Category: Adult Leagues

Eagles downed by Minotaurs

Eagles downed by Minotaurs

by Kumail Jaffer

SHORT on numbers but high on chutzpah, the Eagles flew into Finsbury Park on Sunday aiming to wrestle themselves back into the Playoff hunt.


The Minotaurs were an interesting proposition – it was a team that the Eagles had got the better of last season, but an improving side who were playing on their own, slightly misshaped home turf.

Game 1


With upcoming star Alex Trautman on the mound, it was no wonder things started so smoothly for the visitors.
The young Herts pitcher dealt four devastating innings – the perfect Fathers’ Day gift for Max, who was egging him on from 1B.


Eagles downed by Minotaurs
The Trautmans in action (file photo)

But on a small field, any semblance of contact can result in extra-base hits and, despite a great effort from Tom Hill behind the plate, an inevitable couple of runs also squeaked through from base-stealers.
Regardless, it was a solid defensive effort from the Eagles, who limited the Minotaurs to just three runs in the first three innings. 


Things also looked great on the offensive end. Appearing in just his second game of the season, Eagles veteran Kumail Jaffer went 3-4 as leadoff hitter, picking up an RBI alongside Hill, the senior Trautman and captain Saira Smith.


In a particularly impressive show of spirit, the visitors battled back in the top of the 5th while 7-4 down – and were unlucky not to defend their narrow lead going into the bottom of the final inning. Minotaurs walked off with a 9-8 win.

Kumail Jaffer at bat earlier in 2022

Game 2


On-loan Londoner Jack Page – who fully embraced the Eagles ‘chant’ – did his best to make sure morale stayed high going into the second game. 
The team knew that going 1-1 on the road against a well-stocked outfit wouldn’t be the worst result to take home – but they needed to dig deep.


Unfortunately, the home pitcher didn’t quite have the same idea. Though he walked six batters, clutch strikeouts at crucial times limited the Eagles’ momentum early on and stranded runners on base. And in a flash, it was 8-0 to the Minotaurs going into the bottom of the third.


It was time for the Eagles’ offence to spark, and the defence to lock it down to give the batters another shot. Some clever pitching from Smith and young Prime Mencias limited the hosts to a single run in the third, meaning the Eagles needed nine to extend the game.


And to their credit, they put the Minotaurs under real pressure. After loading the bases with just one out, two disciplined walks from Mencias and Jaffer brought home a couple of easy runs before Hill drove in another.

But it just wasn’t meant to be. This one ended 9-3. The Eagles shall fly again.

Coach Monte Brooks is coming back to the UK to work with Herts players

Coach Monte Brooks is coming back to the UK to work with Herts players

In June 2019 the head coach of The Master’s University baseball team, Monte Brooks, was a special guest of Herts Baseball Club and Herts players had the unique opportunity of being coached by him.

He will be coming back to the UK and he will once again be working with the Herts adult and youth teams at the club’s two branches in Hemel Hempstead and in London. The two events which he will be taking part in are:

  • 6pm, Wednesday, 1 June, Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
  • 6pm, Thursday, 2 June, Basing Hill Ballpark, London

Brooks has just completed his 26th season as head coach of The Master’s University baseball team in the USA. He is the program’s all-time leader in wins with a record of 790-535. He has led the Mustangs to four NAIA World Series appearances (2000, 2013, 2016, 2017) and three regular-season GSAC titles.

As a player, Brooks was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1987 with whom he spent four seasons in the minor leagues and later coached in the Padres organisation before his appointment with Master’s University.

Players who have developed through The Master’s University have gone on to be drafted by MLB clubs. One of them is Conner Menez (pictured above) who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Shortly after Coach Brooks’ visit to London in 2019, Menez made his MLB debut for the Giants where he played until last year. This season he was signed by the Chicago Cubs and with rumours going around that the 2023 MLB London Series will feature the Chicago Cubs and the St Louis Cardinals, Herts fans may have the opportunity to see Menez in action at the London Stadium.

Coach Brooks’ area of expertise is working with hitters and infielders so his visit to the club is a fantastic opportunity for players from the various Herts teams.

The sessions are open to all current Herts members as well as new players who are considering joining the club. If you are not a current club member and wish to take part in one of these sessions, please contact us.

Saira Smith is the new Eagles manager

Saira Smith is the new Eagles manager

Saira Smith has been appointed as the new Herts Eagles manager and has also been co-opted to the club’s executive board.

