The 2012 champions in the British senior leagues have been determined, but the best part of the season for everyone connected with Herts Baseball Club is yet to come.
Every year, just when the MLB season enters its most exciting stage, players come to Grovehill Ballpark for a competition in memory of Herts Baseball Club’s number 36, the late Kyle Hunlock.
This is the seventh year of the Hunlock Series. In its inaugural year in 2006 only two teams were involved, the Falcons and the Hawks. Herts Baseball Club has been growing rapidly since then and the number of teams in the Series increased to 3 in 2008 and went up to 4 in 2011. An announcement about the 2012 Hunlock Series team lineup is expected shortly. There are speculations that the number of teams will increase to 5 this year.
This year’s competition has been expanded and will be played over 4 weekends starting with Opening Day on Sunday, 23 September. The Series will also feature “The Blitz Weekend” where games will be decided over one inning only. This has been introduced to recreate the tension and drama of the ninth inning. Can the teams manufacture the all important go-ahead run? Can they deliver the walk-off hits? Can the pitchers and defence execute with the game on the line?
Aspi Dimitrov, Hunlock Series Commissioner, said: “The Blitz Weekend” has been talked about for several years now, and it was decided to introduce it this year for the first time. The excitement and the pressure of the ninth inning comes once a day for MLB managers. Let’s see how the team managers and players will handle several ninth innings in one day.” He added: “There is a slight risk that adding games decided in one inning can devalue the other games in the Series, but we will have to wait and see how this format will play out and how the managers and players will approach it”.
Like every year, the 2012 Hunlock Series managers will draft the teams from all available current and former Herts players as well as free agents from around the UK and other parts of the world. The Live Draft will be broadcasted on the Hets Baseball TV Channel on Thursday evening, 20 September. Who will be the first round picks? How will minor league players perform alongside NBL players?
Over the years we have seen how decisions made during the draft can shape the outcome of the Series before a pitch has been thrown. The managers will have to make carefully calculated decisions if they are to put together a team which can compete for the Hunlock Series title, otherwise they face miserable few weeks.
With all of the club’s managers and coaching staff monitoring these games, players who have been pushing for promotion to a higher league team will have the perfect opportunity to make a claim on the big stage in the coming weeks of the Hunlock Series.
PLAYERS LOOKING TO REGISTER AHEAD OF THE DRAFT
Players are currently signing up ahead of next week’s draft. The Series is open to everyone, not just to current or former members of Herts Baseball Club. Players from other clubs can also take part. Players can register free. There are no registration fees.
There has already been interest from non-Herts players located in other regions of the United Kingdom and overseas, from as far as Japan. Just like last year, the Hunlock Series could provide a glimpse at players who could be wearing the Herts jersey in 2013.
To be eligible for selection during the live draft players must register and enter their availability details online before 7pm on Tuesday, 18 September. After that deadline and throughout the duration of the Series newly registered players would still be eligible to take part but would be added to teams as free agents. Players who wish to register for the 2012 Hunlock Series should contact Herts Baseball Club. To be eligible to play adult league baseball, players must be 14 years of age or above on 31 December 2012.