Author: AspiDimitrov

ESPN selects Herts first baseman Glen Downer for MLB European camp

This evening ESPN announced that Herts first baseman, Glen Downer, is one of 10 players selected form around Europe to attend MLB’s European Academy in Italy as part of ESPN’s competition.

Downer joined Herts in 2011 and made an immediate impact bringing a lot of power to the batting lineup and reliability at first base.

MLB’s European Academy is located in the city of Pisa. Downer will depart for Italy on 2 March 2012 and will be returning on 4 March to resume Spring Training with Herts. Among the others who were selected are players from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Hungary as well as two more British-based players. The winners were announced officially on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Big season ahead for little leaguers

In 2012 the Herts U17 and U14 teams will be wearing the same baseball jerseys as the senior Herts teams
by Rob Jones,

Herts baseball club has had a busy off-season, but one of the most important elements of the club gets going again this Sunday – the youth leagues. In the past couple of years, the Herts All-Stars have been showing the way for the adult members.

Players in the Under-17, Under-14 and Under-11 categories all get their first chance to pull on a baseball glove this Sunday. Spring training takes place at the indoor facility at Berkhamsted Sportspace.

Some of those taking part in the session will already be veterans of two runs deep into British baseball’s post-season. Brodie Caress and Jose Morillo were part of the team which won the 2010 Under-14 National Championship, and also finished runners-up in 2011. The Herts All-Stars have made a huge impact on the national scene, and many of the players saw their first ever baseball action on Grovehill’s diamonds in Hemel Hempstead.

Graduates of the Herts Little League also made a big splash in the adult leagues in 2011. At the top level, Liam Green made his debut for the Falcons in the National League. In two games on the pitcher’s mound, he did not give up a single earned run. He is an exciting and maturing prospect, who only took up the sport when Herts began its programme for kids in 2008. When he began, he admits he thought the sport was “rubbish”, but he soon changed his views!

For the Raptors, Zack Longboy claimed the Best Pitcher Award in his first adult season, which was a just reward for his calm and technically superb work on the mound. This year he will be helping his Dad manage the team. Jose Morillo was also a regular in the Raptors team and made great progress during the year, so much so that he won the coach’s award.

But the impact and importance of the youngest Herts players went beyond mere results and awards. It was about setting an example. When Zack Longboy caught a fly-ball deep in left field at Cambridge, his excellent technique was noted loudly by the home bench. One of their veterans stood up and shouted to his team-mates to watch and learn how you should catch a fly ball. His was not just any old voice — Cambridge went on the win the national Single-A title.

Opposing managers were frequently “gobsmacked”, in coach Ken Pike’s evocative words, to find out how young the Raptors’ young stars really were. They felt that once power was added to their formidable skills, these would be dangerous players. In training, the Little Leaguers could often teach their adult counterparts a thing or two, passing on tips and techniques.

Liam Green is just one of the young Herts players who has already had a call-up for the GB team. He went with the Cadets squad to Sweden in 2010. Late last year Morillo, Caress and Callum Vangundy were successful in trials for the Under-16 British squad, while Jake caress, Jonny Compton-Weight and Kyle Lloyd-Jones – who are all jumping up an age group – are in the mix for the Under-19 programme. The ever growing list of Herts youngsters playing baseball for their country shows how far young talent can progress.

And, of course, all of this is perhaps ignoring the true heart of the programme. Which is that on summer weekends, scores of boys and girls between 6 and 16 can come along to Grovehill and play baseball just for the love of it. There are cheering crowds of parents, superb donuts, and great baseball played at the Herts Little League. Anyone can try it. And everyone should. Any kids interested in playing should get in touch with the Herts baseball club, where they can expect a warm welcome – and maybe one day a call-up to the British team.

NBL’s best pitcher joins Herts

This evening Herts Baseball Club confirmed the acquisition of pitcher and infielder, Robbie Unsell, from the Richmond Flames. This is arguably the biggest player transaction so far this winter in the National Baseball League (NBL).

The 25-year-old American who is now based in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, confirmed his decision late last night. He said: “Herts’ home ballpark has been one of my favourite places to play at since joining the League three years ago. The Club has some of the best facilities in Great Britain and fantastic organisation, which makes it a very attractive club to play for.” He added: “I am also really impressed with the club’s marketing efforts and the promotion of baseball in the UK. That’s why the prospect of playing for Herts is exciting for me.”