She joined the Eagles as a player at the start of the 2021 season and quickly established herself as a key member of the team.  Smith is originally from Australia where she has played baseball extensively. She will be able to count on assistant coaches Jamie Lang-Richards, Mike Wakelam and Tom Hill who will be part of the team’s coaching staff.

The team had a win-loss percentage of .370 last season and it will be interesting to see if they can improve on that this season. The team caused an upset when they picked up two wins away at the reigning Single-A national champions, the London Mustangs, on Opening Day. That was followed by two losses against a strong Bracknell Inferno team.

Next up for them this Sunday is a trip to the Herts Hawks who are one of the early pace-setters in the Single-A league after winning their last three games.

Herts Cardinals to make BBF league debut this Sunday. Interview with Manager Brian Dearing.

Herts Cardinals to make BBF league debut this Sunday. Interview with Manager Brian Dearing.

The wait is over for the newest team in the Herts Baseball family, the Herts Cardinals. They will play their first ever BBF league game this Sunday, May 1st. Their Triple-A league campaign starts on the road at the Bournemouth Bears (4-2).

Bournemouth Bears vs Herts Cardinals

Ferndowne Leisure Centre
Triple-A

As we build-up to the team’s season opener, we had a chance to chat with Cardinals player-manager, Brian Dearing.

Q: Welcome to Herts Baseball Club.  After a number of years playing elsewhere in British baseball, how are you feeling about the new start?

A: I feel very good about move to Herts, the club has been incredibly welcoming and supportive. I’ve heard it over and over from members of the team, they feel at home already and we can’t thank Herts enough for everything they have done to make our transition a success.

Q: As several players from last year’s London Mammoths roster have joined, the Herts Cardinals roster already seems to have strong foundations.  What are your expectations for this year? Do you think the team can hit the ground running and be involved in the Triple-A playoff race in their first season?

A: First, I would say my main goal this year is to make sure our club transition is a complete success for the players, I believe our team is possibly the strongest it has ever been. Our entire roster moved to Herts, and we have had some tremendous ball players participate in our try-outs. We have already hit the ground running, and feel confident that we will be a competitive and fun team to play in 2022.

Q: Herts fans are excited about the Basing Hill Ballpark project and the club is currently raising funds for the second phase. Whether in MLB, NFL or the Premier League, clubs get enormous injection of energy when they move into their new home.  Basing Hill cannot compare to those enormous sports venues but do you think that there could be a similar effect for Herts players?

A: I can only speak to the Cardinals, but we are both moving venues and clubs. I think that we’ve got a huge injection of energy. The team is very motivated right now to train, improve, be competitive, and win a championship (or make a playoff run). 2022 is going to be a lot of fun.

Q: If everything goes to plan, the ballpark is scheduled to open in May and as a result the Herts Cardinals have to play their first few league games away from home.  Would this have an effect on the team’s plans?

A: We are really excited to play on the newly renovated Basing Hill field, and the BBF has very helpfully organized around the construction timeline so there is no effect on the team.

Q: When you moved from America you spent some time playing for the Edinburgh Cannons. Our players and fans might not be very familiar with the Scottish League and would be curious to learn how baseball in Scotland compares to the British baseball leagues.

A: Scottish Baseball is a blast, and is run by some great characters. There is only one “level”, so there is huge diversity on each team in terms of baseball ability and knowledge, which is fun and challenging! Overall, they’ve got a lot of dedicated players, and good access to equipment. I never expected that when I moved to the UK from the USA!

Q: You experienced baseball both in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Are there elements that are very effective in growing the game in the US which British clubs should put greater emphasis on?

A: I think an emphasis on high quality fields, and access to practice facilities, would bring a greater level of seriousness to the game. I think also that there are so many baseball-player transplants in London that just don’t know they could play baseball in London or the UK, so ways to market our club and federation would be a great start.

Q: Finally, do you have a message for Herts baseball fans ahead of the 2022 season?

A: We look forward to meeting you and enjoying the new Basing Hill facility together!

Opening Day rosters published

Opening Day rosters published

After two months of Spring Training and three weeks of Herts Spring League games, the managers of the five Herts adult league teams have confirmed their Opening Day rosters. Just like Major League Baseball, there may be movement of players up and down the leagues in accordance with BBF regulations.

