The Great Britain National Team has confirmed that 13 members of Herts Baseball Club have successfully progressed through to the second stage of the GB Under-19 and GB Under-16 National Teams selection process for the 2014 season.
GB U19 TEAM
In the Under-19 GB tryouts, pitcher and catcher, Jake Caress, and third baseman, Kyle Lloyd-Jones, are through to the next stage. Both players took part in these tryouts a year ago, and it will be interesting to see if they will secure a place in the final roster in 2014. They have made outstanding progress over the last 12 months at club level and in 2013 they were promoted to the Herts Ravens team which competes in the British Triple-A League.
They are joined by three other Herts players who are one or two years younger than them. Jose Morillo, Warwick Byrne and Will Zucker reach this stage of the GB U19 selection process for the first time and this is a great achievement for these young players who in 2013 were part of the Herts Harriers who were runners-up in the Under-17 national championship.
GB U16 TEAM
In the Under-16 age group eight Herts players took part in the GB U16 tryouts and all of them are through to the second phase. Callum Vangundy, Carlos Casal Jr, Conner Brown, Tom Everex-Armstrong and Zack Longboy made the final GB U16 squad in 2013 and all of them have progressed again this time around. They are joined by Ben Jones, Brodie Caress and Ollie Johns.
Ben Jones is only 12-years-old so it is very impressive to see him compete with the U16 players at such a young age. Another interesting fact about Jones is that he plays for the Herts Cardinals in the Under-14 league and the manager of the team is the aforementioned Jake Caress, who is through to the second round of the GB U19 tryouts (click to view interview with Jake Caress).
THE HARD WORK HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN
There will be additional evaluations in the Spring and the size of the GB U19 and GB U16 rosters will be reduced further ahead of the GB Team’s 2014 international games schedule. It is unrealistic to expect all 13 Herts players to make the final squads, but the rising number of Herts players battling for a place in the GB teams is exciting news for everyone connected with Herts.
MORE TO COME
Herts Baseball Club is even more excited by the fact that there are many more talented players coming through the various age groups of the Herts youth system, from the U-11 and U-14 teams through to the U-17 age group. The opportunity is there for any young players who want to get involved in baseball to progress and wear the GB Team jersey. But you don’t have to be a GB National Team player to play baseball. The club is expected to make exciting announcements in the coming weeks about the expansion of the Herts youth baseball programme which hopes to give many more youngsters from around the region the opportunity to play the game.
Any interested boys and girls between 6 and 16 years of age from complete beginners to advanced players can join the Herts baseball youth teams (contact the club for details how to join or for more information).