We are counting down to the 2012 Hunlock Series Draft which will be shown on the Herts Baseball TV Channel this Thursday, 20 September at 8pm.
The managers of the teams have just been announced. The Blue Dogs won it 12 months ago and returning to defend the Hunlock Series title is their manager, John Kjorstad. The Blue Dogs swept their opponents away losing only 2 of their 9 games. Can the Blue Dogs win it again?
After a successful debut year as the manager of the Herts U17 team and one of the key members of the Herts Falcons, Cris Hiche has been confirmed as the manager of the Black Widows. 12 months ago they finished last and Hiche will be hoping to improve on their 2011 record of 2 wins and 7 losses.
The Red Roosters have a new manager. Ken Pike had the last 12 months away from managerial duties after managing the Herts Raptors in 2010 and 2011. But he cannot shake off the managerial bug and he is back in the hot seat again. The Red Roosters had arguably the best squad last year and were the hot favourites, so it was a major upset that they could only win 5 of the 9 games.
White Lightning were last year’s expansion team and they will start the Series with, not one but, 3 co-managers – Dave Tretheway, Jarrod Pretorius and Ryan Bird. All three of them played in the Final of this year’s NBL National Championships between the Herts Falcons and the Harlow Nationals. Bird and Tretheway were part of this year’s phenomenal Falcons team while Jarrod Pretorius was arguably one of the MVPs in the NBL with the Nationals. All three of them have played for the South Africa National Team. Will they target the other South African players in the Draft to turn White Lightning into Team South Africa?
Performances in previous years of the Hunlock Series will have hardly any bearing on this years competition as all teams start with a blank sheet of paper and will have to build their teams from scratch as part of the Draft.
There will be a plethora of baseball talent to choose from. All members of the Herts Eagles, Herts Raptors, Herts Hawks, Herts Falcons and the Herts U17 All Stars will be up for grabs.
Just like previous seasons they will be joined by stars from other baseball teams from across the country. Jarrod Pretorius is one of three members of the 2012 National Champions, Harlow Nationals, who will be playing in the Hunlock Series. The manager of the Nationals, Marty Cullen, and infielder, Carlos Casal, have also been added to the Draft.
Tetsuro Shinkawa will be making his second Hunlock Series appearance after winning the Series with the Blue Dogs last year. He was the starting pitcher for the Guildford Mavericks in the AA playoff quarter-final against the Herts Hawks a few weeks ago and Andrew Fulford hit a decisive grand slam against him in that playoff game. Shinkawa promised that next time he faces Fulford he will strike him out. We may find out very soon who will win that battle as they are expected to face each other during the Series provided that they are not picked for the same team.
This year the Liverpool Trojans will also be represented in the Hunlock Series. Mario Escobedo is well known to fans of Herts Baseball Club as he attended tryouts with the Falcons during the Herts Spring League in March. He is based in Manchester so arranging transport to Hemel Hempstead on a weekly basis proved to be a major obstacle and he joined the best team in the North, Liverpool Trojans, with whom he won the AAA National title just a few weeks ago.
Given the strength of White Lightning on the basis of their 3 co-managers, there will be a restriction on them and they will have to miss the first few rounds of the Draft to enable the other teams to grab some of the top players in this year’s Draft.
We will be publishing more details about Thursday’s Live Draft and the Hunlock Series schedule over the next 48 hours, with Opening Day this Sunday at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead.