The British National Baseball Championships (NBC) entered their final weekend with the Youth competition at Finsbury Park, home of the London Mets. The Bronco (ages 10-13) and Pony (ages 13-16) leagues each welcomed four contending squads, making up the top eight youth teams in the BBF. In addition to the host Mets, the Halton Polecats, Cartmel Valley, Herts Baseball Club, the Bracknell Tornadoes and the Horsham Hornets survived the gruelling stretch of playoff games to reach the NBC.


On Saturday the tournament hosts, the London Mets, advanced to Sunday’s BBF Bronco Final. By overturning a courageous Cartmel Valley comeback, the Mets batted their way to a six-inning win.

Later that afternoon, Herts won in extra innings against Halton after their Polecats tied the game but then stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning. (A regulation Bronco game is six-innings long, while a Pony game is seven.)

3rd/4th Bronco Game: Halton Polecats 8, Cartmel Valley 4

These games set up a 3rd-4th place showdown between Halton and Cartmel Valley. These two regional rivals have played many times before and the players were eager to take the diamond. In a very rapid six-inning game, Halton quickly found their bats and slugged out a significant lead. Cartmel’s pitching struggled to contain the aggressive Polecats lineup. Leadoff batter Harry Pickup was 2-4 with one RBI and Spencer Roberts was 1-3 with two RBI. Halton’s starting pitcher – Jonas Grader – pitched five innings of quality ball, allowing only three earned runs and a .286 opponent batting average.

Cartmel Valley was not without some offence of their own. Jonny Hill went 2-3, and Tyler Prescott and Ross Duclos were each 1-2 with one RBI. Catcher Tom Woodburn hit a monster solo home run late in the game; some fans reckon the baseball travelled roughly 300 feet and landed near third base on the adjacent Pony diamond.

Nevertheless, Halton’s offence was too much and they won the game 8-4 securing their third-place berth in the BBF Bronco League.

Bronco Final: London Mets 1, Herts Baseball Club 0

Herts and London, also regional rivals, played the tightest, most competitive match of the entire Championships weekend. The stakes were high: bragging rights as the top Bronco team in the country. But the 10-13 year olds kept their wits about them and simply focused on playing solid baseball.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning that the game’s only run scored. After throwing three shutout innings, Herts starter Nick Martinez allowed a deep double to London’s Jack Peters. It was only one of three hits allowed by Martinez in four innings of work, but it was enough despite his seven strikeouts. The run came in to score on some aggressive Mets baserunning and it was the difference in the game. London’s starter, Ryan Headlam, allowed just one hit in his three innings of work. It was the only hit for Herts on the day (from Lewis Patterson).

Jack Peters pitched three innings of hitless relief for London, earning four strikeouts and throwing 27 strikes versus only nine balls. Leadoff Met Jamie Dix had two stolen bases.

On the way to the Final, Herts eliminated 5 of the best teams in the country. The Club’s youth programme may have been established only 2 years ago, but this amazing achievement confirms Herts as a growing force in British Youth Baseball.

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Herts All Stars at London Mets
Score By Innings 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Herts All Stars 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
London Mets 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 0
London Mets 1, Herts All Stars 0
London Mets Herts All Stars
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Jamie Dix c 2 0 0 0 Carlos Casal Jr rf 3 0 0 0
Chris Saltzgaber ss 3 0 0 0 Mikito Ariga c 3 0 0 0
Josh Porter cf 2 0 0 0 Nick Martinez p-ss 2 0 0 0
Jack Peters 3b-p 2 1 2 0 Liam Green cf 1 0 0 0
Ryan Headlam p-3b 2 0 1 0 Lewis Paterson 1b 2 0 1 0
Zac Stroman 1b 2 0 0 1 Marty Cullen Jr ss-p 2 0 0 0
Mathew Tarrant 2b 2 0 0 0 Jamie Paterson 3b 2 0 0 0
(t5) Ben Turner 2b 0 0 0 0 Zachary Longboy 2b 2 0 0 0
Todd Dulius rf 1 0 0 0 Dan Phillips lf 0 0 0 0
(b5) George Atkinson rf 1 0 0 0 (b4) Charlie Mayhew lf 0 0 0 0
Ewan Clegg lf 1 0 0 0 (t6) Michael Davies lf 1 0 0 0
(t4) Rintaro Suzuki lf 1 0 0 0
TEAM TOTALS 19 1 3 1 TEAM TOTALS 18 0 1 0
E: Lewis Paterson. LOB: Herts All Stars 2, London Mets 4. 2B: Jack Peters. SB: Jamie
Dix(2), Lewis Paterson, Liam Green. CS: Carlos Casal Jr.
London Mets IP H R ER BB SO
Ryan Headlam 3.00 1 0 0 3 3
Jack Peters W 3.00 0 0 0 0 4
Herts All Stars
Nick Martinez L 4.00 3 1 1 1 7
Marty Cullen Jr 1.00 0 0 0 0 1
PB: Mikito Ariga. T: 1:05. A: 198.

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