Facing the 4th place Essex Arrows, the Herts Falcons split the double header, picking up another win against a playoff caliber team.
Game 1 featured the Arrows’ hard throwing righty who – excluding a walk to leadoff man John Blose who later scored – was pretty much untouchable. Racking up a high strike out total, the righty no-hit the Falcons through 4 innings before being relieved. For the Falcons, Zack Longboy took the mound, going the distance and holding the Arrows to a total of two hits.
The two hits however came at costly times for Herts as the Arrows’ hot hitting lefty Dustin Rowland doubled home two runs in the bottom of the 5th with one of the few hard hit balls by either team all game. The two runs erased a one run Falcons lead, drawing the scoreline to 4-3 Arrows.
Over the next two frames, the Herts bats stayed quiet while the Arrows tacked on another run to win the pitchers duel by a final score of 5-3.
Above: John Blose (#91) racked up gaudy walk totals with exceptional plate discipline and ignited the Falcons’ offense.
As the temperature reached a steamy high of 29 degrees, the bats on both teams also heated up, the scoring opening up in Game 2.
Tyler Badenhorst got the call for Herts, while the Arrows started righty Jamie Gregory who has struggled on the mound this season.
The scoring was early and often as the Arrows picked up three runs in the 1st before Herts came back with five in the 2nd. After 4 innings of work however, Badenhorst who had competed hard on the mound all day, went down with a right elbow injury (status yet to be confirmed). Matt Gilbert took over on the mound working out of a jam and preserving a two run lead for Herts.
In the Herts’ half of the 6th, Gilbert doubled with the bases loaded bringing home three runs and stretching the lead to 10-4. Gilbert’s three RBI knock would come to loom large as the game wore on.
In the bottom of the 6th, the Arrows rallied for 6 runs off of Gilbert, tying the game. The majority of these runs came with two outs as the Herts fielders struggled to put away the final out of the inning.
Despite the Arrow’s momentum, the Falcon’s rallied in the 7th picking up two runs on a line drive single to left by Blose after a beautifully executed sac bunt by Takaya Miki to move the runners into scoring position. The clutch hit stretched the Herts’ lead to 12-10 with three outs to go.
Longboy came on to close out the game and, after a lead off walk, retired 3 batters in a row to earn the save and secure a 12-10 Falcons win (their fourth of the season).
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED:
Fill in skipper Matt Gilbert took over the player-manager duties on Sunday with Manager Lee Manning out of the country on holiday. However, despite the extra responsibilities of Manager, Gilbert still came up big for the Falcons at the plate, his three run double arguably the most important hit of the entire double header.
Blose’s patience John Blose displayed impressive plate discipline throughout the day, drawing three walks, and continuously going deep into the count. His approach also manifested itself in hard contact throughout the day (whenever he wasn’t taking a base on balls). Blose also made a fantastic play on defense to end Game 2 – ranging to his right to catch a soft liner before pivoting and making an off balance perfect-strike throw to first base to pick up the double play.
Injury bug strikes The Falcons were forced to use every player they had as Ian McCann exited the game with a leg injury in the 4th, Badenhorst went down with elbow trouble and also exited in the 4th, and Louis Hare came up limp with a groin strain in the 5th. Unfortunately Hare had to stay in the Game as Herts had no further substitutes available, hobbling his way on one leg to a few more plays a first base and even scoring a run.
On Sunday July 24th, the Falcons will take on the 1st place London Mets (20-2) at Finsbury Park. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 PM.