Herts Baseball Club will be represented in all four divisions of the 2023 BBF Youth National Baseball Championships this Saturday, 23 September.
The Herts Falcons U19 team goes into the Final as the underdogs against LYBL U19. However, Herts U19 manager, Will Zucker, is not fazed by the fact that the odds are stacked against his team. His roster features young players from all seven Herts adult league teams so it will be interesting to see if Herts players from the NBL, Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A leagues will be able to combine and work together as a team with very little time to prepare since the end of the adult league season last week.
The Final is a best-of-3 series with all three games being played on the same day. Pitching depth and physical stamina will be critical.
The club’s best finish in this age group was as runner-up in 2013 national championship when they beat the London Mets 6-4 in the semi-final and lost 6-9 in the final to the Cobham Cougars. Will Zucker was 16 years old and was the starting pitcher for the Herts Harriers in the final so this year he will have another shot at the U19 national title, this time as team manager.
Herts Falcons U16 will also face LYBL U16 in one of the semi-finals. The two teams met three times during the BBF Yotuh Super League regular season and LYBL won all three games, so they have the upper hand this Saturday. Herts U16 manager Nick Sanders will need his team to be at their very best if they are to eliminate the favourites. The winner will face the winner of the other semi-final between Essex Redbacks and LYBL’s second team.
The format in the U13 Division is the same as the U16s and Herts Falcons U13 will face LYBL U13 with an equally difficult task. Herts U13 manager, Stephen Wong, added 10 extra training sessions during the summer holidays and this Saturday is the ideal opportunity to see if his team will manage to close the gap on LYBL. In the other Semi-Final, LYBL’s second team clash with the London Mets. The winners of the two Semi-Finals will meet in the final.
The Herts U11 roster includes players from the club’s two branches in Hemel Hempstead and in London so manager Daniel Rose will have the difficult task of blendinU them together. They face Mets U11 in the second semi-final with the winner facing the winner of the other semi-final between LYBL U11 and Essex Redbacks U11.
12 years of hurt…
The last time a Herts youth baseball team won the national championships was in 2010 when the Herts U14 team beat the London Mets 2-1 in the final. The closest that a Herts youth team has come to lifting the national championship trophy since 2010 was in 2011 and 2013 when they finished as runners-up in the U14 and U17 divisions, respectively. Can they bring the silverware back home this weekend?