Falcons’ play-off push stutters against Mets

Darrin Ward in action. Picture: Richard Lee Photography

Darrin Ward in action. Picture: Richard Lee Photography - Credit: Archant

Herts Falcons suffered two gut-wrenching losses at the London Mets.

Illness to starting pitcher and home-run leader Abel Salas meant that the Falcons went into this vital double-header without one of their key players.

Jose Sosa took his place on the mound as the starting pitcher in the first game. He was outstanding, delivering another quality outing, but the Mets somehow managed to bring three runs in. Trailing 3-2 going into the final inning, Falcons produced a dramatic rally with two outs to put runners on second and third base, but that’s where they stayed as the Mets shut the door.

In game two Herts Falcons took an early 6-0 lead. The Mets started what proved to be a phenomenal comeback, first to tie the game at 6-6 and then, in the penultimate inning, to take a 7-6 lead.

The Falcons refused to give up and tied the game 7-7 to take it into extra innings. Some outstanding fielding by both teams kept the score tied until the ninth inning when the Mets pulled the trigger again to secure their second win of the day.

This leaves the Falcons with very little room for error in the remaining 10 games of the regular league season if they are to qualify for the play-offs. The Harlow Nationals, who are their nearest rival for a play-off place, lost one of their two games at the Southampton Mustangs which means that the Falcons still have their fate in their own hands.

Table-topping Southampton come to Hemel Hempstead this Sunday, July 20. Two wins for the Falcons will keep their play-off hopes alive.

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There was one other Herts team involved in league action at the weekend. The Herts Raptors had lost all nine of their league games so far this season, but their hard work and perseverance has finally paid off.

They won 38-17 at the reigning Single-A League Champions, Richmond Dukes. No other team has scored 38 or more runs in any game of the four British baseball league tiers this season. This is an unbelievable turnaround from a team which had no wins prior to this weekend.

Herts players Jake Caress, Tom Armstrong and Will Zucker are preparing to represent Great Britain in the U19 European Championship qualifying games which will be played in Croatia this week. GB‘s opponents will be Hungary, Lithuania and Switzerland in the group stages.