Herts Cardinals in the U15 Little League Qualifiers (photo by Vicky Sinclair)
In the Little League under-19 qualifiers, the Herts Harriers lost their games against LYBL and London Mets, while in the under-15 division the Herts Cardinals finished fourth behind London Sports, LYBL and the winners, London Mets, who overcame LYBL in the final to progress through to the European qualifiers with a place in the Little League World Series to play for.
Herts entered a team in the under-15 age group of the UK Little League Qualifiers for the first time in its history. The Herts Cardinals came up against teams with more experience so it was always going to be an uphill challenge. In the semi-final they were beaten convincingly 16-0 by LYBL. This meant that they had to compete for the bronze medal in a best-of-3 series against LondonSports. In game one of the series they took a 13-3 lead after an impressive pitching outing by starting pitcher, 12-year-old, Aaron Witter. With two innings left to play he reached his pitch count limit and had to step down from the mound. That gave LondonSports the belief that they can come back into the game and they did, clinching a dramatic 14-13 walk-off win. LondonSports had greater pitching depth and that proved decisive as they went on to win the series with a 19-7 victory in the second game.
Most of the Herts players are two or even three years younger than their opponents so they can take comfort from the fact that they can work hard and come back bigger and stronger over the next few years while their opponents will move up to the older age groups.
The youth league season continues as the teams build-up to the biggest prize of the baseball season, the National Baseball Championships which will be played in September. There is still plenty of time for any new players to join the teams and be eligible for that eagerly anticipated event.
Next weekend, 20-21 June, it is the turn of the Herts under-12 team to play in the Little League qualifiers. They have been placed in Pool B with the Essex Redbacks, London Sports and Horsham. Here is the games schedule:
Saturday, 20 June
10:30 am LYBL vs London Mets (Round Robin Game 1 of 3)
01:30 pm LYBL vs Brentwood (Round Robin Game 2 of 3)
04:30 pm London Mets vs Brentwood (Round Robin Game 3 of 3)
Teams with the best two records will advance to the semi finals on Sunday. If teams have the same record then the tie breaker rule will be followed (see below).
Saturday (Youth Baseball 1 & 3)
09:30 am Herts vs Essex Redbacks (Youth Baseball 1) PBGM1
10:00 am London Sports vs Horsham (Youth Baseball 3) PBGM2
01:00 pm Loser PBGM1 vs Loser PBGM2
04:00 pm Winner PBGM1 vs PBGM2
The team who finishes 2-0 will advance to the semi finals on Sunday. The team who finishes 0-2 will advance to the consolation series on the Sunday. For the teams who finish 1-1 the tiebreaker rule shall determine which team advances to the semi final and which team will play in the consolation series
Semi – finals and final
10:00 am Top seed from Pool A vs 2nd seed from Pool B (Youth Baseball 1) SF1
10:00 am Top seed from Pool B vs 2nd seed from Pool A (Youth baseball 2) SF2
12:30 pm Loser SF1 vs Loser SF2 U12 / Minors 3rd Place Game
03:00 pm Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2 (Youth Baseball 2) U12 / Minors Championship Game
10:30 am 3rd Place Pool A vs 3rd Place Pool B
01:00 pm 3rd Place Pool A vs 4th Place Pool B
03:30 pm 4th Place Pool B vs 3rd Place Pool B