British Single-A League
Herts Raptors 20 Haverhill Blackjacks 30
Adrian Smithers reporting from Haverhill
It was a very hot day in Haverhill last Sunday. Which incidentally, for anybody whom geographical awareness is not their strongest point, is in Suffolk! It’s most definitely NOT in Cambridgeshire as some believed.
It was under this inferno of an early June sun that the Raptors trotted out upon the “diamond” to play the Blackjacks for the second time in a fortnight. Raptors were hoping to exact a modicum of revenge for the previous defeat at Grovehill. A game that had seen them coming within 2 outs of securing their very first win of the season. However it was not to be on this day, as it hadn’t previously.
Raptors batted around in the 1st inning putting four runs on the board. The Blackjacks replied in the bottom of the inning with two. The 2nd inning saw the Herts team bat around again adding another four runs. Raptors starting pitcher Charlie Mayhew then retired Haverhill in order. Giving Raptors an 8-2 lead. It was the Raptors turn to put up a blank in the third as the Blackjacks batters made adjustments, on their second time through the order, scoring six runs to tie the game at 8-8 after three innings.
Raptors responded aggressively, after their first two outs in the 4th inning, batting around once more and plating six runs in the process to retake the lead 14-6. However, the bottom of the inning was truly disasterous for the Raptors and despite Cresswell relieving C.Mayhew with one out and runners on 2nd & 3rd, the Haverhill team exploded for THIRTEEN runs from five hits, four walks, passed balls and other numerous and costly errors.
The inning included an inside the “park” home run by Blackjacks slugger Becking. Who having gone deep in the teams previous encounter, failed to clear the 1,545 ft outfield fence and had to do it the hard way with the Herts outfielders mere specks against the distant horizon.
With the score now 21-14 to Haverhill, the hard throwing but wild Fuentes took over pitching duties for the Blackjacks enabling the Raptors to score six runs on a single hit, seven walks and a glut of wild pitches to pull the score back to within a run. They then held the home team to a single run inthe bottom of the fifth to trail 22-20.
Raptors failed to add to their score in the sixth, whilst the Blackjacks added a further seven unearned runs as the Raptors focus and ability to make the basic plays seemed to melt away like a chewy sweet left out in the sweltering afternoon sunshine. The Herts team fared no better in the 7th as they were sat down in order. Haverhill then added the single run they required, to bring the mercy rule into play, without an out being recorded. With the game over and the platitudes completed, half the Raptors team headed for home, the other half for the nearest pub. A happier time was had in the Rose & Crown as lost liquids were replenished.
Raptors manager Geoffrey Thomas said: “Once again we’ve scored a lot of runs but we’ve made too many mistakes and given up too many runs. There’s wins in this team, we just need to cut down on the errors.”
Raptors are back at Grovehill on Sunday 15th June to face visitors Tonbridge.