Herts Cardinals (Triple-A League)

RankPlayerPositionB/THtWt
1jpnHiroki FujimotoP, 2B, SSR/R--
2usaJames Hicks1B, P---
3usaSean BennettP, 2B, SS---
4gbrAndy Cornish2B, 3B---
5cubOsvaldo Badia Rivero1B, 3B---
6usaTyler CoteC, OF, P---
7gbrWill DavisIF, OF---
8usaJoshua Pines1B---
9usaBrian DearingP, SS---
10gbrJames CavanaghC, OF---
11usaArik RavivP---
12hkg“Stephen” Chun Hung WongC, IF, OF---
13canRobert LaflammeOF---
14domGiorgio FerroniC, OF---
15cubJavier Cardenas TomasOF---
16ltuVytas Macenas2B, 3B---
17gerYves SchwarzbartIF, OF---
18gbrMichael Cresswell1B, OF, P---
19cubgbrRoberto HernandezOF, 2B---

Herts Hawks (Single-A League)

RankPlayerPositionB/THtWt
1gbrGiuseppe Basilea1B, IF, OF, P---
2usaElroy DavisSS---
3gbrMichael Cunningham1B, OF---
4gbrHarry McmenaminP, 3B---
5gbrDanny PrestonIF, OF---
6irlAntonio LourencoIF, OF---
7gbrPaul Le GuillouLF---
8gbrAntony LavenderCF---
9gbrKennet PikeC, P, SS---
10porLuis MartinsIF---
11rsaDeclan CarleanOF, P, SS---
12canCameron SchultzC---
13gbrHarry EwenIF, OF, 2B---
14gbrNick BarnabyIF, OF, SS---
15porPedro MartinsP, SS---
16gbrTodd NevilleIF, OF---
17gbrCharlie ObrienC, OF---
18gbrDale HardwickCF---
19gbrLaurence Currington1B, IF---
20gbrPeter HoggIF, OF---
21gbrJack ObrienIF, OF, P---

Herts Raptors (Single-A League)

RankPlayerPositionB/THtWt
1gbrCallum FerrierIF/OF---
2gbrTom RokerIF, OF---
3gbrJamie BerlofskyOF, 2B---
4gbrBeth WainIF, OF---
5gbrBradley CalvertIF---
6ncaJoel EdenIF, OF---
7gbrjpnMarcus WathewIF, OF---
8gbrHarry WilliamsonIF, OF---
9gbrJack BurkettIF, OF---
10ltuMantas PoderysIF, P---
11gbrSimon Jackson-TurnerIF, OF---
12gbrBilly PerryIF, OF---
13gbrPaul AuchterlounieC, P---
14usaJohn Kjorstad1B, OF---
15gbrAdam ScalesIF, OF---
16gbrMax FarmbroughIF, OF, P---
17gbrEllie PageC, OF---
18porLuis MartinsIF---
19gbrRory VangundyOF, P, SS---
20gbrNoah TaborCF, LF---
21gbrLauren Dutch1B---
22gbrCalum ThompsonIF, OF---
23gbrJordon FoxSS---
24gbrJamie WiseIF, OF---
25gbrThomas BrowneIF, OF, P---

Herts Eagles (Single-A League)

RankPlayerPositionB/THtWt
1ausMichael WakelamC, IF, P, SS, 3B---
2gbrIsabella TrautmanIF, OFR/R--
3gbrAishiek Mitra NandyIF, OF---
4gbrReece Williamson-WhiteIF, OF---
5gbrAndy StratfordIF, OF, 2B---
6usaMax Trautman1B, OF---
7gbrPeter WilsonOF---
8gbrcypBradley CharalambousC---
9indParas Patravale3B---
10gbrThomas HillC, SS---
11gbrMichael Anunobi1B---
12gbrKumail JafferIF, OF, 2B, SS, 3B---
13gbrNeil Chilton1B, OF, P---
14usaDaniel GippleIF, OF---
15usaEvan RobinsIF, OF---
16gbrAlexander TrautmanIF, OF, P---
17gbrMichael GreenOF---
18gbrJoe GippleIF, OF, 2B---
19ausSaira SmithC, OF, P---
20denMohamed AbduleIF, OF---
21gbrJamie Lang-RichardsC, IF, P, SS---

Herts Londoners (Single-A League)

