The 2011 youth baseball season ended in style with the Herts Futures Tournament. A record 15 youth teams from across Southern England descended on Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead for a day packed with baseball action.
The event opened with around 200 young baseball players lining up on the first base foul line for the national anthem and then it was time to play with a total of 24 games scheduled over the course of the day.
In the Under-17 competition, 2011 National Champions, London Mets took the title with a 100% record of 3-0, but it took a nail-biting come-from-behind 6-3 win against the Horsham Hornets to do it. Horsham deservedly took second place with Herts overcoming the Essex RedBacks in extra innings to clinch third place. Herts and the RedBacks have had close games all season but the RedBacks kept coming out on top winning all five of their encounters prior to Saturday, so a promising way for the Herts All Stars to end the season and start to build towards 2012.
National Runners-up Herts were the winners in the Under-14 competition. They finished above London and Bracknell in their pool which took them to the final where they met Horsham and won convincingly. Zack Longboy pitched for the win, while Callum Vangundy stood out with two home runs for Herts.
In the Under-11 race defending champions, the Horsham A’s, once again proved to be the dominant force in this age group finishing the day with a 100% record beating all four of their opponents.
The event also included a Home Run Derby for the U17 teams. London Mets player, Zach Stroman, reached the final round with an impressive score of 6 home runs in the opening round. Joining him in the final were team mates, Jamie Dix and Jack Peters as well as Sam Boylett (Horsham) and Kyle Lloyd-Jones (Herts) who were all tied in second place on 3 home runs. In the final round Stroman added one more home run for a total of 7 home runs over the two rounds. Lloyd-Jones and Jamie Dix added a home run each to their overall tally. Jack Peters came very close to overtaking home run leader, Stroman, with a total of 6 home runs. Then up stepped Sam Boylett and showed impressive power under pressure. He launched 5 towering blasts to win the Home Run Derby with 8 home runs overall.
A wonderful day of baseball for the whole family which will certainly leave everyone with warm memories as British Baseball enters the winter break period and starts to prepare for the 2012 season.