Herts youth stars invited to MLB tournament

Two of the young stars of Herts baseball club and the Great Britain youth team — Conner Brown and Carlos Casal Jr — have been invited to a prestigious Major League Baseball tournament in Spain next month.

The pair have been selected to the European All Star roster for the MLB Spring Academies Tournament which takes place in Barcelona in March. Only three British players have been chosen — the third being Rory Chandler of the Leicester Blue Sox.

He will join Conner (in catching action, above) and Carlos (pictured below) as part of a team to compete against Academy teams from Holland, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain and France. They will also have the chance to receive quality instruction from top European coaches and play with other players from across Europe.

Announcing the invites, the Great Britain Juniors head coach Will Lintern said: “You have earned this opportunity because of the hard work and determination you have put into yourselves and the HPA programme over the last 6-8 months. You, your parents, clubs and your schools should be exceptionally proud of what you have achieved. Well done!”

That praise was echoed by Herts club President, Aspi Dimitrov. “It is exciting news”, he said, “and it gives everyone at the club great pleasure to see Carlos and Conner developing as players and as people.”

“We know they will  enjoy the experience in Barcelona”, he added, “and we hope that this will be one of many upcoming opportunities for them”.

Both players have been pulling on the Herts uniform for several years now. Carlos Jr took up the sport when he was 7 years old “after seeing Herts being advertised on ESPN– and I’ve been hooked ever since”, he said.  In 2012 he had his first opportunity to play for Great Britain when he was part of the team which went to Florida in the USSSA Gold Medal Games.

Carlos said: “I’m looking forward to this opportunity, and I feel privileged to have been invited to go.”

Conner has also been playing as catcher for the under-17 GB team, and made his debut with the Herts Falcons in the National Baseball League in 2013. He attended the MLB Academy in Toulouse, France, last Spring — only the second Herts player to get such an invite.

The MLB European Baseball Academy was created to provide training for European, New Zealand and African baseball prospects by former major leaguers.  It also provides a central scouting location during the weeks it is open and over two dozen Academy alumni have signed contracts with MLB teams.

Herts youth and adult players are currently in Spring Training, with pre-season games due to start in March. New players are still joining the club at all levels, and we hope that more young talent can follow in the footsteps of Conner and Carlos.