RankPlayerPositionB/THtWt
1gbrSammy EnglishIF, P, SS---
2gbrSony LamaC, CF, IFR--
3gbrSimon LangtonP, 2B, SS, 3B---
4gbrJack PageIF, OF---
5gbrZak BellerIF, OF, 2B---
6gbrAspi DimitrovIF/OF, IF, OF, P---
7gbrRob JonesC, 1B, IF, 2B---
8gbrHenry BellCF, IF, OF, PR/R--
9gbrMatthew BellIF/OF---
10usaArnold LongboyC, IF, P---
11usaGreg Bochan1B, IF, P, 3B---
12gbrJoseph FieldOF---
13tpeKenny Liao1B---
14tpeWei Chieh WangIF, P, 2B, 3B---
15usaCory EnglishIF, P, SS---
16gerNicolas GoetzIF, P, 3B---
17gbrHunter DevineC, CF, IF, OF, 2B---
18gbrJason ReynoldsCF, IF, OFR/R--
19gbrDan TaylorRF, 2B---
20gbrZephaniah Prime MenciasC, OF, P---
21gbrLuke WardC, OF, 2B---
22tpeNorman Peng1B, IF, LF, OF, 2B---
23venGilberto MedinaSS---
24gbrAndrew Slater1B, IF, P, 2B---
Sean Bennett joins Herts board

Sean Bennett joins Herts board

Sean Bennett has been co-opted to the board of Herts Baseball Club. He is one of the many new players who have joined the club and who will be playing for the Herts Cardinals in the BBF Triple-A league this year.

He and Herts Cardinals manager, Brian Dearing, have worked together as co-managers of the London Mammoths in the past and they will be operating together again. Dearing will be focusing on team management while Bennett will be covering the board duties as a representative of the Herts Cardinals department.

This approach is expected to help spread the workload, increase productivity and bring even more people with baseball and professional experience to the club’s front office.

“I look forward to working with the rest of the board and helping the club where I can to build upon its many successes” said Bennett.

Herts Baseball Club now has eleven board members.

Herts teams announce preliminary 2022 rosters for the HSL

Herts teams announce preliminary 2022 rosters for the HSL

The five Herts teams have announced their preliminary rosters for the 2022 Herts Spring League .

We understand that these rosters are not fixed and it is likely that there may be movement between teams over the course of the HSL. Some players may play for more than one team as managers look to evaluate them ahead of the announcement of the 2022 Opening Day rosters. The Eagles and Londoners rosters are combined for this reason and may split later in the HSL.

The HSL games commence on March 19th.

New players are registering every week, therefore some new names may be added to the rosters over the course of the HSL and throughout the league season.

Herts Cardinals (Triple-A)

  • Alexander Trautman
  • Andy Cornish
  • Arik Raviv
  • Brian Dearing
  • James Cavanagh
  • James Hicks
  • Javier  Cardenas Tomas
  • Joshua Pines
  • Michael Anunobi
  • Michael Wakelam
  • Nicolas Goetz
  • Osvaldo Badia Rivero
  • Paras Patravale
  • Robert Laflamme
  • Roberto  Hernandez
  • Sean Bennett
  • Tetsuro Shinkawa
  • Tyler Cote
  • Vytas Macenas
  • Will Davis
  • Yves Schwarzbart

Herts Hawks (Single-A)

  • Andy Cornish
  • Antonio Lourenco
  • Antony Lavender
  • Cameron Schultz
  • Charlie Obrien
  • Dale Hardwick
  • Danny Preston
  • Declan Carlean
  • Elroy Davis
  • Harry Ewen
  • Harry Mcmenamin
  • Jack Obrien
  • Jordon Fox
  • Kennet Pike
  • Laurence Currington
  • Luis Martins
  • Michael Cunningham
  • Nick Barnaby
  • Paul Le Guillou
  • Pedro Martins
  • Peter Hogg
  • Todd Neville

Herts Raptors (Single–A)

  • Adam Scales
  • Beth Wain
  • Billy Perry
  • Calum Thompson
  • Ellie Page
  • James Morrell
  • James Watson
  • Jamie Berlofsky
  • Jamie Wise
  • Joel Eden
  • John Kjorstad
  • Lauren Dutch
  • Marcus Wathew
  • Mantas Poderys
  • Max Farmbrough
  • Neil Chilton
  • Noah  Tabor
  • Paul Auchterlounie
  • Rory Vangundy
  • Simon Jackson-Turner
  • Thomas Browne
  • Tom Roker

Herts Eagles / Herts Londoners (Single-A)

