Herts Baseball club takes its pre-season preparations up a notch this coming weekend, Sunday, February 20th. For the first time this year, the players are heading out on to the turf of Grovehill ballpark in Hemel Hempstead. This now consists of two purpose-built baseball diamonds, with the second field having opened last year. Only a handful of British clubs can boast such excellent facilities.
The Herts club members have spent the past few weeks training hard inside the gymnasium in Berkhamsted. Players of all abilities have been mixing together to go through drills to improve their fielding, batting and pitching – as well as their overall fitness. But everyone is keen to get closer to the real thing. Nick Russell, who helped the Eagles to the national playoffs last season, spoke for many when he said “Training was good today – look forward to getting on to the field next weekend, though!”
The session will start at 1pm and the coaches hope to cram in as much action as possible if the weather is kind. The club’s mechanical pitching machine will allow players to practice their hitting on one field, while a special clinic for pitchers and catchers on the second diamond will be followed by more work on throwing and catching. The plan is to play some mini games, too. Wrap up warm, bring a drink, and get ready for some action.
New club members are arriving all the time – converted softball players and cricketers, and some complete novices. The Herts Club President, Aspi Dimitrov, says this is the perfect time to join – “The players have been doing some really good work inside the gym, and it has set us up nicely for the season, but there’s something special about getting back on to the baseball diamond. This is where the year really starts, and we think it could be a big year for the club.”