Category: Adult Leagues

Club members elect five new board members

Club elects five new board members

The results from the 2021 board elections of Herts Baseball Club have been published confirming that five new members have joined the board.

Ken Pike (pictured above) returns to the board as manager of one of the adult league teams based at Grovehill Ballpark.  The identity of his team and which league it will enter in 2021 will be confirmed in the coming days. The most likely scenario is that he will be managing the Single-A League Herts Raptors taking over from Mantas Poderys who did an outstanding job with the team last year and who the club hopes will be back in managerial capacity as soon as his personal circumstances allow him to. Ken has extensive experience in the British baseball league, having previously managed the Raptors.

Adam Collins (pictured above) and Jamie Lang-Richards played for the Herts Eagles over the last two seasons and in 2021 they will have the added responsibility of being co-managers of one of the Herts adult teams based at the club’s north west London branch. The identity of the team and the league which it will play in will be announced soon. Their induction into the role is expected to be very smooth as both have been an integral part of the Herts adult teams in NW London.

Jamie Lang-Richards has played at Double-A and Single-A league level but which league will he be player-manager in? (photo by Rob Jones)

Will Zucker has been elected co-Director of Youth Baseball alongside Aspi Dimitrov who served in that role between 2012 and 2014. Zucker is a product of the Herts youth baseball programme. He went on to become the co-founder of the very successful Durham University Baseball programme and his work was recognised when he received the BSUK Young Coach of the Year Award in 2017.

Will Zucker wearing the Great Britain U19 national team uniform in 2016

He currently plays in Britain’s top league with the Herts Falcons and has also been selected by the Great Britain Under-19 and Under-23 National Teams.

In the coming weeks, Dimitrov and Zucker will be providing more details of their plans for the new regional youth baseball league which will feature teams from both Herts branches – in Hemel Hempstead and in North West London.

(Photo by Bianca Quarte)

The club’s youth baseball department has been strengthened further with the election of Cory English (pictured above). He will be heading either the Under-13 or the Under-11 programme, or possibly both. He is a member of the Herts Londoners and played a key role last year in the very successful launch of the youth baseball programme at Basing Hill Ballpark. Originating from New York, he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge which is already starting to be reflected in the baseball product which is being offered to boys and girls playing at Herts.

In addition to these five new board members, Greg Bochan, Rob Jones and Aspi Dimitrov were re-elected in their board positions as IT Director, Communications Director and Facilities Manager for Basing Hill Ballpark, respectively.

Prime Minister unveils plan to come out of the Covid lockdown

Prime Minister unveils plan to come out of the Covid lockdown

On Monday, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, unveiled a new four-step plan to ease England’s lockdown which could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June, if strict conditions are met.

It was good to see that organised sport will be one of the first sectors which will be allowed to resume outdoor activities. As a sport which had a Covid-secure protocol approved by the government in July 2020, baseball clubs up and down the country are expected to restart activities from 29 March onwards. Of course, the dates may be adjusted depending on the Covid data which the government will be monitoring, but this announcement means that our club can begin to plan with that timetable in mind.

The club has already started the process of adjusting the 2021 event and game schedule and adult and youth teams will receive an udate on this in the coming days.

We are excited by the prospect that baseball could return from March 29th. We will work closely with the sport’s authorities, and put in whatever work is necessary, to get everyone back in action safely as soon as possible.

Provisional 2021 HSL dates

Provisional 2021 HSL dates

Over the last few weeks, Herts Baseball Club has been in discussions with the British Baseball Federation to co-ordinate the best way to approach the scheduling of the 2021 Herts Spring League.

Prior to the government’s announcement of the current national lockdown, the BBF indicated that, subject to Covid restrictions, the Opening Day of the 2021 BBF league season is likely to be Sunday, 11 April, and that this date would be revised, if and when required.

Monday’s announcement by the Prime Minister has added further uncertainty. 22 February was mentioned as a date when the government may review the current lockdown guidance, but the outcome of that review is not certain.

Herts has confirmed that, if the relevant regions move to Tier 3 or lower by early March and if the Covid-secure protocol for playing baseball games outdoors is reactivated, they will be looking to stage the Herts Spring League on the provisional dates listed below.

