The Herts Falcons have announced their first big signing of 2017. It is the return of Cris Hiche who is joining Herts from Austrian top league team, Dornbirn Indians. Hiche was missed in a big way by the Falcons when he signed a professional contract in Austria, so this news comes as a major boost for the club.
Cris Hiche originally joined the Falcons ahead of the 2012 season and it is not a coincidence that his four seasons with Herts proved to be among the best in the club’s history and included reaching the NBL playoffs in three out of these four seasons. That included finishing as NBL runner-up in 2012 and reaching the NBL Playoff semi-finals in 2013 and 2015.
His outstanding performances were recognised with the award of the NBL Outfield Gold Glove in 2012 and 2013 when he did not commit a single error. In 2013 he was also the team’s home run leader.
The Chilean was also instrumental off the field for Herts. He joined the club’s executive board as the head of the Under-17 and Under-19 programmes. In 2013 he led the Herts Under-17 team to the National Final finishing as runners-up which is the club’s best position in that age group.
Last season with the Dornbirn Indians Hiche had the third best batting average in the team (.314) with a slugging average of .412 and on-base average of .455. He committed only 2 errors ending with a fielding average of .979.
Prior to joining Herts in 2012, Hiche developed in the USA where he played at the high school, college and semi-professional league level as well as at international level representing Chile at Under-12, Under-16 and now at senior level with the National Team. In 2002 he joined the International Baseball Academy in Brazil where he played alongside the legendary Cuban player, Lazaro Vargas, who won the Olympic gold medal with the Cuba National Team twice, in 1992 and 1996. Hiche then went on to play for Glendale Community College in Arizona, followed by two seasons (2005-2007) with the Athletics in Liga Valle del Sol. Between 2008 and 2010 he played for the Sahuaripas in the Mesa Semi-Pro League alongside former or injured Minor League players trying to work their way back into the pros, as well as former MLB players such as pitcher Omar Daal, who played for the LA Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and ended his career with the Baltimore Orioles in 2003.