  • Aishiek Mitra Nandy
  • Alexander Trautman
  • Andy Stratford
  • Arnold Longboy
  • Aspi Dimitrov
  • Brad Charalambous
  • Bryan Mencias
  • Cory English
  • Dan Taylor
  • Daniel Gipple
  • Gilberto Medina
  • Giorgio Ferroni
  • Greg Bochan
  • Henry Bell
  • Hunter Devine
  • Isabella Trautman
  • James Angelou
  • Jamie Lang-Richards
  • Jason Reynolds
  • Joe Gipple
  • Joseph  Field
  • Kenny Liao
  • Kumail Jaffer
  • Kwong yan Li
  • Luke Ward
  • Mark Lewinson
  • Matthew Bell
  • Max Trautman
  • Michael Green
  • Michael Wakelam
  • Mohamed Abdule
  • Nicolas Goetz
  • Norman Peng
  • Peter Wilson
  • Rob Jones
  • Saira Smith
  • Sammy English
  • Thomas Hill
  • Wei Chieh Wang
  • Yu Tsz Cheung
  • Zak Beller
  • Zephaniah Prime Mencias

Players, from beginners to advanced, are now registering for the 2022 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.

Countdown to HSL – first chance to see the teams ahead of the 2022 British baseball season

Countdown to HSL – first chance to see the teams ahead of the 2022 British baseball season

The biggest pre-season baseball competition in Britain is back. Commencing on March 19, the Herts Spring League (HSL) will see 19 teams compete over the 3 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.

Format

The 19 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.

The Venue

The action will take place on the two diamonds at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead, the home of Herts Baseball Club.

Schedule

Over the three weekends 40 games are scheduled to be played on the two diamonds. The competition begins on March 19 with a morning clash on Diamond 1 between the London Metros and the Essex Redbacks in the HSL NBL division. At the same time on Diamond 2, there is a Double-A clash between the Croydon Pirates and the London Musketeers.

The Herts Raptors are the first Herts team in action on that day as they meet the Mustangs. The first opportunity to see the Herts Cardinals’ first ever game will be on Sunday, 20 March, when they will meet ACS Cougars and the Sidewinders.

Alongside the deciding HSL games on the final day (April 3), Grovehill Ballpark will host the NBL Opening Day doubleheader between the Lancashire Legends and newly promoted BC Vetra who won the Triple-A National Championship last year.

Click to view full 2022 HSL schedule

Youth Baseball Open Days

In addition to the games, there will be three Youth Baseball Open Sessions for any boys and girls aged 6 to 14 who are not members of a baseball club at the moment. This is a good opportunity for them to try baseball at no cost. Each session is 2 hours long.

For more details and to book a place, please complete this form.

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 with the minor league teams? 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

Players, from beginners to advanced, are now registering for the 2022 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.

19 teams will signal the arrival of Spring in the 2022 HSL

19 teams will signal the arrival of Spring in the 2022 HSL

Herts Baseball Club has confirmed that 19 teams have entered this year’s Herts Spring League (HSL). The teams come from all British baseball leagues including the National Baseball League (NBL), Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A Leagues.

The HSL teams will be divided into three divisions as follows:

HSL (NBL) Teams
HSL (Double-A) Teams
HSL (Single-A) Teams

Schedule and Format

The HSL will be played over three weeks commencing on the weekend of 19-20 March and ending on 2-3 April. The HSL format and games schedule are expected to be announced shortly and hertsbaseball.com will bring this and all other HSL news as they happen.

BBF to run umpire training course alongside HSL games in Hemel Hempstead

BBF to run umpire training course alongside HSL games in Hemel Hempstead

The British Baseball Federation (BBF) will be running an umpire training course at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead on Saturday, 19 March. It will take place alongside the Opening Day games of the 2022 Herts Spring League at that venue.

Experienced umpires, John Baxendale and Mike Shepard, will be the instructors. The format of the course is expected to include 2 “crash courses” through the day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – but that will depend on the number of umpires who sign up to take part.

It is open for all but primarily targeted at “team umpires”. This new format of training focuses on the very basic principles of umpiring with great emphasis on plate work. Attendees will feel more comfortable in taking their position behind the catcher to call their games. Some baseball knowledge is expected but no umpiring experience is needed.

Each course is expected to be around two or two and a half hours long so members of teams who have HSL games in the afternoon can attend the course in the morning and vice versa.

For more information about the course and to express your interest in attending, send an email to umpiring@britishbaseball.org