A clutch of young Herts baseball stars have been named to the rosters for Great Britain’s development programme.
The national team development programme (NTDP) is divided into three sections — under-15; under-18; and seniors. It’s intended to give a wide pool of players the chance of elite preparation and training, and these rosters will be used for selecting the teams for international competitions.
At U-15, Herts is represented by Jamie Warren, a new arrival at the club. He and his family have already made an impression with both the U-17 programme and the Herts Hawks in the BBF adult leagues.
Coaches see potential in Jamie for a high quality player — a feeling that GB obviously shares — and he has already been part of the national high performance academy.
Great Britain will send an U-15 team to the Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) European Championship Qualifier in Switzerland in July.
Several young stars from the revamped Herts Falcons have been chosen for the U-18 roster. Having risen through the club’s ranks they have also been familiar faces to GB for several years.
Conner Brown and Brodie Caress have been turning out for the Falcons already this season as catcher and pitcher and have performed superbly. Carlos Casal and Zack Longboy — who have long, successful connections to Herts — have also been selected for the NTDP.
The U18 programme will send a GB national team to the CEB European Championship in Spain in July. This year’s championship will also serve as qualifier for the 2017 World Cup.
Last but not least, Will Zucker has been named to the GB Lions. This team is intended to bridge the gap between the Under-18 and the senior national team.
Will’s pitching helped take the Herts Raptors to national playoffs just a few years ago and, despite heading off to university, his links to Herts remain strong. The Lions will take part in an All-Star game against NBL talent later in May.
Most of the players on these rosters are British-based, and a wide range of clubs across the country are represented. Over time, GB Baseball says it hopes to include players from even more clubs.
The NTDP will see the players benefit from a strength and conditioning coach, as well as a sports science expert and — of course – top baseball coaches.
There have been tryouts in March, and more will take place later in the year. On top of that, coaches will be scouting British baseball games for the best talent available.