The 2014 Most Valuable Player awards for the Herts adult and youth baseball teams were presented on Sunday at the club’s annual general meeting.
Abel Salas was voted Herts Falcons 2014 MVP. This came as no surprise given that a few weeks ago his outstanding season was recognised by awarding him all three MVP awards in the whole of the National Baseball League, including Most Valuable Batter, Most Valuable Pitcher, Most Valuable Two-Way Player. He also won the 2014 NBL Home Run title which he shared with Essex Arrows’ Maikel Azcuy who will be wearing the Herts Falcons uniform in 2015.
The Herts Eagles MVP award went to Takaya Miki. He joined the club one month into the season after a move from the Essex Redbacks, but quickly established himself in the team. He rounded off an excellent season with a leaping catch at the wall in the Hunlock Series Final which was later nominated as one of the plays of the season.
Greg Bochan has been an unsung hero of Herts Baseball Club for many years being a major contributor in numerous departments and one of the best loved members at the club. On Sunday his on-field contribution was recognised as he was voted 2014 Herts Hawks MVP. His consistent performances at third base and on the mound combined with him being one of the most dangerous hitters on the Hawks roster made it a very easy choice for members when they cast their votes.
There was a very close race in the Herts Raptors MVP poll. It went right down to the wire. At the end the MVP award went to Michael Cresswell. 2014 was his third season with the club and he has been taking his game up a notch every year. This year he proved to be a key player offensively, defensively and on the mound for the Raptors. For the Herts Raptors coaching staff, Michael Cresswell was always one of the first players in the lineup.
The MVP race in the club’s Under-17 team, the Herts Harriers, proved to be just as close. Only one vote divided the top candidates and the MVP award went to pitcher Zack Longboy. He may have missed a large proportion of the U17 season due to his commitments in the American Varsity League and the GB Under-17 National Team, but there can be no doubt about the progress which he has made to become one of the top young prospects at Herts and in Great Britain as a whole. He was recording wins with more or less every one of his starts this season in the U17 league, Varsity League, Little League Europe Qualifier, GB U17 Team, Herts Hawks (BBF Double-A League), Herts Eagles (BBF Triple-A League) and even made a winning debut with Herts Falcons in the NBL, Britain’s top league.
The Herts U14 programme had a difficult year as part of its restructuring process, but managed to put together a team which surprised everyone by eliminating Brentwood Bucks, Essex Redbacks and London Sports in the bronze medal game. One player in particular stood out and he was voted 2014 Herts Cardinals MVP. Mikey Sylvester maintained a 0.00 ERA throughout the U17 National Championships with an opponent’s batting average of just .061 and 23 strikeouts per 9 innings which is unheard of. His offensive numbers were just as good – batting average of .900, slugging average 1.600, 1 HR and 8 RBI.
In the Herts Under-12 programme the MVP was awarded to Aaron Witter. There was little doubt about the identity of the winner as Aaron Witter made a real impression not only with Herts fans but with coaches from other clubs and the Great Britain national Team programme. On Sunday, Aaron could not pick up his MVP trophy during the club’s annual general meeting as he was attending the GB under-17 National Team tryouts. This is his first ever tryout with GB and he will face very tough competition as he has just turned 12 years of age, but it will be exciting for Herts fans to follow his progress in the coming years.