The biggest pre-season baseball competition in Britain is back. Commencing on April 1, the Herts Spring League (HSL) will see 17 teams compete over the two 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 17 teams will be entered into three HSL tiers – NBL, Double-A and Single-A.
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.
Over the two weekends 27 games are scheduled to be played on the three diamonds. The competition begins on April 1 with a morning clash between the Herts Hawks and the Single-A national champions, Bracknell Inferno. Both teams have been promoted to Single-A this year. At the same time on Diamond 2, there is a HSL Single-A match-up between the Herts Ravens and the Formosa Islanders.
The HSL NBL division teams play their frst games on Sunday, 2 April. This will be the first opportunity to see the Herts Falcons as they prepare to make their return to the NBL. There will be many new faces for Herts fans to meet for the first time as well as some fan favorites from previous NBL seasons. The preliminary Herts Falcons roster for the HSL will be announced later this month.
Some of the HSL NBL and Double-A games will be played at Basing Hill Ballpark, starting with the Herts Cardinals encounter with the Essex Redbacks who merged with the Essex Arrows earlier this year to create a much larger club with three diamonds in three different Essex towns which is expected to make them a major force in British baseball.
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 through the minor league system? 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, are now registering for the 2023 baseball season. For more details about how to join the Herts 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.