Herts Falcons Manager, Lee Manning, is also excited to have Unsell in his team: “Robbie would be one of the first players in the starting lineup in any of the NBL teams, so for us this is a major boost. I am looking forward to working with him.’

Unsell makes the move to Hertfordshire as a free agent after spending the last three seasons with the Flames. During that period he has become one of the most valuable players in the NBL picking up a large collection of awards. He is considered one of the best short stops in the country and was given the NBL Short Stop Fielding Award in 2011. Last year he was also added to the Richmond pitching rotation and his performances on the mound were phenomenal. He had the lowest ERA (earned run average) of 0.90 and WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) 0.98. We have to go back to Troy Kantor of the 2008 London Mets (ERA 0.51) and Simon Pole in 2002 with the London Warriors (ERA 0.62) to see the kind of pitching stats which Robbie Unsell had last year. He deservedly received the 2011 NBL Most Valuable Pitcher Award*.

Unsell will also bring a lot to the Herts Falcons offensively. His speed around the bases has caused havoc for opponents over the years winning the Most Stolen Bases title in 2009 (21) and 2010 (23). Last year he led the league in On-Base Average (.589) and in Runs Scored (42) confirming him as one of the most dangerous lead-off men in the country. The arrival of Robbie Unsell in Hertfordshire will open up the opportunity to compare his speed with that of the 2011 MVP for the Herts Falcons, the lightning-fast Sri Lanka National team player, Mahendra Prasad.

Unsell’s time with the Flames proved to be one of the most successful periods in Richmond’s history. They won the NBL title in 2010, runner-up in 2009 and reached the postseason playoffs in 2011. Herts is one of the biggest sleeping giants in British baseball. Will Robbie Unsell’s arrival bring the same kind of success for Herts?

The Falcons have struggled in the last two years in the NBL, however Unsell sees this as an exciting challenge and an opportunity to turn the team around. ‘I honestly think that with a few additions, we can have a real positive impact on the Herts team this year’ he said.

Aspi Dimitrov, President of Herts Baseball Club, explained how significant Robbie Unsell’s arrival is for the club as a whole. He said: ‘Whether it is fans of MLB baseball clubs or Premier League football clubs, new players can bring a lot of excitement in the hope of success on the field of play. However, acquiring players like Robbie means a lot more to our club. It will add value in every department. It enables us to market our club and the game of baseball much better. Members and fans of the club can look forward to seeing the highest quality of baseball at Grovehill Ballpark. Adding such talented players will also inspire the players of the Herts youth teams to emulate them.’

Herts expect to make several other recruitment announcements shortly. Dimitrov added: ‘We are in advanced discussions with more players and we hope that Robbie will be the first of many more players to join Herts this year and for many years to come.’


The exciting news of adding one of the best players in the country to the Herts squad does not mean that the club will be changing its key objective of attracting new players to the game of baseball regardless of their baseball abilities. The club welcomes players from complete beginners to accomplished players. 6 to 16-year-olds play for the Herts youth teams while adults (over the age of 14) play for the club’s major and minor league teams. New players can join at any time of the year. For more details contact Herts Baseball Club.

*NBL statistical data courtesy of  Project COBB

Falcons to open 2012 NBL season at home versus Blazers

Riley Fisher at the 2009 National Championships versus Bracknell. Will the Falcons be able to get to the Finals in 2012?

The British Baseball Federation (BBF) has announced the 2012 schedule of the National Baseball League. The Herts Falcons will open the new season on 1 April 2012 at home against the Bracknell Blazers. The two teams met twice last season with Bracknell winning both games. The second game ended dramatically with a 11-10 win for the Blazers in extra innings. Will the Herts Falcons be able to start the season with a win this time around?

This season opener could prove to be a special occasion as Grovehill Ballpark will be hosting many AAA, AA and Single-A League teams on the same day as part of the 2012 Herts Spring League. There is nothing better in British baseball than a packed Grovehill Ballpark on Opening Day.

On the following weekend the Falcons travel to Waltham Abbey for a clash with local rivals, Essex Arrows. This is followed by a trip to Southampton.


The schedule confirms the rumours that the NBL will feature eight teams, compared to ten in 2011, due to the Mildenhall Bulldogs and the Richmond Flames withdrawing from the NBL. This leaves eight NBL teams to battle for the title. The schedule indicates that teams will play each of their seven opponents four times, two at home and two on the road. This implies a regular season of 28 games.

