Falcons soaring with post-season play-offs on the horizon

Maikel Azcuy has been instrumental in helping the Herts Falcons to reach the post-season play-offs. Picture  (c) Paul Holdrick.
Maikel Azcuy has been instrumental in helping the Herts Falcons to reach the post-season play-offs. Picture (c) Paul Holdrick.
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The Herts Falcons secured their number 2 seeding in baseball’s post-season play-offs by splitting their double-header at Grovehill against the defending National Baseball League champions Essex Arrows.

These were the last games of the regular season and were crucial to gain an advantage in the play-offs.

The Falcons won Game 1 convincingly behind the pitching of Jose Sosa. The 9-2 victory was powered by home runs from Edwin Alcantara, Maikel Azcuy and Sosa himself.

In Game 2, starting pitcher Ian Sales limited the Arrows to just one run, but it still wasn’t enough, as Herts suffered a 1-0 loss.

But the results were enough to see Herts finish second in the NBL, meaning the Falcons will host this weekend’s semi-final series against the Arrows, and either Southampton or Bracknell.

Manager Lee Manning is feeling confident: “We played great defence and it looks like we’re getting hot at the right time – even if the weather isn’t!”

In the Single-A division, meanwhile, the Herts Raptors ended their season with a thrilling 25-21 victory away to the Kent Mariners. The team was trailing by nine runs in the sixth inning, but rallied – and did it again in the final inning, coming from three down to secure the win.

Matt Corran, a converted cricketer who starting playing league baseball after attending free midweek training sessions at Grovehill, pitched for the win. Caretaker-manager for the day, Paul Barton – another rookie – was delighted by the result, saying: “It was a great game, amazing. Matt was excellent, and everyone hit really well.”

The Raptors don’t qualify for the play-offs, but ended the season by winning four of their last five games.

Manager Rob Jones is proud of the progress the side has made, and added: “It’s been a season with some really horrible moments, but everyone has pulled together and played with a great spirit and they deserve the good results.