The biggest pre-season baseball competition in Britain is back. Commencing on March 16, the Herts Spring League (HSL) will see 15 teams compete over the 3 weeks of the HSL. Organised by Herts Baseball Club, it is Britain’s version of MLB’s Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues currently under way in the US, and it signals that the season is just around the corner.
The 15 teams will be entered into three HSL tiers – NBL/Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A – based on the ranking of the teams going into the 2019 BBF League season.
The organisers considered the possibility of a tournament format, but ultimately adopted a league format in the same way as the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues in MLB. “The objective of the HSL is to enable the teams to prepare for the new season and we have noticed that teams are increasingly starting to approach the HSL in the same way as MLB teams approach the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues” said HSL Commissioner, Aspi Dimitrov. He added “we have taken this into account when formulating the schedule putting greater emphasis on the preferences and preparatory requirements of the teams over the format of the competition”.
The teams finishing at the top of their respective division will be the HSL champions. The “games-back” column in the standings will be critical, but undoubtedly some teams will end up with the same record and so it may go down to the number of runs conceded per game to break the tie.
The action will take place at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead, the home of Herts Baseball Club.
Over the three weekends 32 games are scheduled to be played on the two diamonds. The competition begins on March 16 with a clash between the Milton Keynes Bucks and the Herts Hawks in the HSL Double-A division. The HSL NBL division commences on the same day when the Herts Falcons will come up against the London Archers.
EXCITEMENT BUILDING UP
The Herts Spring League adds a competitive edge to Spring training. It’s the time for managers to work out their winning formula going into the BBF league season. It is an opportunity to evaluate existing and newly recruited players. Which players will earn a spot in the pitching rotation and who will be batting where in the batting order? Who will make the first team and who will have to work their way up with the minor league teams? Not forgetting, it’s a chance to size up your rivals for the year ahead. It’s the first big challenge and the first big excitement of the baseball year. Don’t miss it.
GET IN THE GAME
Adult and youth players, from beginners to advanced players, are now registering for the 2019 baseball season. For more details about how to join any of the Herts adult and youth baseball teams in Hemel Hempstead and in NW London or for more details about the HSL or if you are interested to give baseball a try in this competition contact Herts Baseball Club.