Author: Herts Baseball News Editor

The kids put on a show in dramatic season finale

The kids put on a show in dramatic season finale

The Herts Londoners clinched the Under-11 division of the Herts Youth Baseball League after a dramatic race with the Herts Raptors and the Herts Falcons which went right down to the wire.

At the start of the day the Londoners and Eagles were in third and fourth place, two games back on the Falcons and Raptors. 

The Eagles struck first with a 3-2 win over the Hawks helped by Sterling de Vita’s first home run of the season. On the other diamond the Londoners also won in their clash with the Falcons. This win proved to be crucial later in the day.

The Hawks may have been eliminated from the race but they were determined to leave their mark and they did so by causing a major upset beating the league leading Raptors and then the Falcons to derail their title push.

The gap at the top was beginning to close. The Londoners and Eagles were now just one game back but they were to face each other next, knowing that the losing team would no longer have a chance to win the title. The Londoners came out on top, 6-2. The Eagles were now out of the race.

It came down to the final games of the day. The Falcons, Raptors and Londoners were tied in first place. The Londoners faced the Raptors. The Falcons were up against the Eagles.  Both games started at the same time on adjacent diamonds which enabled the fans to witness the drama on both diamonds as it unfolded.

During most of the season the Falcons relied on the home run power of Connor O’Neill-Thompson.  He continued his bombardment adding to his tally to finish the season as the league’s leading home run hitter with five home runs. Rory Graham, who comes from the same school as O’Neill-Thompson, joined the Falcons partway through the season but he proved to be another power hitter for the team.  It was his home run that clinched the 2-1 walk off win for the Falcons. On the other diamond, the Raptors and the Londoners were tied 3-3 and the game had to go into extra innings.  On the hottest day of the year so far, to avoid heat exhaustion, the league had decided in advance that tied games would be determined in a hitting contest where the teams would nominate one of their players and the team whose representative hits the ball furthest would be awarded the win.  A high flying shot by Cosmo English won it for the Londoners.

HYBL U11 Division – Final Standings

PosTeamWLPctGB
1950.6430
21060.6250
3970.5631
4680.4293
54120.2506

This meant that the Falcons and Londoners were still tied in first place.  The league rules state that “the head-to-head results between the tied teams should be used to establish placings”.  The players and fans had to go through an anxious wait while the league commissioner and team officials were going through the season’s scores between the two teams. The confirmation came over the public announce system that the Londoners are the 2021 Under-11 Herts Youth Baseball league Champions having won two of their three games against the Falcons over the course of the season.

In the Under-15 Division, the championship was decided in the final game between the Hawks and the Londoners who found themselves tied in first place.  The age superiority of the Londoners was a big factor on the day as they won the game to become the U15 champions.

HYBL U15 Division – Final Standings

PosTeamWLPctGB
1720.7780
2630.6671
3450.4443
4130.2503.5
5270.2225

An outstanding act of sportsmanship by one of the youngest players in the league was recognised during the trophy presentation. 5-year-old Mason Barnaby from the Herts Raptors U11 asked for time during one of the games in order to run to the team bench area to encourage his teammate Owen Ridgway to rejoin the game after he had picked up a knock earlier in the day.

A considerable number of players missed out on these dramatic last few weeks of the season as they were required by their schools to self-isolate in compliance with Covid guidance, but the baseball season is not over.  The national championships are coming up in September and it will be interesting to see how the new generation of Herts youth players will do on the national stage against teams from around the United Kingdom.

Players are still able to register in order to represent Herts in the national championships. For more details contact us.

Herts Falcons appoint Clark as interim manager

Herts Falcons appoint Clark as interim manager

Herts Baseball Club has confirmed that interim manager, Carlos Casal, has stepped down from his position and the club has appointed Phil Clark as the new interim manager while manager Cris Hiche is out of the country for family reasons.

Clark is one of the longest serving members of the Herts Falcons.  He joined the team in 2012 when they recorded their best season in the NBL reaching the national final where they lost to the Harlow Nationals in game 6.

The Falcons have had a difficult season so far but in the last few weeks there have been signs that the team is regaining its competitiveness coming close to picking up their first win in extra innings against the Lancashire Legends.

Their next game is this Sunday, 4 July, against the London Legends at Roundhsaw Playing Fields in Croydon. First pitch is at 11:30am.

vs

Details

Date Time League Season
4 July 2021 11:30 am National Baseball League 2021

Field

Roundshaw Playing Fields
Roundshaw Park Playing Fields, London Borough of Sutton, London, Greater London, England, CR0 4RW, United Kingdom

Results

Team12345678910RHEOutcome
London Legendsxxxxxxxxxx15xxWin
Falconsxxxxxxxxxx3xxLoss
Herts Hawks appoint Purewal as new manager

Herts Hawks appoint Purewal as new manager

Earlier this month Herts Hawks player-manager, Tetsuro Shinkawa (pictured below), was informed that he will have to undergo a non-baseball medical procedure and he is expected to require a period of recovery after it which will keep him away from baseball.