Sat, 27-Mar-21Herts Spring LeagueGrovehill Ballpark, Herts
Sun, 28-Mar-21Herts Spring LeagueGrovehill Ballpark, Herts
Sat, 03-Apr-21Herts Spring LeagueGrovehill Ballpark, Herts
Sun, 04-Apr-21Herts Spring LeagueGrovehill Ballpark, Herts

These dates may be revised if the BBF changes its Opening Day plans or if there are Covid or other constraints. The HSL is usually played over three weeks, but it is likely to be reduced to two weeks this year due to Covid.

Players now registering for the 2021 baseball season

Players now registering for the 2021 baseball season

Player registration for the 2021 season has commenced.

2020 was a difficult year for everyone but yesterday’s announcement that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been approved has given us a reason to look ahead to Spring with increasing optimism that we will be able to play a full baseball season in 2021.

Despite the pandemic, last year the club welcomed 59 new members which could see the club go into 2021 even stronger than the year before.

As members start to register for the 2021 season, they would want to know whether the club has measures in place in the event that Covid-19 disrupts the league schedule and how that would affect membership fees. In July 2020, the UK government approved a Covid-secure protocol to allow baseball games to be played. Despite this, some events in 2021 may be affected if the government imposes stricter Covid restrictions in which case the club will do its best to minimize its own costs and pass the savings back to club members in the form of reduced membership fees. For example, when the 2020 league season was scaled down, membership fees were reduced to £20 for adult league play. In view of the effect of Covid-19 on the economy and on the finances of many families, the club has already reduced its 2021 membership fees by around 12% by removing many peripheral costs and focusing spending on the core elements of the membership packages.


How many teams will represent Herts in 2021? The next few weeks will be crucial as the number of players registering will determine how many teams will be entered before the league entry deadline; how many will play in Hemel Hempstead and how many will play in London; which leagues the teams will play in.


(events and dates are subject to change depending on Covid-19 restrictions)

  • 7 February – players report for Spring Training
  • 27-28 March – Start of the 2021 Herts Spring League (subject to confirmation of the BBF League Opening Day)*
  • March-April – Great Britain National Team Tryouts (senior and youth teams)*
  • 11 April – BBF League Opening Day (subject to confirmation)*
  • May – Midweek Evening Baseball commences
  • August-September* – BBF Postseason Playoffs and National Championships
  • September-October – Hunlock Series

* – these are preliminary dates. The BBF will be making its official announcements in due course.

Click here for more details of the 2021 membership packages


As reported earlier today (click to view article), in the coming weeks, we are expecting announcements regarding developments in the club’s youth baseball department and, in particular, details about plans for a new regional youth baseball league which will feature teams from both Herts branches in Hemel Hempstead and in North West London with a regular season schedule of around 12 games for each team. The proposal covers the U15, U13 and U11 age groups, while the Under-17 players will play their regular season as part of the Herts teams in the adult leagues. Around 75% of the regular season games of this proposed new youth league will be at home, with only 2 or 3 away games within a 30-minute drive from the home ballpark.


(events and dates are subject to change depending on Covid-19 restrictions)

  • March – players report for Spring Training
  • March-April – Great Britain National Team Tryouts (senior and youth teams)*
  • May – Start of the new regional youth baseball league season
  • May-July – Midweek afternoon/evening baseball sessions
  • June – UK Little League Qualifiers
  • July – European Little League Qualifiers
  • mid-July – Playoffs and Finals of the new regional youth baseball league
  • September – BBF Postseason Playoffs and National Championships
  • September – Herts Futures Tournament

Click here for more details of the 2021 membership packages


Now that the club has two ballparks, the online registration form will ask players to indicate whether they prefer to play their home league games in Hemel Hempstead or in NW London, or whether they would be happy with either. This will provide important information to club management when they configure the adult and youth team rosters for the new season.


Those who already have a Herts Online Clubhouse account will be prompted to register when they log on next time (click here to go to the Herts online Clubhouse and log on with your existing username and password). Those who are new to Herts Baseball Club and do not have an online account can register as members by completing this form. For more details about joining our teams in 2021 and the membership packages click here or contact us.

