Essex Archers 12 – 23 Guildford Mavericks
The final regular season game for the Mavericks had the Essex Archers visit Guildford. The home team were forced into a few changes so Matt Friend started his first senior game at short stop and two other rookies from the development squad – Richard King and Ben Fullman, started in right field and at first base respectively.
The first inning proved good for King as he got his first hit in Mavericks colours. Rob Wheeler and Fullman also batted in runners to ensure an early lead for the home team. Runs were racking up for both teams from good hitting and Ryan Hicks boosted his batting average by hitting two doubles and plating three runs. The Archers third baseman Lloyd Edwards showed his power by hitting for three thirds of the cycle from his first four at-bats including a no-doubter home run into left-centre. It would have been four from four if Guildford centre fielder Will Frawley didn’t time his run perfectly to snatch a sure double away from him.
The sixth inning was where the game turned. Friend and Fullman showed good glovework and accuracy which helped Wheeler to ensure that he only needed four pitches to retire Essex. With the visitors putting the first zero on the board, Guildford led the bottom of the innings off with a double from Frawley. The Mavericks batted around and third baseman Christian Schmidt followed his three run double in the fourth inning with a grand-slam home run. Suddenly the game changed where Guildford were leading by eleven and needed three outs to take the win with the mercy rule. The first three Essex batters reached to load the bases. Wheeler was replaced with Hicks and Barney Singh entered the game as catcher in his first senior appearance for the club. Hicks showed true grit and composure on the mound as he stranded the runners and struck the side out.
Words by Ben Stobart