The Herts Falcons are on the eve of their first ever appearance in continental club competitions. They booked their European Federations Cup place after finishing runners-up in the National Baseball League (NBL) last year.
The Falcons were one of six teams from around Europe drawn in Pool 2. Games will be played in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, which is a city 60 miles from Sofia, the cultural centre of its region. There are two universities, so plenty of cafes and restaurants, and it hosts several music festivals. The Blagoevgrad Buffaloes baseball team have won a string of national titles.
Herts Falcons at Stansted Airport on Saturday about to board their plane to Bulgaria
Herts Falcons will play five pool games commencing Monday, June 10, at 1:30pm local time (11:30am London time) against Polish side UKS Deby Osielsko, who are currently second in the Polish Ekstraliga with 11 wins and 5 losses.
They have four further games to play, one game per day which will give the players a taste of the gruelling lifestyle of MLB players who play 162 regular season games every season.
|DATE||GAME||LOCAL TIME (UK time shown in brackets)|
|Mon, 10 June 2019||Herts Falcons (GBR) vs UKS Deby Osielsko (POL)||1:30pm (11:30am)|
|Tue, 11 June 2019||Herts Falcons (GBR) vs Athletic Sofia (BUL)||5:00pm (3:00pm)|
|Wed, 12 June 2019||Herts Falcons (GBR) vs CS Atletico Alexandria (ROM)||1:30pm (11:30am)|
|Thu, 13 June 2019||Herts Falcons (GBR) vs Solvesborg Firehawks (SWE)||1:30pm (11:30am)|
|Fri, 14 June 2019||Utenos Titanai (LTU) vs Herts Falcons (GBR)||1:30pm (11:30am)|
Falcons practice session at the excellent ballpark in Blagoevgrad
Four of their five group games will be as the home team, but at some point the Falcons will unveil their new red away jersey (pictured right).
The top two teams after the pool games will play in the final on Saturday, 15 June, 12:00pm UK time, to determine the winner. If British baseball clubs make progress in these Qualifiers, they can look forward to competing in the Champions Cup and the CEB Cup alongside the highest ranked European clubs.
There is a heavy financial burden on the players due to the high costs of traveling to Europe and the team has had fantastic support from sponsors Regin Products and other partners and supporters.
As part of the club’s fundraising efforts, the net proceeds from every monthly draw of the Herts Baseball Lottery between June and December 2019 will be used to help fund the Herts Falcons’ European campaign. You don’t have to be a club member to play. Anyone over the age of 16 can buy a ticket and play for a chance to win the Jackpot.
Fans can follow Live Play-by-Play updates from every game on the CEB website. We are also expecting confirmation whether some of the games will be streamed live on the internet. For full coverage of the Falcons’ European exploits, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.