Double delight as high-flying Falcons secure a spot in the finals

Robbie Unsell is expected to play a key role for the Falcons in the National Finals on September 14 and 15. Picture by Will Baxter.
Robbie Unsell is expected to play a key role for the Falcons in the National Finals on September 14 and 15. Picture by Will Baxter.

The Herts Falcons returned from South London on Sunday with a pair of wins and are now guaranteed one of the two automatic berths in the top-tier finals. Ryan Bird was the star of the day; in game two he did not allow the Pirates a single hit and struck out 15 batters, a national best for the season.

The Falcons have one remaining double-header in the regular season, against the Essex Redbacks. If they win both games, the Falcons will secure the top seeding in the country.

They remain on track for a first-ever national title for the club but are aware that stern competition lies in the way and will not be underestimating their opponents.

In the second tier, the Ravens’ play-off bid finally faltered when they were swept by the Cambridge Royals.

The Herts outfit featured four players called up from the lower tiers but fell by just a single run in the first game, losing 4–3.

In that game, 14-year-old pitcher Tom Everex-Armstrong turned in an outstanding performance on the mound for the Ravens, battling hard against former National Baseball League star Matt Maitland. Everex-Armstrong’s exemplified the many positives that the Ravens will be able to carry through the off-season into next year.

There is a similar feeling among the camp of the Herts Eagles, one of the club’s two fourth-tier sides. They picked up a comfortable win in game against Leicester before falling in the second contest. They end the season with a creditable record of four wins and 10 losses.

One of the teams not in action, the Herts Hawks, have receiving unconfirmed reports of a win for the Southampton Mustangs II over the Kent Mariners, which is a result that would guarantee them a place in the play-offs.

If the result is confirmed, it would mean that the Hawks will travel to face the always dangerous Guildford Mavericks in the first round of the third-tier play-offs, on August 25.