The 2012 youth baseball season ended in style with the Herts Futures Tournament (HFT). A record 16 youth teams from across Southern England descended on Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead for a day packed with baseball action.
The event opened with the U17 National Final. The London Mets and Cobham Cougars have been dominating the U17 league, meeting in the final of the last two seasons. On both occasions the London Mets came out on top. The two teams met again in what was built as the clash of the titans. Cobham came from behind to win it 7-3. Everyone expected the headlines to be made by the towering starting pitchers of the two teams, Kazuma (Mets) and Chad Munger (Cougars), but it could be argued that the game turned on a play by the smallest player in the game, Connor Dellapena. The Cobham right fielder turned a double play to end a Mets rally and then the Cougars jumped in front and held on for a memorable win.
After the final the Mets went on to play in the Herts Futures Tournament seeking redemption. They met the Horsham Hornets in the Semi-Final and came back from a 4-1 deficit to clinch a walk-off 5-4 win. In the other Semi-Final the SoNo Stars overcame hosts, Herts, who almost pulled off a late comeback putting the tying run on first base, but SoNo held on for a 4-2 win.
Eager to erase the memories of the loss against Cobham earlier in the day, the Mets clinched the HFT U17 title after a closely fought game with the SoNo Stars.
In the U14 division London Sports proved to be the outstanding team of the tournament. They were the only team to complete the day with a perfect record 3-0 overcoming the Essex Redbacks, Horsham Rays and the London Mets.
London Sports completed a very successful end to the baseball season by also clinching the HFT title in the U11 division. They had to battle hard for it as Herts and Horsham pushed them to the end.
Click here for HFT scoreboard and standings.
Note for fans: One of the lottery runner-up cash prizes has not been claimed yet. Herts Baseball Club is looking for the holder of lottery ticket number 294. If you are the ticket-holder please contact Herts Baseball Club