Baseball is the winner in a time of Covid

Baseball is the winner in a time of Covid

Four teams. Six weeks of games. One winner. And, perhaps fittingly, the name on the trophy after the first ever Herts Baseball Development League is the Raptors.

The League was the creation of the Raptors’ manager Mantas Poderys, when baseball received clearance to restart games after the coronavirus lockdown. The aim was to give the swelling ranks of rookie and inexperienced Herts players a taste of competition without the pressure of a formal BBF league.

Raptors B facing Londoners

Mantas split his roster in two – sharing out specialists such as pitchers and catchers – and teams from the London branch of the club enthusiastically came on board to join the league. So a schedule was created in which Raptors A and B would face the Eagles and Londoners in a round robin, then a medal series.

A series of new safety measures was drawn up and adopted, and everyone was ready to go.

The opening weekend of games in August was under baking sun at Grovehill. Raptors A got out to the best start with 2 wins. New recruits got their first taste of game action, and stars started to emerge. Cory English of the Londoners showed his slick skills, and Raptor rookie Declan Carlean made a great play from deep in the hole at shortstop.

After a rained out week, games resumed with Raptors B now taking strides forward. Ken Pike, a former manager and a champion at Single-A as a player, was one of the club veterans who returned for the HBDL. He was leading the Blues with typical gusto.

For the Londoners, Andrew Slater was the old hand with the magic, returning to the pitching mound with great results. He ended with several wins to his name.

Although there were a lot of laughs in these games, as friends got the chance to compete against each other in a relaxed setting, there was plenty of intensity too.

New Londoners recruit Kevin Abioye took a knee to the jaw as he desperately tried to reach first base on an infield hit, while Raptor B’s Laurence Currington took a tumble as he raced into the collision to help save the game for his team. (Everyone was fine afterwards, with maybe a bruise or two).

Collision! (Photo by Tony Small)

These games were also packed with dramatic walk-offs. In the third round of games, Londoners secured an 8-7 win over Raptors B when a run-down between third and home went awry and what looked like a terrible base-running decision turned into a victory moment.

The best of five championship series was between the Raptors B and the Londoners, as they finished in the top two slots of the League. The Eagles and Raptors A would play a best of three to decide the bronze medal.

The Blues took a 2-0 lead in the first week of playoffs, with the Eagles starting with a win. All to play for on the final Sunday.

Wily veteran pitcher Greg Bochan led the Londoners to a win in the first game on the last day, keeping the series alive. In Game Four, the Londoners took a 6-4 lead into the final frame. Great fielding plays from Matt Jackson and Rob Gibson had helped keep the Blues in check. The Londoners tacked on 3 more runs – surely the game was safe?

But Raptors B had other ideas. Manager Ken Pike had pitched the game, and delivered with the bat too. Once on base, he represented the winning run. In a match up of veteran pitcher (Nic Goetz) and rookie hitter (Pedro Martins) the youngster came through. He drove in Pike for a 10-9 win and plenty of celebrations.

Eagles v Londoners in August (pic: Tony Small)

In game 2 of the bronze medal series, the Eagles took a lead into the final stages. But again there was a dramatic Raptor rally. Raptors A scored a clutch of runs to tie it up.

And again, the final act was old hand against young star. Declan Carlean on the mound, Rob Jones at bat. This one was won by the veteran, with a hit to centre field clinching the 2-0 series win.

The idea of keeping the tournament in-house had been to keep the players as safe as possible at a time when travelling and mixing were both officially discouraged – but also to give the best chance for fun and competitive baseball. It succeeded on both counts.

Mantas Poderys said he was focused not on the victories for his players, but on their spirit and their development – and that, on that basis, all games were wins. They responded with equal warmth, praising his hard work, support and the welcome he gave players, some of whom had not even played organised sport, let alone baseball.

Mantas Poderys in action

While this League was going on, other elements of Herts were also staying active. The Falcons of the NBL held regular practices and scrimmage games, and also traveled to the Kent Buccaneers for a game which they won.