The regular season will feature a special NBL event on 22 July 2012 with all 8 teams battling it out at the same venue. The schedule also includes four game days with the involvement of the Great Britain Under-19 National Team. Herts Baseball News is awaiting confirmation from the BBF about whether these games versus the GB Team will count towards the league standings.


We are also awaiting news of the format for postseason qualification. The teams which reach the postseason will be involved in playoffs on 18-19 August and the winners will progress to the National Baseball Championships which this year will be decided over three days rather than two on the August Bank Holiday weekend, 25-27 August.


Herts Baseball Club welcomes youth players from 6 to 16 and adult players from 14 to 50+ from complete beginners to experienced ballpalyers. New players can join at any time of the year. For more details click here for adults or here for youth players.

2011 Awards for Herts Adult Teams Announced

Mahendra Prasad, Nick Russell and Ken Pike picked up the prestigious Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, and the performances of many other Herts players were recognised at the Herts Baseball Club’s 2011 Annual Awards. 

The end of the 2011 season seems a long time ago now, but finally the outstanding performers of last year were announced today. 

Darrin Ward featured heavily in many of the award categories for the Herts Falcons including Best Pitcher, Home Run Champion (2 HR), Batting Champion (Avg .298) and Most RBIs (15), but it was Mahendra Prasad who collected the coveted MVP trophy. At the start of the season he faced the impossible task of having to fill the centerfield position vacated by the phenomenal Dan Kerry, on paternity leave after the birth of his daughter. Prasad proved to be one of the outstanding outfielders of the National Baseball League, and probably the fastest player around, despite suffering a hamstring injury in the second half of the year.  Prasad also picked up the Outfield Gold Glove award. 

The Herts Falcons’ Infield Gold Glove went to Louis Hare while Jon Lewys picked up Most Stolen Bases (8). Liam Green made his NBL debut in 2011 and his performances including his remarkable 0.00 ERA in his two games on the mound at such young age, attracted the praise of many in British baseball.  Everyone at Herts hopes that Green will be the first of many talented players coming out of the Herts Youth academy and making their mark at the highest level of British baseball. 

Andrew Slater (centre) presents the Hawks MVP award to Nick Russell (right)

The awards event was the first opportunity for club members to see Nick and Sarah Russell after the birth of their son Luc earlier this month, who also made an appearance. Their car was significantly heavier on their return trip up the M1 as Russell scooped the Herts Hawks MVP award and the Best Pitcher Award (3 W).  It was also confirmed that Russell was voted as the MVP of the 2011 Hunlock Series. 

Jim Arnott couldn’t attend due to bereavement in his family. He was awarded the Herts Hawks Batting Champion title. The Gold Gloves went to two of the club’s most reliable players Ralph Bartholomew (Infield Gold Glove) and Matt Johnston (Outfield Gold Glove). Hawks Co-Manager, Andy Cornish, was the Home Run Champion with two dingers in 2011.  Hunter Devine drove in the most RBIs (14) for the Hawks, while Ilya Dimitrov received the Most Stolen Bases title with what must be a record 37 steals. 

In a very closely-run Herts Raptors MVP vote Manager, Ken Pike, was confirmed as the Raptors MVP and he also collected the Most Stolen Bases title.  The club does not currently have an award recognising the work of managers, but if there was one, Pike and co-Manager, John Kjorstad, would be very deserving candidates for such an award after they managed to turn the Raptors’ season around in a big way with three wins in the last four games of the league season. Kjorstad himself was the recipient of the Outfield Gold Glove and the Home Run Champion awards, while the team’s South African ace, Theo Scheepers, picked up the Infield Gold Glove and Most RBIs. 

In 2011 the Raptors received a much needed boost from two members of the Herts Baseball Academy who made their debuts in the British senior leagues.  Jose Morillo and Zack Longboy were awarded the Coach’s Award and Best Pitcher Trophy, respectively. 

Glen Downer may have joined Herts at the halfway point of the season but he certainly made his mark with the glove and with his bat in particular, bringing a lot of offensive power to the lineup. He was awarded the Herts Raptors Batting title as well as the Hunlock Series Blooper Award which was a baseball card signed by the infamous Bill Buckner of the Boston Red Sox.  This award was generously donated by Tim Elkins. Downer’s blooper could not be compared to Buckner’s costly error in game 6 of the 1986 World Series, but it certainly had comedy value as it takes something special to make an attempt to steal second base with the bases loaded. 

