Herts Falcons’ magical playoff run to national final ends in defeat

Wade Lynch on the mound for the Herts Falcons in their national playoff final against the London Mets.
Wade Lynch on the mound for the Herts Falcons in their national playoff final against the London Mets.

The Hemel Hempstead-based Herts Falcons fell at the last hurdle in the national playoffs

final of the National Baseball League at the weekend.

It was the first National Baseball League final for the Herts club side since 2012.

There had been a sprinkling of fairy dust on the underdog Falcons’ post-season run. But there wasn’t quite enough magic to overcome the London Mets in the final at Farnham Park this weekend.

The defending champion Mets made their mark early in the best-of-three series.

The favourites scored four runs in the first inning of game one on Saturday , followed by six in the second frame.

Falcons’ manager Cris Hiche was on the mound.

He pitched for the win in both of Herts’ dramatic playoff wins the previous weekend, but could not contain the London batters on this occasion.

The Mets tacked on more runs when young Falcons reliever Aaron Witter came in to pitch, but he played well.

Another Herts youngster, Alex Deacon, made the defensive play of the day with a running catch at second base, and a sharp turn of a double play.

However, game one ended 16-1 to the Mets.

The second game on Sunday morning started a bit better for the Falcons. The Hemel side were able to contain the Mets early, with the first inning going scoreless, but then London broke out for six runs in the second stanza.

The Falcons threatened twice. In the fourth inning, Herts had runners on first and third base and nobody out, but London caught Conner Brown stealing to end the danger.

With the game on the line in the fifth, Tyler Badenhorst came inches short of a home run. But he was stranded on base as the Mets ran out 11-1 winners to take the trophy.

The Falcons offered their congratulations to London and boss Hiche said: “They outplayed us in all aspects of the game and we didn’t come out sharp enough. But this is a start of a process for the Falcons and we’ll be back stronger next year.”

To reach the national final the Falcons faced a daunting task in the playoffs and to make the latter stages was a fantastic achievement.

The club, whose baseball diamond is based at Grovehill Park in Hemel, first had to beat Southampton Mustangs, who had the best record in 2018, and then beat the highly-rated London Capitals.

For more details about the club, visit the website www.hertsbaseball.com.