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09 April: Herts/Southampton game ends in controversy, Arrow/Caps have an NBL run fest

04/11/2017, 5:00pm BST
By Carli Stehle

The Herts Falcons travelled to the south coast to take on the Southampton Mustangs but Game One of the doubleheader was called in the bottom of the sixth in bizarre cirumstances, with a dispute over an alleged ineligible player resulting in the game being played under protest.

Herts Falcons @ Southampton Mustangs

Game One: Southampton 7, Herts 7 (game called in 6th inning - under protest)
Game Two: Southampton 18, Herts 2

The protest from Game One is currently being heard by the BBF who will rule on the result of the game. Southampton eased to victory in Game Two, inducing the mercy-rule, winning 18-2 after five innings.

The Falcons put numbers on the board in the top of the second inning as Andrew Fulford reached second base due to an error from Southampton third baseman Ryan Trask before Moises Vasquez was then walked. Will Zucker made it to first base on a sacrifice bunt after an error from catcher Edwin Almonte Medina and Fulford scored with Vasquez advancing to third, later scoring on a passed ball, giving Herts an early 2-0 lead. 

Southampton’s Ambiorix Hurtado singled and stole second, scoring on a double from Oswaldo Rodriguez to kickstart the Mustangs offence. Medina and Juan Diaz were walked, leaving the bases loaded for Arley Lorenzo, whose double scored Rodriguez and Medina. Lorenzo and Diaz would also score on a single from Ryan Trask, with Trask himself stealing second and advancing to third on an error by Herts’ catcher Connor Brown, but could not capitalise on being in scoring position as Giovanni Escalona flew out to John Blose in right field to end the inning with the hosts up 5-2. 

Brown hit a leadoff double to start the top of the third inning and, with Blose drawing a walk, both advanced when Fulford laid down a sacrifice bunt. A single from Vasquez scored Brown and Blose, pulling the Falcons to within one. 

Hurtado’s solo home run in the bottom of the third gave the Mustangs a one-run cushion and Mike Trask was allowed to take the base after being hit by a pitch, but Rodriguez hit a line drive to the pitcher for an inning-ending double play. 

Vasquez got on base for Herts with a double in the top of the sixth inning and then scored on Tyler Badenhorst’s single. Badenhorst advanced to second base on an error from pitcher Alberto Rodriguez before Zucker drew another walk, with both scoring on a passed ball as the Falcons edged ahead 7-6.

Southampton would tie the score 7-7 with a home run from Jose Eduardo Acosta Nunez in the bottom of the inning before disputes over the game resulted in it being called pending the protest hearing.

Game Two was a rough shift for starting pitcher Tyler Badenhorst and the Falcons. With five errors by the third inning and losing 18-2 by the fifth, the mercy rule was put into effect with the Mustangs claiming an easy victory.

However, things started brightly for Herts with John Blose singled and stole second before scoring on a balk called against Southampton’s Rei Martinez, giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead. 

But the Mustangs batted through their rotation in the bottom half of the first and put seven runs on the board. Arley Lorenzo’s single kicked off the inning, with Ryan Trask taking the base after he got hit by a pitch. A walk for Ambiorix Hurtado loaded the bases as Oswaldo Rodriguez stepped up to the plate.  He reached base due to an error at second base, scoring Trask and moving Hurtado to third. 

Alberto Rodriguez’s single brought Hurtado home, and a double from Edwin Almonte Medina scored both Oswaldo and Alberto Rodriguez. Juan Diaz was hit by a pitch and took first base. 

A double from Lorenzo later in the inning scored Medina and moved Diaz to third base, with Diaz scoring on an error by Badenhorst to give Southampton a 7-1 lead. 

The bottom of the second inning was like déjà vu with Southampton batting through the rotation again and putting another seven runs in the book. Giovanni Escalona reached second after an error on shortstop Juon Ohno. Hurtado’s single moved him to third base, which allowed him to score on a wild pitch. Oswaldo and Alberto Rodriguez walked, loading the bases with no outs. Hurtado scored on a single from Diaz. Lorenzo’s single scored both Oswaldo and Alberto Rodriguez. Diaz and Lorenzo advanced on an error by Jamie Warren in left field. 

Ryan Trask reached first on an error by third baseman Robert Smith and Diaz and Lorenzo added another two runs to the Mustangs’ lead. Trask advanced to second on a wild pitch and Escalona was walked. Hurtado’s second single of the third inning brought in Trask. 

After a quick three up, three down the top of the third inning, the score remained 14-1 to Southampton. Alberto Rodriguez reached first on a single, but a bunt from Medina to second base resulted in a double play. 

Herts began to regain their footing in the top of the fourth with a single from Fulford. Another single from Vasquez moved him into scoring position at third. Fulford scored, but Vasquez was picked off as he attempted to steal second. Ohno was hit by the pitch but was stranded at first as Jamie Warren grounded out to Oswaldo Rodriguez. 

Lorenzo marked his fourth hit of the game with a single in the bottom of the fourth. Escalona reached base on an error by Blose in right field and Lorenzo moved to third base. Hurtado went 3-for-3 with a single that brought in Lorenzo. Oswaldo Rodriguez singled, loading the bases for Alberto Rodriguez, who walked in Escalona. Pitcher Rei Martinez stepped into the batter’s box in place of Medina and reached first on a fielder’s choice, earning himself a RBI as Hurtado scored. 

