Paul Barton has been confirmed as the manager of the Herts Raptors and he also joins the club’s executive board. He co-managed the team in 2016 alongside Michael Cresswell, but this season Cresswell is looking to try out for one of the other Herts teams playing in the higher leagues. This means that Barton will take charge in the more conventional way of having only one person at the helm.
Paul Barton made his league debut for the Raptors in 2015 and his tremendous performances were recognised as he was voted Raptors’ Most Valuable Player. In 2016 he and Cresswell managed to turn the team’s fortunes around ending the regular season with a .667 winning percentage, which was even better than the Herts Eagles .500 in 2012 – an amazing achievement for the team in the Herts hierarchy which is made up of newcomers most of whom play baseball for the first time in their lives. In the playoffs the Raptors went on to eliminate the reigning Single-A national champions, Tonbridge Bobcats, at their own ground, and were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by the eventual winners, Herts Hawks.
The team had tremendous chemistry last season where players enjoyed being part of the Raptors’ journey and Barton will be looking to continue it in 2017. Will the Raptors be able to repeat or even improve on their 2016 performance? A lot will depend on the next few weeks as the rosters are put together. At this time of the year the club usually sees many new players join the club, some of whom may have never played baseball before, but go on to become key players for the Herts teams. Spring Training continues this Sunday, 19 February, with another open sessions which anyone over the age of 12 is welcome to attend. Contact the club for more details.
With the earlier announcement of Mike Wakelam also joining the Board, the number of members on the Herts Baseball Executive Board is now 11, which puts the club in a strong position ahead of the 2017 season.