Herts Baseball Club announced the managerial appointments for its three adult league teams as they prepare for the 2012 British Baseball season. The appointments were confirmed at the club’s Annual General Meeting which was held today in Apsley, Hertfordshire.
Lee Manning will continue at the helm of the Herts Falcons with the team looking to climb up the standings in 2012 after finishing ninth in the National Baseball League (NBL) this year. Manning who lives just a fly ball away from Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead has been with the organisation from a very young age and he is looking forward to the challenge ahead for the Falcons. It was revealed that the team has added several new names to its roster, and it will be interesting to see how they will fit into the lineup. The attraction of joining the Falcons appears to come from the fact that Herts Baseball Club is one of the largest baseball organisations in the United Kingdom in terms of size, facilities, number of adult and youth teams, players and supporters, but it hasn’t managed to become a dominant force in the NBL yet. It is a “sleeping giant”, desperate for success much in the way that the Chicago Cubs have been suffering for so long and the Boston Red Sox did right up until they ended the curse of the Bambino in 2004. There is a real opportunity for players to come in and become Herts Baseball legends and this appears to be an appealing challenge. Despite the additions of these new players, there is work still to be done and the team still has slots on its roster which need to be filled to add strength in pitching, defence and offence.
There is also no change for the Herts Hawks. They will once again be led by joint-managers Andy Cornish and Greg Bochan. The partnership between the two has worked very well and this is an opportunity for them to build on the progress made over the last 12 months. Like the Falcons, the Hawks also ended 2011 with a below .500 win-loss record. If the Herts Falcons succeed in adding more players to its NBL roster, it would have a positive knock-on effect with experienced players trickling down to the club’s second and third teams. It is too early to predict which team roster players will be assigned to as these decisions will be made on the basis of performance in the critical Spring Training period, but the signals coming out of Herts’ Annual General Meeting is that all the Herts teams are determined to be involved in the playoff races of all league tiers.
Berkhamsted resident, Arnie Longboy, has been confirmed as the Manager of the Herts Raptors. Longboy has been heavily involved both as a player and coach at the club over the last few years and he will be able to count on his son, Zack, not only as a member of the Raptors’ pitching rotation, but also as his assistant. The Raptors ended the 2011 season impressively winning three out of the last four league games. The really positive news is that he will be able to count on a large number of club members including Chris Deacon, Glen Downer and John Kjorstad who have made themselves available to support Longboy in coaching and other capacities. While the Herts teams hope to get a boost out of experienced players filtering down to the Double-AA and Single-A League teams, there will be an additional fillip coming from the club’s Under-17 team players who seem to be maturing fast. Jose Morillo, Liam Green and Zack Longboy already made their mark with the adult teams this year and other U17 players are knocking on the door to do the same next season.
If the club is successful in attracting more players over the next few months, this, combined with U-17 players staring to move into the adult teams, may prompt the club to enter a fourth team into the league
Other news coming out of the Herts Baseball AGM includes the club’s exciting plans for the next wave of investment into Grovehill Ballpark. The club is expected to issue more details on this over the next few weeks in anticipation of the final outcome of its BSUK/Sport England grant application.
Herts Baseball Club welcomes youth players from 6 to 16 and adult players from 14 to 50+ from complete beginners to experienced ballpalyers. New players can join at any time of the year. For more details click here for adults or here for youth players.