Mike Osborn was the starting pitcher for the Falcons against the London Metros
The first weekend of Herts Spring League games gave a glimpse of what we can expect from the 2015 British baseball season which commences on 12 April. However, after a hectic winter of players being transferred from one team to another and new players signing up, it is going to be difficult to make an accurate prediction of where teams will end up in the standings of the various league tiers.
The Herts Falcons faced the 2014 Triple-A Runners-up, the London Metros, in their opening HSL game. This was a first opportunity to see new signings Maikel Azcuy, Robbie Almanzar and Moises Vasquez play for Herts, who also fielded several players whose identities they chose not to disclose. The game also saw the return from injury of centerfielder Cris Hiche and pitcher Louis Hare. The Falcons took an early lead and held on to it despite a brave fight back by the Metros to bring the score to 14-11. It was Maikel Azcuy who took the game beyond the Londoners with a 3-run home run in the eighth inning.
In another highly anticipated game, the 2014 NBL Champions, Essex Arrows, faced the Triple-A Champions, Cambridge Royals. In a closely fought game the Arrows won 4-1, but it is becoming evident that the gap between the top tier and the Triple-A is narrowing. The hope is that the BBF will promote more Triple-A teams as part of an overdue expansion of the NBL. In this game Jorge Machado made his debut for the NBL Champions after his move from the Southern Nationals in the offseason.
In their other game the Royals faced the London Mammoths who will be the newest member of the Triple-A League after being awarded promotion by the BBF. The Mammoths will be very pleased with their performance. They held a 3-0 lead after 3 innings. The Royals fought back to win the game 5-4. Later in the day the Mammoths won 6-2 against Brighton who will also be making their Triple-A debut this year. The team from the South coast fielded a mix of their Triple-A and Single-players but they still managed to defeat the MK Bucks who are always difficult to beat. It didn’t get any easier for the Bucks as they suffered another defeat later in the day against the Essex Arrows.
The Haverhill Blackjacks slugged their way to a victory over the Cambridge Monarchs
In the Double-A division of the HSL the Herts Hawks lead the standings after wins against Tonbridge and London Marauders. Haverhill Blackjacks are half a game behind after their win against the Cambridge Monarchs. In the Single-A division, Guildford are ahead following their exciting 15-13 win over the London Musketeers. Herts Raptors beat Kent Mariners and lost to Tonbridge to put themselves in the group of four teams which are half a game behind the Mavericks.
The HSL games resume next weekend. The game of the day is expected to be the all-NBL clash between the Essex Arrows and the Herts Falcons at Grovehill Ballpark.