Youth training sessions resumed at Grovehill in July and continued throughout the summer. Coaches Lee and Colin kept as many age groups as possible active, and open sessions also received a great response when they began at Basing Hill in northwest London in August.

Some of the Herts youth players have been taking part in a Fall League organised by LYBL on the diamonds at Farnham Park, so their season looks to stretch into October. The club now turns its attentions to the winter and to preparing for what 2021 might bring.

The Raptors, meanwhile, polish their trophy!

Thanks to all who took part and helped the club through all aspects of a most extraordinary year. Coaches, officials, parents, fans and players all had a huge role to play. Herts is a family and we stay committed to each other, and to baseball.

The victorious Raptors B

First rainout of 2020

First rainout of 2020

All five games involving Herts baseball teams tomorrow, Sunday, 16 August, have been cancelled due to waterlogged diamonds.

The fields were desparate for water but the sheer volume of rain over the last few days has saturated the ground causing drainage complications.

All five Herts teams will be back in action next Sunday, 23 August, with another round of games in the Herts Development League while the Herts Falcons will travel to Kent for an exhibition game with the Buccaneers. See next week’s games schedule below.

Players, from beginners to advanced, can come and try baseball this month (with social distancing). Contact us for more details.

Government approves Covid-secure return of baseball

Government approves Covid-secure return of baseball

The UK government has confirmed that they have approved the British Baseball Federation and BSUK guidance for the return of baseball games.

The guidance complies with the requirements outlined in the government advice for team sports and enables games for up to 30 participants to resume in England.

The number of participants in baseball training sessions can also increase from 6 to 30 while continuing to follow social distancing and the other Covid-19 measures.

Herts Baseball Club will shortly be announcing the format and schedule for the league and other games for the Herts adult teams which will be played in August and September.

Adult and youth baseball training sessions are continuing. Any adult or youth players who are interested to try baseball can contact us for details.

Herts adjust 2020 BBF league entries due to Covid-19

Herts adjust 2020 BBF league entries due to Covid-19

As the world gradually starts to come out of the lockdown, the British Baseball Federation is assessing options to start the 2020 baseball season if and when the government gives clearance for league games to restart. Further easing of restrictions is likely to be considered in July and the BBF is currently looking at game scheduling scenarios.

As part of that process, they have asked teams from the four leagues to confirm if the impact from Covid-19 has affected their ability to participate.  We understand that several teams including Bournemouth Bears and Oxford Kings have already withdrawn themselves from the league.

Over the last few weeks Herts Baseball Club has been asking its members if they have been affected in a way which would prevent them from playing league games this year. Players have been trying to delay that decision for as long as possible but some have reported that they will not be able to play until health and economic risks reduce further. This has affected the club’s NBL, Triple-A and Double-A rosters in particular.

Yesterday, the Herts executive board had to make the difficult decision of withdrawing one of its five teams from the 2020 league season. That team was the club’s Triple-A League team. Players who were previously on the Triple-A roster are most likely to be assigned to the club’s NBL and Double-A teams. The rebalancing of the rosters has also prompted the club to move its Double-A team from Basing Hill Ballpark to Grovehill Ballpark.

The Herts Eagles remain in the Single-A League but for the remainder of the 2020 season they will adopt the Herts Londoners’ name as the club’s primary team in north west London.  Most of the players who were previously on the Double-A roster will most likely be assigned to either the Herts Londoners Single-A roster or the Herts Hawks Double-A roster if they have indicated that they can travel to Hemel Hempstead for home games. The precise changes to the Herts rosters will be announced in due course, depending on whether and when the BBF league season will go ahead.

The adjusted league entries of the four remaining Herts teams are as follows:

Herts Falcons National Baseball League Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Herts Hawks Double-A League Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Herts Raptors Single-A League Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Herts Londoners Single-A League Basing Hill Ballpark, London

The club will continue to monitor the status of its players and teams in the event that any further adjustments become necessary.