The top of the fifth was the Falcons’ last chance at putting some runs on the board, but unfortunately, they could not close the 16-run gap. The mercy rule was called into effect in the bottom of the fifth and the Mustangs added another win to put them in first place.

London Capitals @ Essex Arrows

Game One: Essex 20, London 3
Game Two: London 16, Essex 5

Essex and London shared a massive 44 runs over their doubleheader, with both sides scoring a landslide victory each.

A game ending grand slam from Ollie Thompson in his NBL debut gave the Essex Arrows an impressive final score of 20-3 against the London Capitals in Game One.

A walk for Rhys Wilson and a single from Ben Marcal couldn't get the Capitals any runs in the top of the first inning. The Arrows got on the board early and led 2-0 after the bottom half of the inning. Fraser Duggan and Thompson both reached base on errors, with Thompson stealing second. Luke Foley's double brought them both home. Franklin Emilio Martinez Gonzalez reached first on a fielder's choice and stolen second, but the inning ended as Michael Anunobi struck out.

In the top of the second, singles from Jeremy Lengyel and Brian Siano got men on for the visiting team, but no runs were scored. In the bottom of the second, Carlos Casal Jr walked, stole second, advanced to third on a bunt from Rory Chandler and scored.

The Capitals managed to get bases loaded with a single from Yoshi Okamoto, a walk for Ben Marcal and a free 90 feet for Wojciech Kawczynski after being hit by a pitch, but they also couldn't get any runs on the board.

The Arrows batted around the lineup in the home half of the inning and were 12 runs up by the end of the third. Foley, Gonzalez and Luis Goncalves all reached base and a single from Anunobi brought in Foley and Gonzalez. Jaxon Tomchesson reached first on an error at second base, loading the bases for Rory Chandler, whose sacrifice fly out to centre scored Gonzalez. 

London attempted to get a rally going with three runs scored in the fourth inning. After a single from Siano and walks for Wilson and Okamoto, the bases were loaded for Marcal. Siano scored on a passed ball and a double from Marcal gave the Capitals two runs as Wilson and Okamoto crossed home plate. Kawczynski was walked and Lengyel grounded to the pitcher, but made it to the bag safely on an error. The bases were loaded for Gordon Sheppard, but were left stranded as he struck out. 

A single from Luke Foley kicked off the home half of the fifth. Gonzalez doubled, scoring Foley from first. Goncalves' single brought in Gonzalez. Anunobi walked and Tomchesson followed that with a single to bring in Goncalves. Casal Jr's single earned him an RBI as Anunobi came home. 

Chandler was hit by a pitch and bases were loaded for Thompson, setting up for a grand slam. He hit a belter out to left field, and mercy rule went into effect.

Richard Chesterton, manger of the Arrows, was very happy with the result. 

He said, "We took the lead early and never let up. Offensively we had a great approach coupled with smart aggressive base running. Luke Foley was a standout with the bat. Defensively we kept our heads and always limited damage".

London's bats woke up in the second game and to ensure they did not go home empty-handed, with the Capitals taking Game Two 16-5.

The Capitals got on the board early in the first as Timothy Ssali scored on a wild pitch.

Essex put runs on the board in the bottom of the first after Rich Chesterton's single brought in Duggan (walk, stolen base). Foley was walked and Gonzalez reached base on an error at third base. Chesterton and Foley took advantage of the error, giving Essex a 3-1 lead. Goncalves reached base on error at first and scored thanks to a double from Anunobi. A single from Thompson brought him home, but Thompson was picked off on first, ending the inning.

The second inning saw several hits from both sides with singles from London's Siano and Maxime Flayol and Arrows'  Tomchesson and Foley, but the score remained the same, 5-1 to Essex.

Timothy Ssali tripled in the top of third and Marcal's double sent him home. A sacrifice fly from Kawczynski brought in Marcel and the game became close with Essex still ahead 5-4.

London came alive in their half of the fourth inning with four runs on two hits. Flayol walked, and a single from Adam Gilman brought him in. Sam Karson and Ssali walked and a sacrifice hit from Marcal scored Karson. In his second at-bat of the inning, Kawczynski walked, but a single from Okamoto couldn't get him in.

In the home half of the inning, Chandler reached first on an error and stole second, but was picked off. Chesterton reached base on a fielder's choice and Foley walked, but it wasn't enough to stop London.

The Capitals batted through their rotation in the fifth, scoring eight runs on five hits and securing their lead indefinitely. Dorian Mendez Roa and Flayol walked, giving Gilman the opportunity to send Roa in on a single. Karson laid down a single and Flayol scored on a wild pitch. Gough's single brought in Gilman, and Ssali followed with another single that scored Karson. Marcal,  Kawczynski and Okamoto were all walked. Ssali scored from third on a passed ball and Marcal took advantage of a wild pitch to cross home plate. A sacrifice from Flayol brought in Kawczynski and a sacrifice fly from Gordon Sheppard brought Okamoto in. Karson hit his second single in the inning, but London inflicted its damage.

Even with Goncalves and Thompson reaching base for Essex, the mercy rule went into effect and the series was split 1-1.

The Capitals manager, Cole Ryan said, "I think our guys showed a lot of character and heart today coming out and winning the second game by mercy rule after losing the first one really showed us a lot about who we are and what we're made of.

"The guys are mentally tough and to be able to bounce back and take the second game like that shows a lot about who we are as a team."

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