Maikel breaks the record but Falcons suffer double defeat

Maikel Azcuy became the all-time home run leader in NBL history. Picture (c) Paul Holdrick
Maikel Azcuy became the all-time home run leader in NBL history. Picture (c) Paul Holdrick

The Herts Falcons were unable to end the unbeaten run of the London Mets on Sunday, losing both games of their double-header.

There was a consolation for the Falcons, however, as Maikel Azcuy hit career home run number 36 to become the all-time home run leader in the history of the National Baseball League.

In game one, the Mets took a four-run lead in the first inning, but the visitors showed determination to stay in the game and fight back.

A towering two-run home run to dead centerfield by Azcuy brought the Falcons back in the game in the sixth inning.

The historic significance of that home run may not have been fully appreciated by Azcuy at that moment as he was more focused on the fact that he had given his team a lifeline to come back in this massive game in the title race.

However, he will soon realise that he has set a major milestone in British baseball; he has overtaken the legendary Simon Pole (35 home runs) as well as other big names like Alan Bloomfield (31) and Roddi Liebenberg (31).

With the game finely poised with a score of 4-2, the Falcons had one final inning to stay in the contest, but it wasn’t to be.

Starting pitcher Jose Sosa did extremely well to shut down the Mets completely from the second inning onwards, but the best batting lineup in the league could not bring in the runs it needed to bring down the NBL’s best defence.

The second game seemed like a repeat of game one, as the Mets took an early 4-0 lead.

The Falcons fought back temporarily after a solo home run by Edwin Alcantara who has been outstanding this season. This was his third home run of the campaign which makes him this season’s home run joint-leader in the NBL alongside Azcuy.

Unlike the first game, the Mets didn’t allow any late inning drama and moved up a gear to score seven runs and seal an emphatic 11-1 victory.

After a promising start to the season – winning five of their first six games – the Falcons have now suffered four defeats in a row.

However, manager Lee Manning remains positive about his team’s chances. “The four defeats have been difficult to take, but there is a lot of baseball still to be played and we are in a strong position,” he said. “We have a team of experienced players who have been through tougher situations in their careers and they enjoy playing when the pressure is on.”

In the Triple-A League, the Herts Eagles missed an opportunity to get back in the play-off chase after they suffered two defeats against bottom team Essex Redbacks who have now leapfrogged the Eagles.

The only team from Hertfordshire to win this weekend were the Herts Hawks in the Single-A League. Their win against the Essex Archers extends their unbeaten run to six.