Herts Baseball Club has confirmed that 20 teams have entered this year’s Herts Spring League (HSL). This equals the record set last year. The teams come from all British baseball leagues including the National Baseball League, AAA league, AA League and A League. For a second year in a row the HSL lineup also includes an international team, and for the first time the competition will feature a team from the Under-17 League.
To match the teams more equally and create much closer contests, for the first time the HSL teams will be divided into three separate leagues based on their league ranking going into the 2012 season.
HSL – MAJORS
The HSL Majors includes teams form the NBL. The reigning NBL Champions, the Harlow Nationals (formerly the Southern Nationals), go into the competition as the top seed. They are joined by the NBL runner-up, the Lakenheath Diamondbacks, as the second seed. Entering the HSL for the first time are the London Mets led by their newly appointed manager, Fredi Vibert, who last managed the Richmond Flames ending up as the team with the best record in the regular season (19-5). The Essex Arrows and the Herts Falcons are the fourth and fifth seeded teams in the HSL Majors, respectively.
HSL – AAA
The Essex RedBacks’ impressive performance in the AAA last year makes them the favourite to win the HSL AAA section. Joining them are the always competitive Milton Keynes Bucks from the AA Midlands League, the Sidewinders, the Herts Hawks and the Cambridge Royals who were confirmed to be making the jump from the A League last year to the AAA League in 2012. For the first time ever the HSL will feature an Under-17 League team. The London Mets U17 team are the reigning U17 National Champions and it will be fascinating to see how they will fare against teams from the AAA adult leagues. The London Mets U17 team is using the HSL as a final test before the team flies to the Czech Republic for the qualifying stage on the way to the PONY Baseball Colt World Series in Lafayette, Indiana in early August.
HSL – AA
The Guildford Mavericks are the top seed in the HSL-AA section. They are joined by the Essex RedBacks II, Kent Mariners, London Marauders, Guildford Mavericks II, the two host teams, the Herts Raptors and the Herts Eagles.
Completing the lineup are two teams who enter the HSL for the first time – the Torbay Barons, a newly formed independent team, and finally the Great Britain Under-15 National Team who will utilise the HSL as part of their preparations for their international schedule this season. The GB U15 team includes players from many of the other teams in the HSL so those players will be facing their club team mates.
To view the full HSL lineup, click here.
SCHEDULE AND FORMAT
The HSL will be played over four weeks commencing on the weekend of 17 and 18 March and ending on 7 and 8 April. The HSL format, games schedule and venues are expected to be announced on or around 6 March 2012 and hertsbaseball.com will bring this and all other HSL news as they happen.