15 March 2009 – Spring has arrived and that means that the baseball season is just around the corner, but before the 2009 Opening Day, fans of British baseball will have a chance to see the teams in action in the Herts Spring League (HSL), organised by Herts Baseball Club.
Last year was the inaugural year of the HSL and this time around it is set to be bigger and better. In 2008 ten teams took part. This year the demand has been phenomenal with 13 teams entering the league. The organisers actually had to turn away several other teams as there simply weren’t enough venues to fit all the teams.
This year, teams will be coming from all corners of Southern England, from Southampton to Alconbury, and they have been divided into two Pools.
Pool 1 includes the Essex Arrows, Southampton Mustangs and the Sidewinders, which are three teams with many years of experience at AAA level. They are joined by the Bracknell Blazers and the newest member of the National League, the Herts Falcons. The Alconbury Braves complete the Pool 1 line-up. Like the ASL Eagles who won last year’s HSL1, no one knows what to expect of the Braves as they are joining the BBF Leagues for the first time this year, but will certainly be a team to watch out for as their roster comprises US Army personnel from RAF Alconbury.
For one week only, Richmond’s National League team, the Flames, will play a one-off game against the Falcons. The Flames’ record in this game will be added to their sister club, the Richmond Dragons who head the line-up in Pool 2.
Also in Pool 2 are the Milton Keynes Bucks, Braintree Rays and the Medway Mariners, who from this year will be renamed as the Kent Mariners following their merger with the Tonbridge Bobcats. The final two teams in Pool 2 are the Eagles and the Hawks from the host club, Herts.
The games will be played at three venues: Herts, Richmond and Harlow. Those who will be attending the games at Grovehill Ballpark in Hertfordshire will have a chance to see the developments which are taking place at Herts Baseball Club with a brand new outfield fence installed just a week ago. This makes Herts Baseball Club the first British club with permanent outfield fence on both its diamonds. Harlow is a relatively new club on the British baseball map and is one of the few clubs in the country who have a purpose-built baseball field. The games taking place in Harlow will be used as part of Harlow’s plans to create its own adult team to support its existing youth programme.
The games will take place over three consecutive Sundays commencing on 29 March 2009 and will conclude on 12 April which is the final Sunday before Opening Day ’09.
The HSL is a competition organised by Herts Baseball Club. It is similar to the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues in Florida and Arizona, respectively, and is used in the same way, as a pre-season competition to prepare the players for the season ahead.
This is a great opportunity for players of any standard to get in touch with their nearest team and to get involved in time for this year’s edition of the HSL. Don’t miss it.
Contact Herts Baseball Club to get ivolved in the Herts Spring League. Players of any standard are welcome.
For more information visit the official Herts Spring League website.