The games schedule for the 2018 Hunlock Series has been published. As in previous years, all games will adopt the “9th Inning” format where games are decided over a single inning only. This format recreates the tension and drama of the ninth inning.
If that wasn’t enough, it has been announced that this year each team manager will have three “Wild Cards”. The newly introduced rule stipulates that:
Each team will be allocated three Wild Cards which they can use over the course of the Series.
Wild Card A: All opponent batters start their at bats with one strike against them.
Wild Card B: Opponent bats with one Out recorded against them at the start of the inning.
Wild Card C: Team starts their offensive half of the inning with runner on second base. If they use this Wild Card, the runner on second base will be whoever was the last out from the previous game of that team.
Wild Cards must be announced to the umpire and opponent manager before the start of the defensive or offensive half of the inning, whichever is applicable to the Wild Card which they wish to use.
The Wild Card-rule which was proposed by Herts Falcons Manager, Cris Hiche, a few months ago, is expected to add a new dimension, but until we see it in action it will be difficult to predict what effect this experiment will have on the games. In which game, against which opponent, on which day and which Wild Card would be best to use? These are just some of the questions which will be going through the manager’s minds. The French team, Toulouse Astros, will also be allocated three Wild Cards for their games on 30 September.
A reminder of the Hunlock Series Rules which apply to the “9th Inning” format.
• The batting order of each team remains unchanged for the duration of the day unless a substitution is made.
• A substituted player cannot re-enter the same game, however that player can re-enter a subsequent game.
• The batter who was next to bat upon completion of the previous game will be the first batter in the next game with the rest of the batting lineup coming up to bat in order.
What is also noticeable from the schedule is that the home team alternates over the course of the 4-game series which implies that the fielding team in the bottom of the inning will remain on the field in the top of the inning of the subsequent game. This scheduling approach was adopted in previous years and it sped-up the games enormously as there was no need for teams to go in and out of the field. There even was no need for warm-up pitches as the pitchers were ready. The downside is that a pitcher will need to stay on the mound for 6 outs without a break as opposed to the usual 3 outs, which could mean twice as many pitches thrown in an inning. This is where the defence can really help pitchers, by minimising errors and not adding to the pitcher’s pitch count.
Over the course of the Series each team will play a total of 30 games, 27 games against each of their opponents ans 3 against the Toulouse Astros. The team finishing top of the league standings will be the 2018 Hunlock Series Champion.
The other rules which differ from what teams are used to in the BBF leagues are:
• Pitching Restrictions. A player can appear as a pitcher in one, two or more games per day, but no player shall accumulate more than 3 innings (9 outs) as a pitcher over the course of the day. It is the responsibility of the opposing team to inform the umpire when a pitcher reaches the limit. Managers must inform opponents of the number of innings pitched by each of their pitchers during the day prior to the start of each game.
• No Mercy Rule will be in force.
• If the game is tied after completion of the final inning, each team is awarded half a win and half a loss in the standings.
The 2018 Hunlock Series Draft took place on Monday night. See more details here.
If you have not signed up to play in the Hunlock Series, it is not too late. Whether you are an experienced player or completely new to baseball Contact Herts Baseball Club for details on how to sign up.