The Herts Falcons emphasised their intent to battle for the title this season – winning the first and losing the second game in their double-header away at the Essex Arrows.
Last year they lost all three meetings with the reigning national champions, but this season the team seems to have the self-belief that they can beat any of their opponents, home or away.
Jose Sosa was the winning pitcher for the Falcons in game one which finished 15-6, although it was the 11 Herts runs in the final inning which give the false impression of a one-sided game.
The second game was just as close; on this occasion the Arrows scored six runs in the late innings to secure a 12-6 victory.
Maikel Azcuy had three hits over the two games – two doubles and a single – so fans will have to wait a bit longer for his record-breaking 36th NBL career home run.
While the focus was on Azcuy, two other Herts players are starting to add some real power to the line-up.
In the first game Joel Vallejo hit a towering home run which went over 400 feet. In the second game it was Edwin Alcantara who went deep with a home run of his own and had a total of three hits over the two games.
The Falcons are now second in the NBL standings, one game behind the London Mets who remain the only unbeaten team in the league after their two wins against the South London Pirates.
Next for the Falcons is a home game against the revamped Pirates, who are proving to be a major player in the playoff race. The game starts at 12pm at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead.
In the Triple-A Leagu,e the Eagles suffered two heart-breaking losses against the Oxford Kings. Their next game is away at the Essex Redbacks where they will need to win to stay with the rest of the playoff-chasing pack.
In the Single-A League, the Herts Hawks are still unbeaten after they won their fourth game of the season away at the Forest Glade Redbacks. Ken Pike and Ilya Dimitrov hit a home run each in that game.