Another twist in Herts Falcons' play-off chase
PUBLISHED: 09:26 22 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:26 22 July 2014
Herts Falcons fans have eight nail-biting games to endure to see if their side will be playing play-off baseball.
With the odds stacked heavily against them the team needed to win both games against league leaders Southampton Mustangs on Sunday to keep their play-off destiny in their own hands.
With support from an ever-growing fan base, the Falcons came from behind to score three runs in the penultimate inning to win the first game 4-2. The tying and go-ahead runs were driven in by a double from John Blose.
Jose Sosa produced yet another top class performance on the mound, pitching the complete game to secure the win.
The belief injected by that win evaporated quickly in the summer heat as, first, starting pitcher Mike Osborne suffered an arm injury which may keep him out for seven to 14 days and then reliever Jamie Gregory struggled to find the strikezone.
The Falcons found themselves trailing 11-2 after just two innings. With Abel Salas unavailable, the coaching staff was running out of pitching options.
They took the unusual step of asking shortstop Ryan Hackel to step into the pitcher position. No one knew what to expect at the time but this proved to be a stroke of genius. Hackel pitched the remaining five innings and allowed only one run.
As Southampton’s offence went quite the Falcons bats suddenly came to life. This included a two-run homerun for catcher Phil Clark.
The team came so close to pulling off the most incredible of comebacks. However, it wasn’t to be. They went down 12-9.
If they are to reach the play-offs, Herts Falcons will now need to sweep their nearest rivals, the Harlow Nationals, when they meet on August 3 and hope that they lose one of their other six remaining league games.
The drama of the play-off race resumes on Sunday, July 27, with a home doubleheader versus the Bracknell Blazers. If they win both games, they will leap over Bracknell into fifth place.