Herts Falcons manager, Cris Hiche, emphasised that ‘the measures that are being taken are temporary and that everyone at the club looks forward to having all players and teams back to full capacity next season when we hope the pandemic will be behind us’. He added that ‘this year the priority is to stay active, healthy, and enjoy some sense of normality which baseball can bring at a difficult time for everyone’.

Herts players resumed training two weeks ago working in groups of up to six people, in accordance with government guidelines. The club continues to receive enquiries from new players interested to try baseball. They are able to book a place for one of these sessions to help them decide if they would like to join Herts. They can book their place for the next session by contacting the club,

All time greatest Herts starting lineup

All time greatest Herts starting lineup

Over the last few weeks Herts fans as well as those from the wider baseball community have been casting their votes to determine the all time greatest Herts starting lineup from players that have worn the Herts jersey since the club was founded 24 years ago.

When the club invited fans to nominate players for the nine fielding positions plus designated hitter, the intention was to have four nominees for each position, however the panel of experts struggled to narrow the list down to four per position and, instead of removing players, ended up expanding the shortlist. This forced the club to change the format and added a playoff semi-final round.

(click image to expand it)

There were some titanic clashes and some big names were eliminated including Darrin Ward, Mike Osborn and Jim Denison, among others. Round after round, fans were given a taste of just how difficult it is to be in the managerial hot seat and make these decisions.

Unlike the semi-final, each position was voted one after the other in the finals.  Some players made it to the final of more than one position and, if they accumulated the most votes for one position, they were removed from the final of any other positions. This meant that some big names that just missed out on the final re-entered the race, including Geoff Hare which set up a father-versus-son clash in the shortstop final. It also meant that we were not able to see the outcome of a head-to-head between Xavi Gonzalez and Robbie Unsell at shortstop.

Everyone who cast their vote applied their own criteria about who should be selected. Some may have put more weight on a player’s length of service and contribution to the club. Others simply went for what they thought would be the strongest team that could be fielded in a game 7 of a championship series.

When all the polls closed, the end result was a formidable starting lineup featuring national team players, and players decorated with multiple National Baseball League Most Valuable Player and Gold Glove Awards over the years.

(click image to expand it)

So, did the fans select ‘The Greatest” lineup from the hundreds of players they could cherry-pick and, if they did, does this mean that in the future we may as well dispense with team managers and simply run a poll to make managerial decisions?

We didn’t want to put current and former Herts managers on the spot but we are sure that they may disagree with some of the choices made by the fans and the batting order which was formulated without applying any scientific methodology.

There were some notable players such as Abelardo Salas, Dan Kerry, Darrin Ward, Gary Davison, Edwin Alcantara, Luis Goncalves, Matt Gilbert, Nic Goetz, Phil Clark, Roberto Almanzar and Ryan Hackel all of whom have received NBL awards over the years but who didn’t make the starting lineup and, surely, there must be a place in the batting lineup for Ryan Bird who leads the NBL in career batting (.508), on-base (.578) and slugging (.822) average in the British baseball modern era. Thankfully, in real life the team roster can include a lot more than the nine starting players.

Herts Baseball Club was founded in 1996 and is still in search of its first NBL championship title, but this lineup would certainly fancy its chances against any NBL champions over the previous 129 years of top-tier baseball in this country.

A look at the 2020 BBF league lineup while we wait at home

A look at the 2020 BBF league lineup while we wait at home

Last Sunday would have been the Opening Day of the 2020 British baseball season. For now, the hundreds of baseball players around the country can only stay at home, follow advice about coronavirus and wait for the moment when the government gives the leagues an approval to start the season.

Leagues around the world, from the English Premier League to MLB, suspended their seasons last month and the British Baseball Federation (BBF) was one of them. The suspension came just as the BBF was about to announce the 2020 league lineup and schedules for the four league tiers.

The details are now published on the BBF website and provide fans with a preview of what they can expect when the season begins.


Essex Arrows
Herts Falcons
London Capitals
London Mets

There are no changes in the NBL. The four teams from last year are back to battle it out. Each team will play a regular season of 28 games (14 doubleheaders).