In the club-wide honours Troy Linton’s amazing diving catch as short stop for the Falcons against the Lakenheath Diamondbacks was chosen as the Play of the Year, and deservedly so. After that play fans and both sets of players were on their feet applauding it acknowledging the special play which they witnessed.  Rod Naghar received the honour of being the club’s Most Improved Player of 2011 and the Excellence in Leadership award went to the Dimitrov family.  Paul Curtis had numerous nominations  in the ‘Nob-Out’ category so he was odds-on to win, and he did with his ‘Bragging Matserclass’ after the Herts Hawks at Guildford Mavericks AA game.

Click here for details of the Herts Baseball Bowling Contest which was held before the awards presentation.

MVP Mahendra Prasad
Batting Champion Darrin Ward (.298)
Infield Gold Glove Louis Hare
Outfield Gold Glove Mahendra Prasad
Best Pitcher Darrin Ward
Most Stolen Bases Jonathon Lewys (8 SB)
Home Run Champion Darrin Ward (2 HR)
Most RBIs Darrin Ward (15 RBI)
Coach’s Award Liam Green
MVP Nick Russell
Batting Champion Jim Arnott
Infield Gold Glove Ralph Bartholomew
Outfield Gold Glove Matt Johnston
Best Pitcher Nick Russell (W3)
Most Stolen Bases Ilya Dimitrov (37)
Home Run Champion Andy Cornish (2)
Most RBIs Hunter Devine (14)
Coach’s Award Kal Dimitrov
MVP Ken Pike
Batting Champion Glen Downer
Infield Gold Glove Theo Scheepers
Outfield Gold Glove John Kjorstad
Best Pitcher Zack Longboy
Most Stolen Bases Ken Pike
Home Run Champion John Kjorstad
Most RBIs Theo Scheepers
Coach’s Award Jose Morillo
Rookie of the Year Oz Kemal
Most Improved Player Rodney Naghar
Excellence in Leadership The Dimitrov Family
Play of the Year Troy Linton
Nob-Out Award Paul Curtis – Bragging Masterclass
Hunclok Series MVP Nick Russell
Series Blooper Award Glen Downer (stealing 2B w/bases loaded)

The Big Raybouldski

Herts Baseball legend, Paul Raybould, was crowned as Herts Baseball’s bowling supremo at the 2011 awards event for the three Herts adult league teams. It was also Raybould’s team, the Brewers, that won the team contest. 

These days Paul Raybould plays for the Old Timers team in the British Single-A League so it was a great pleasure for members of Herts Baseball Club to see him back with the Herts teams.  

It was highly suspicious when Raybould arrived at the Hollywood Bowl in Watford wheeling a large suitcase containing his bowling ball, bowling shoes and other performance-enhancing gizmos.  Numerous contestants submitted official complaints requesting Paul Raybould’s expulsion from the competition, but the Bowling Commissioner confirmed that his equipment met international regulations. 

Paul Raybould wearing the Herts Falcons jersey at the 2004 Division 1 National Finals

It took a few frames for him to warm up, which he attributed to the lanes being ‘very dry’ but by the fifth frame Raybould showed why he is the most feared opponent on the bowling circuit and why his bowling average is higher than his baseball batting average.  He had strikes in the next five frames to complete his first game with a score of 177.  This was a new record beating the previous record of 152 set by Tim Elkins at last year’s tournament. 

The chasing pack were given a glimmer of hope as Raybould took his foot of the pedal with a score of 111 in the second game.  Greg Bochan, Dave Smith, Paul Auchterlounie and Bobby Gould gave it a real go in a desperate attempt to catch up, but it wasn’t enough.  Gould ended the day as the runner-up with an average score of 130 over the two games and Bochan was close behind him in third place with 129. 

The Brewers won the team competition with an average of 106.6 followed by the Astros, a team featuring many of the Herts Under-17 All Stars who finished the day with 100.4 overall average. The Rockies were third (96.5) while the Expos finished in last place (91.5).  

The most improved second round score was that of Andrew Slater. He scored 134 which was a massive 50 points higher than his first round score of 84.

