Herts a 7-4 lead going into the 4th, before Taysir Barakat took to the mound. The wily relief pitcher has been working on his fastball for years – and it came to fruition here as he drew a number of ground balls and fly outs for the disciplined Ducks to gobble up.
It was crucial – the Ducks’ bats were shut down in the fifth, meaning Barakat had to come up with the save.
A grounder to second got the first out. A run came through, but the Ducks remained calm and focused. Outs two and three came quickly, courtesy of some great first-base play from Jake Spicer.
And that was that.
Rumours of a second game did emerge — in which the Ducks got hammered but discovered that Robins could throw some heat– but they could not be independently verified.