Falcons suffer double defeat as playoff hopes take another hit

Herts Falcons pitcher Jose Sosa put in another strong performance. Picture (c) Paul Holdrick
Herts Falcons pitcher Jose Sosa put in another strong performance. Picture (c) Paul Holdrick

The Herts Falcons were beaten in both of their games on Sunday as their losing streak stretched to six matches – severely denting their hopes of reaching the end of season NBL playoffs.

In the first game they battled back from 9-6 down against the South London Pirates to take a 10-9 lead in the top of the final inning – however, the Pirates responded with two runs in the bottom of that inning to secure a walk-off win in dramatic fashion.

There was a consolation for the Falcons, though, as new signing Ian Sales made his debut in this game – striking out five batters in his four innings and allowing eight earned runs.

In the second game the Falcons came up against the Southampton Mustangs who, to the surprise of everyone in British baseball, had only taken two wins from 10 games before the start of the day.

However, those who were beginning to write them off may have to reassess their predictions. Pitcher Francisco Gonzalez was very effective as he allowed only two runs and four hits against an unusually quiet Herts batting line-up.

Jose Sosa was the starting pitcher for the Falcons and he once again performed well; the six runs conceded by the Falcons all came in the first inning but, for the rest of the day, Sosa completely shut down the Mustangs.

This is the team’s longest losing streak since they lost eight consecutive games in 2011. No-one could have predicted this after the team’s impressive start to the season saw them win five of their opening six games.

“We find ourselves in a difficult period and we have to battle our way out of it,” said Falcons manager Lee Manning.

“We have a tough BBF Cup quarter-final away game against the Oxford Kings coming up on Sunday and that’s the only thing that we are thinking about at the moment.”

Elsewhere, there was some good news for Herts baseball fans as the Herts Hawks scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to win 18-17 against the Guildford Mavericks.

This means that they are still unbeaten with a record of 7 wins and 0 losses. They are top of their division and in a very strong position to qualify for the Single-A League playoffs.

Herts Raptors are still searching for their first win of the season after a 32-11 defeat against the Bracknell Inferno.

In the Little League U19 qualifiers, the Herts Harriers lost their games against LYBL and London Mets, while in the U15 division the Herts Cardinals finished fourth behind London Sports, LYBL and the winners, London Mets.

Mets overcame LYBL in the final to progress through to the European qualifiers, with a place in the Little League World Series to play for.