Liam Green 102 112 107
Kyle Lloyd-Jones 90 94 92
Arnold Longboy 98 97 98
Zack Longboy 125 116 121
Kieran Manning 88 95 92
Cameron Manning 79 92 86
Jose Morillo 114 107 111
Lewis Green 87 100 94
Lawrence 98 113 106
TEAM AVERAGE 97.9 102.9 100.4
Ben Marques 68 108 88
Jeff Witter 106 116 111
Lisa Witter 49 37 43
Hayley Witter 88 80 84
Aaron Witter 86 86 86
Glen Downer 110 117 114
Oz Kemal 95 106 101
Ken Pike 103 109 106
TEAM AVERAGE 88.1 94.9 91.5
Bobby Gould 116 143 130
Gina 69 61 65
Alex Deacon 70 86 78
Cristobal Hiche 87 83 85
Andrew Slater 84 134 109
Jen Slater 52 61 57
Chris Deacon 122 119 121
Greg Bochan 152 105 129
TEAM AVERAGE 94.0 99.0 96.5
Dave Smith 127 110 119
Matt Johnston 90 131 111
Paul Raybould 177 111 144
Paul Auchterlounie 136 104 120
Lewis Auchterlounie 73 77 75
Janice Grzywacz  98 98 98
Tracey Manning 82 82 82
Ali Hall 87 112 100
Ilya Dimitrov 116 107 112
TEAM AVERAGE 109.6 103.6 106.6

Herts teams commence 2012 Spring Training

It may be cold outside but, as far as the members of Herts Baseball Club are concerned, the long dark days of winter are over.  On Sunday the Herts adult teams and Under-17 team members reported for the first Spring Training session of 2012.  Throughout January and the first half of February the Herts teams will be preparing indoors at Berkhamsted SportSpace. 

As usual in these first few weeks of Spring, the coaches put the players through their paces to rebuild physical strength and stamina and work through baseball fundamentals of the defensive and offensive aspects of the game.  Gradually the sessions will start to focus on specific positions to fine-tune the club’s pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders. 

Herts will be looking for a big improvement in the performance of all its adult and youth teams in 2012.  After the end of the 2011 season the Herts Executive Board made it a top priority to attract new players who can strengthen the club’s rosters. The club will be announcing its new players officially in due course, but all the signs are that the winter player recruitment period has been a very successful one for Herts. 

Of course the process of recruiting adult and youth team players continues and new players can join at any time throughout the year.  With its teams competing in the various major and minor leagues of British baseball, Herts is able to offer baseball playing opportunities to players of any standard from complete beginners to advanced and experienced ballplayers. For more details about joining the Herts teams, contact the club. 

Spring Training continues this Sunday and here is the list of upcoming events for the adult and U17 teams in Spring 2012.  

Note: Spring training for the Herts youth teams (6 to 16-year-olds) will commence on 12 February 2012 and new members can sign up for those sessions by contacting the club.

Sun 08-Jan-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Spring Training (Indoor)
Sun 15-Jan-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Spring Training (Indoor)
Wed 25-Jan-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Spring Training (Indoor)
Sat 28-Jan-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A 2011 Awards and Bowling Tournament
Sun 05-Feb-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Spring Training (Indoor)
Sun 12-Feb-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Spring Training (Indoor)
Sun 19-Feb-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Spring Training
Sun 26-Feb-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Spring Training
Sun 04-Mar-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A Herts Try Outs (Adults)
Sun 11-Mar-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Spring Training
Sat 17-Mar-12 NBL Herts Spring League
Sun 18-Mar-12 NBL Herts Spring League
Sat 24-Mar-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Herts Spring League
Sun 25-Mar-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Herts Spring League
Sat 31-Mar-12 AAA / AA / A / U17 Herts Spring League
Sun 01-Apr-12 AAA / AA / A / U17 Herts Spring League
Sun 01-Apr-12 NBL BBF League Opening Day (NBL)
Sat 07-Apr-12 AAA / AA / A / U17 Herts Spring League
Sun 08-Apr-12 AAA / AA / A / U17 Herts Spring League
Sun 08-Apr-12 NBL BBF League Game Day
Wed 11-Apr-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A / U17 Wednesday Night Training
Sun 15-Apr-12 NBL / AAA / AA / A BBF League Game Day

2012 HSL dates announced

Herts Baseball Club has announced the dates of the 2012 Herts Spring League.  The Opening Games will be played on Saturday, 17 March 2012 and the league has been extended to four weeks this year due to the European Championships. 

This is the fifth year of the Herts Spring League (HSL).  Every year this competition keeps setting new records. Last year 20 teams entered the HSL – a new record.  The geographic spread of participating teams seems to be expanding as well, with teams as far away as Leicester and Southampton being involved. This year’s competition is set to be even bigger and teams have been keeping the Herts front office busy with enquiries over the last few months. 

