Mavericks End Slump
The Guildford Mavericks made the journey north east to meet the Haverhill Blackjacks for the first time at the New Croft. A couple of late injuries meant that that there were only eight players available for Guildford so an enterprising decision was made to introduce their scorer into the line-up which meant that they didn’t have an automatic out at the nine spot.
The Mavericks got into the game quickly with two runs scoring in the first inning along with a runner being tagged out at home plate. Rob Wheeler started his third consecutive game on the hill and showed good command and kept the Blackjacks scoreless.
Steven Phillips was pitching for Haverhill and he had Guildford guessing as he struck his fifth batter out by the end of the second inning but not before the Mavericks scored three with a feel-good moment for the emergency rookie as Sheila Horncastle not just got on base but came round to score.
The game opened up from the third as the batters got their eye in and became more familiar with the pitching. Enough so that Matthew Schellhaas hit a home run and not to be outdone, the Mavericks second baseman, Chris Ward replied with his first homer of the season.
A good fifth inning from Guildford opened the game up in their favour where they had a great two-out rally and batted around. A mixture of patience to work a walk and good batting to find the holes helped them score seven with a crucial two RBI double from Dave Austin.
Haverhill made an instant reply as Phillips showed he didn’t need to work the count when he crushed the first pitch of the new inning for a home run. Guildford held them to two runs and at the end of the fifth inning the score was 14-7 to the Mavericks.
The game swayed back in the Blackjacks favour as they clawed back five runs over the next two innings but Guildford again had something to say about their lead being reduced. Ben Matthews led off the eighth inning and continued his good hitting as he claimed his third hit of the day. Horncastle quickly followed after getting a walk. Phillips, looking tired at this point lost the zone and the following four batters each walked and all came over the plate to score. Just as Haverhill looked like they were on for a good score when batting, the Mavericks turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the eighth.
Guildford shortstop Stuart Ellis got his second extra base hit of the day in the final inning but went bigger than his double by hitting his first home run of the season. Wheeler shut the door in the bottom of the ninth and kept it scoreless allowing the Mavericks to record a much-needed win. Wheeler pitched a complete game and looked solid throughout, freezing the Blackjacks with his sweeping curve ball.
Afterwards, the Mavericks second baseman, Chris Ward commented: “It was the most enjoyable game of the year and played with great spirit. Oh , and hitting the home run was sweet too! Without Sheila stepping up, our task would have been a lot harder”.
Guildford Mavericks II Lineup: Ward 2B, Ellis SS, Stobart C, Austin 1B, Wheeler P, Conway 3B, Charlton LF, Matthews CF, Horncastle RF
Final score: Guildford Mavericks II 24 – 15 Haverhill Blackjacks