View the NBL schedule



East London Latin Boys
Essex Redbacks
Herts Hawks
Kent Buccaneers
London Mammoths
London Marauders
Bournemouth Bears
Oxford Kings
Oxford Lightning
Richmond Knights
The Rebels

The Triple-A League has expanded from seven to eleven teams.  They have been divided into two pools based on their geographic location. The expansion teams are Bournemouth Bears who have been promoted after winning the Double-A League last year. Herts Hawks and London Marauders are two other teams promoted from the Double-A League. Herts Hawks move up a league after switching places with Herts Londoners who move down to Double-A. Oxford Lightning is a newly formed club which we understand will draw most of its players from the Oxford University baseball programme. The last expansion team is The Rebels. They are based in Taunton. There is no confirmation but this appears to be a rebirth of the Taunton Tigers who were disqualified from the league in 2018. If this is the case, this news would appear to suggest that they have now served the penalties which were imposed on them.

Herts Hawks will play 26 regular season games (13 doubleheaders).

View the Triple-A schedule Pool A and Pool B



Birmingham Bandits
Birmingham Outlaws
Bournemouth Bears (AA)
Brighton Brewers
Bristol Badgers
Bristol Vetra
Cambridge Monarchs
Croydon Pirates
East London Latin Boys (AA)
Guildford Mavericks
Herts Londoners
Leicester Blue Sox
London Musketeers
London Sidewinders
Long Eaton 2
Long Eaton Storm
Milton Keynes Bucks
Norwich Iceni
Richmond Dragons
South Coast Pirates

The Double-A League appears to have undergone a major revamp. It was previously divided into three pools. In 2020 all 20 teams will instead be competing in one pool. Ordinarily, with such a vast number of teams, the league would take advantage and divide them geographically into several pools. From the games schedule it appears that the BBF has tried to schedule games between teams which are located relatively close to each other so that may address the important issue of minimizing travel to some extent. However, that still leaves the issue of an unbalanced schedule as teams will not be able to face each of their 19 opponents in the league.

Despite two of last year’s teams moving up to the Triple-A, the Double-A League has expanded considerably. Six teams from the Central Division have now merged into this combined league including the two Birmingham teams, Cambridge Monarchs, Leicester, Long Eaton Storm and a second team from Long Eaton which has been formed this year.

Bournemouth Bears and East London Latin Boys have teams in the Triple-A League and they have also unveiled two new teams which have entered the Double-A League.

Another new club on the British baseball map is Bristol Vetra.  We have very little information about them but we understand that they are predominantly made up of players originating from Lithuania.

It is good to see that baseball is back in Croydon after the club disappeared from the league several years ago.  They are back not with one but two Pirates teams. There was a real concern that the two diamonds in Croydon will be lost with no teams using them so the resurrection of the club is a major cause for celebration for British baseball.

The London Musketeers and South Coast Pirates have been promoted from Single-A to complete the lineup.

Herts Londoners will have a regular season of 23 games (11 doubleheaders and 1 single).

View the Double-A schedule



Bracknell Inferno
Essex Archers
Forest Glade Redbacks
Herts Eagles
Herts Raptors
London Minotaurs
London Mustangs
Richmond Dukes.

Teams TBC

At the time of publishing this article the BBF website displays only one of the two Single-A pools so we will update this article when Pool B is confirmed.

The only change in Pool A is the addition of the London Minotaurs – the latest in the long list of London teams. They take the place of the London Musketeers who have been elevated to the Double-A League this year.

Teams will play a regular season of 28 games (14 doubleheaders), including four games between the Herts Raptors and Herts Eagles. Two of these games are to be played on the last day of the regular season.  Could these games determine who qualifies for the Postseason?

View the Single-A schedule – Pool A



The postseason format and schedule has not been announced so it will be interesting to see what the playoffs will look like.

Of course, the regular season and postseason schedules will be affected by coronavirus and the BBF will have the important task of finding the best solution when the planet starts to return to normality after coronavirus.

Until then, there is one very important thing which British baseball players and fans can do to help – Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.

Note: This article aims to analyse the changes to the league lineup compared to last year, however last year’s standings and scoreboards are not currently available on the BBF site so the comparison is done using only the information available to us about 2019.