Spring is the time when managers put together their teams and aim to turn them into winning machines ahead of Opening Day.  Similar to the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues in MLB, the HSL provides a competitive edge to spring training.

League Format

Teams will be placed in two or more divisions (e.g. HSL Majors and HSL Minors) based on the teams’ ranking going into the new season.  The exact format will depend on the number of teams entering the HSL and the availability of venues, therefore full details will be published when the league line-up is confirmed. 

Over the years the HSL has featured teams from the National Baseball League (NBL), AAA, AA and A-Leagues, as well as international teams such as the GB Under-19 National Team and the ASL Eagles, who won the very first edition of the HSL Majors in 2008. 

The number of team entries has been going up every year. 2008 – 10 teams, 2009 – 13 teams, 2010 – 17 teams, 2011 – 20 teams.  Can the HSL set another new record in 2012? 

There has also been interest from Under-17 (Pony) League teams who want to enter so this year the HSL expects to have U17 teams involved as well.  The high standard of most of the BBF U17 League teams will certainly enable them to compete comfortably at the level of adult teams form the AAA and AA League teams.


The BBF announced that the NBL season will commence on 1 April 2012 which is much earlier than previous seasons due to the GB Team’s involvement in the European Championships.  The HSL schedule will be adjusted to ensure that NBL teams can complete their HSL games by Sunday, 25 March 2012.

HSL Majors

The HSL Majors involving the NBL teams will be played over two weekends (not three).   

HSL Majors (Week 1 of 2)

  • Sat, 17-Mar-12
  • Sun, 18-Mar-12  

HSL Majors (Week 2 of 2)

  • Sat, 24-Mar-12
  • Sun, 25-Mar-12  

HSL Minors

The other HSL Division(s) involving AAA, AA, A-League and Under-17 League teams will be played over three weekends, as in previous years: 

HSL Minors (Week 1 of 3)

  • Sat, 24-Mar-12
  • Sun, 25-Mar-12  

HSL Minors (Week 2 of 3)

  • Sat, 31-Mar-12
  • Sun, 01-Apr-12  

HSL Minors (Week 3 of 3)

  • Sat, 07-Apr-12
  • Sun, 08-Apr-12  

Most games will be played at Grovehill Ballparkin Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, but there will also be games at other venues around London to fit the ever increasing number of HSL games. 

You can follow all the latest HSL news on the official Herts Baseball website.


Herts Baseball Club welcomes youth players from 6 to 16 and adult players from 14 to 50+ from complete beginners to experienced ballpalyers. New players can join at any time of the year. For more details click here for adults or here for youth players.

Herts youngsters get GB Team call-ups

The Great Britain National Team has confirmed that members of Herts have been selected in the preliminary roster of the GB Under-16 National Team. 

Brodie Caress, Callum Vangundy and Jose Morillo attended the U16 GB Team tryouts last month and all three have been successful in being included in the squad.  They played a key role in the Herts U14 All Stars’ success in finishing as runner-up in the National Championships this season. Caress and Morillo were also members of the Championship-winning Herts U14 team of 2010. For 13-year-old Vangundy, 2011 was his first ever season playing baseball so being selected in the preliminary GB team roster so early in his career is an exceptional achievement. 

There will be additional evaluations in the Spring and the size of the GB U16 roster will be reduced further ahead of the GB Team’s various international games in 2012.   

Herts players, Jake Caress, Jonny Compton-Weight and Kyle Lloyd-Jones attended the GB Under-19 Team tryouts. Compton-Weight and Lloyd-Jones were part of the GB U16 team in 2011 playing in the qualifier in Prague. For all three of them this was a first year jumping up into this older age group and so they had the difficult task of competing against players who are two or even three years older than them.  They didn’t make the preliminary GB U19 team rosters, but the experience will hold them in good stead for the future.  They have several more years in this GB Team age group so, with hard work this season and next, they can make a very strong claim for a place in the GB squad in coming years. 

The progress of Herts players with the GB teams is a tremendous boost for Herts as an organisation.  The Club is even more excited by the fact that there are many more talented players coming through the various age groups of the Herts youth system, from the U-11 and U-14 teams through to the U-17 age group. They will all be reporting back to the ballpark early in 2012 for another exciting season of Herts Baseball. The club usually experiences a wave of new players joining the youth teams in time for Spring Training.  Any interested players, boys and girls between 6 and 16 years of age, from complete beginners to advanced players can join the Herts baseball youth teams (click here for more details).