Everyone at the club hopes that the procedure will go well and that Tets will be back to full fitness quickly after that.

The club has just announced that Kyle Purewal (pictured at the top) has been appointed as the new player-manager of the Herts Hawks.  The 28-year-old joined the club at the start of this season having previously played in Canada and in the UK with Bracknell. Since joining the club in the Spring, Purewal has also been actively involved off the field taking on a role in the club’s media department.

His first game as Hawks manager is this Sunday, 27 June, when the Hawks will host the Essex Archers at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead. First pitch is at 12pm.

Herts submits its bid to host the 2021 National Baseball Championships

Herts submits bid to host the 2021 National Baseball Championships

Herts Baseball Club has submitted its bid to host 2021 Postseason Playoff games in the adult leagues of the British Baseball Federation (BBF). If the BBF awards any of these events to Herts, they will be staged at the club’s Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead.

Richmond Flames lifting the NBL trophy at Grovehill Ballpark in 2010 (photo by event-photos.co.uk)

The events which clubs are invited to bid for include the Wild Card Playoffs and National Semi-Finals and Finals of all four BBF league tiers, from the Single-A League to the National Baseball League (NBL).

Grovehill Ballpark has previously hosted the National Baseball Championships (NBCs) in 2010 and 2012.  In 2013 the national baseball and softball complex at Farnham Park was constructed and these NBC games were held at that venue since then.

Action from the 2010 NBL playoffs hosted by Herts (photo by event-photos.co.uk)

However, the costs of staging these events at Farnham Park are proving to be very high and the BBF has decided to open the opportunity for clubs to host these high-profile events at their own ballparks similar to how the Football Association held England national team and Football League Playoff Final games around the country while the new Wembley Stadium was being built.

Championship-winning moments like this from 2010 could return to Grovehill Ballpark this year (photo by Will Baxter)

Herts Baseball Club has also expressed interest in hosting the National Youth Baseball Championships and is awaiting details from the BBF of the bidding process.

The Postseason games will be played in September. The exact game schedule and the successful bidder(s)  will be announced by the BBF in the coming weeks.

Basing Hill Ballpark campaign boosted after Barnet pledges £4,000

Basing Hill Ballpark campaign boosted after Barnet pledges £4,000

The Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding campaign has received a boost with the news that its pitch to the London Borough of Barnet was successful and they have made a pledge of £4,000 to the project.

Herts Baseball Club suffered a setback in March when they learned that they narrowly missed out on funding from The Mayor of London‘s Make London Fund.

Since then the club has been in discussions with businesses and organisations and, although the campaign is still far from its fundraising target, today’s news may have a positive effect on the discussions which are taking place with other potential backers.

The pledge from Crowdfund Barnet means that, to date, the campaign has received pledges from 125 backers amounting to £16,528 which is 29% of the £55,804 target.

Businesses, sponsors and other backers who may be interested to support the project can contact the club to discuss ways in which this could be a good fit and beneficial for them. They would have the additional assurance from the fact that the club passed the project viability verification process carried out by the independent organisation Locality, which was a prerequisite to pitch to the Mayor of London.

Matt Davis joins the Herts coaching staff

Coach Matt Davis to work with Herts players this summer

In June 2019, just ahead of the MLB London Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, Herts baseball players had the rare opportunity to be coached by Monte Brooks, head coach of The Master’s University baseball team with over 700 college wins.

He was accompanied by a number of player-coaches from his university. One of them was Matt Davis (pictured above, far left). This week it was confirmed that he will be back working with Herts players during the Wednesday evening baseball sessions at Basing Hill Ballpark twice a month over the next three months, starting tomorrow, Wednesday, 9 June.

Matt Davis was a pitcher with Liberty University (NCAA Division 1) from 1990-1991 and with The Master’s University (NAIA Division 1) from 1992-1994. In 2020 he was assistant coach at The Master’s University under coach, Monte Brooks. Currently, he is chaplain for the London Broncos (Rugby League).

https://youtu.be/gm6BuueGBts
Coach Monte Brooks at Basing Hill Ballpark in June 2019

Matt Davis specialises in pitching but he will also cover other aspects of the game with the Herts players this summer.

Although these sessions are for club members only, new players are able to come to one of these sessions to try baseball and to help them decide if they would like to join the club. Contact the club to book a place at an upcoming session.

14th Herts baseball team makes a late league entry

14th Herts baseball team makes a late league entry

The 2021 baseball season is now in full swing. Last weekend there were eight adult and four youth league games involving five Herts adult league and eight youth league teams. Herts Baseball Club is growing and now has thirteen teams.

The news of the Herts Youth Baseball League (HYBL) which was launched this season has been spreading and a new fourteenth team – the Herts Hawks U11 – has just made a late entry into the league. They will be based in Hemel Hempstead and will be added to the U11 Division of the HYBL.  They missed the opening games but the league schedule will be adjusted so that they can make up those games over the course of the season.

