With only three days before the start of the 2017 National Baseball League (NBL) season, the Herts Falcons have added two-time NBL Champion, Jarrod Pretorius. The 31-year-old slugger was a key member of the Harlow Nationals team which dominated the NBL winning it in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Many would argue that if Pretorius was not with the Nationals, the Falcons would have become NBL Champions in 2012. In Game 6 of the NBL Final it was Jarrod Pretorius’ 3-run home run after a memorable at bat versus pitcher Ryan Bird which proved to be the difference in the Nationals’ 6-3 title-clinching win.
In that year the South African was also voted as the NBL’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). In 2013 he was once again instrumental when the Nationals eliminated the Falcons in the NBL Semi-Final at Farnham Park.
A look at the NBL archives from the 2012 and 2013 season shows Pretorius leading in various statistical categories, including best batting average (.500) and slugging average (.760) in 2012, NBL Third Base Gold Glove in 2012 and First Base Gold Glove in 2013.
Safe or out? Cris Hiche (left) and Jarrod Pretorius (right) in one of the many titanic battles between the Falcons and Nationals in 2012.
In 2015 he signed for the Tubingen Hawks in the German Bundesliga. In a key game he suffered a serious arm injury. This kept him out of the game for a lengthy period, but he is ready to make his comeback now and Herts fans can look forward to seeing him in a Herts jersey. It may take some time for him to get back to full fitness but even at less than 100%, he is a formidable force and his energy is expected to add enormous value to the club on and off the field. His arrival adds to the large number of South Africa-born players who will be wearing the Herts jersey this season including Duane, Josh and Tyler Badenhorst, Robert Smith, Darren Meintjes, Iain and Dylan McCrimmon.
Jarrod Pretorius is expected to make his debut this Sunday, 2 April, as the Falcons start their NBL season with a home doubleheader versus Brighton Jets. The first game starts at 1pm at Grovehill Ballpark.