The Hawks (U11) will play their first league games this Saturday, 5 June, with a total of six games being played at the club’s two ballparks in Hemel Hempstead and in North West London.

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayLeagueField
HYBL (U15)
Grovehill Ballpark
HYBL (U11)
Grovehill Ballpark
HYBL (U11)
Grovehill Ballpark
HYBL (U11)
Grovehill Ballpark
HYBL (U15)
Basing Hill Ballpark
HYBL (U11)
Basing Hill Ballpark

Players are continuing to register and they are being added to the teams every week.  New players are able to come and play in the next games to help them decide if they would like to join the league.  Contact the club for more details.

Herts Baseball Club receives grant to promote baseball for children in Grovehill

Herts Baseball Club receives grant to promote baseball for children in Grovehill

Herts Baseball Club has been awarded a £1,000 Herts Sports Partnership grant from its Active Local Tackling Inequalities Fund secured from Sport England.

The fund aims to help reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 and the widening of the inequalities in sport and physical activity in ten Active Local areas around Hertfordshire which have high number of people on low income.

One of those ten Active Local areas is Grovehill in Hemel Hempstead which is where the club’s baseball ballpark is located.

The funds will be used to promote baseball for children in Grovehill by staging free open days at the ballpark and taster sessions in local schools.

Kids will then be able to join the youth baseball teams playing in the Herts Youth Baseball League which the club is launching this year for boys and girls aged 6 to 14. The aim is to give local children the opportunity to play baseball in a family environment and keep them physically active and involved in community activities for many years to come.

The club received the funding last month and has already staged three open days at Grovehill Ballpark. There is one more coming up this Saturday, 22 May, before the league season starts on Saturday, 29 May. Boys and girls, from complete beginners to advanced players, can contact the club to book their place to try baseball for free at an upcoming event.

For more information about Herts Sports Partnership visit their website.

Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding deadline extended

Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding deadline extended

The Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding campaign deadline has been extended to July 21.

Herts Baseball Club suffered a setback in March when they learned that they narrowly missed out on funding from The Mayor of London‘s Make London Fund.

Since then the club has been in discussions with businesses and organisations and, although the campaign is still far from its fundraising target, it may receive a considerable boost if one or several of these discussions lead to a pledge.

The extension of the deadline gives the potential backers, who have expressed interest in the Basing Hill Ballpark project, additional time to consider whether they would like to make a pledge.

To date, the campaign has received pledges from 124 backers amounting to £12,528 which is 22% of the £55,804 target.

Businesses, sponsors and other backers who may be interested to support the project can contact the club to discuss ways in which this could be a good fit and beneficial for them. They would have the additional assurance from the fact that the club passed the project viability verification process carried out by the independent organisation Locality, which was a prerequisite to pitch to the Mayor of London.

2021 Opening Day – British baseball teams have waited 20 months for this

2021 Opening Day – British baseball teams have waited 20 months for this

The last British baseball league game was played twenty months ago. The wait is finally over as baseball teams up and down the country are gearing up for the Opening Day of the 2021 baseball season this Sunday.

2021 Opening Day Schedule

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayLeagueField
Single-A (Central)
Basing Hill Ballpark
National Baseball League
Grovehill Ballpark
Single-A (Central)
Forest Glade
Single-A (Central)
Basing Hill Ballpark
Double-A (Central)
Horspath Athletics Ground

The league schedules produced some enticing matchups for the five Herts teams. The Herts Falcons open the season at home against the Essex Arrows. The two teams in fact faced each other this last weekend as part of the Herts Spring League. The Falcons came out on top with a 7-6 win but the pre-season games are not always a good predictor for the season ahead as managers often use these Spring League games to evaluate new players in different roles.

In the Double-A League, the Herts Hawks start their campaign on the road against the Oxford Kings. This will be manager Tetsuro Shinkawa’s (pictured above) first official league game as a manager at Herts and his roster is expected to feature many players who will be making their first appearance in the third tier of British baseball.

The Herts Raptors are also away this Sunday.  They face the Essex Redbacks who finished above them in 2019 and new Raptors manager Ken Pike will want to get off to a good start in the race for the Single-A playoffs.

The Raptors are one of the three Herts teams in the Single-A Central division.  The other two are the Herts Eagles and Herts Londoners who will face each other at Basing Hill Ballpark in the first of many Herts derbies this season. In fact there will be at least one Herts derby in each month of the regular season from May until August, but two dates stand out in particular. On May 30 and August 8 all three Herts teams will be playing at the same venue in back-to-back games which are expected to attract bumper crowds, with social distancing of course.

The season is about to begin but new players are still registering to play and the managers have deliberately left room in the rosters at all league levels, in order to be able to welcome new players, from beginners to advanced, throughout the year.  For more details about joining the Herts adult and youth league teams or to try baseball at a free open session, contact us.

Photos by photograher Tony Small