Category: Eagles

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.

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.

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:

TEAM LEAGUE HOME BALLPARK
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.

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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.

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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.

NATIONAL BASEBALL LEAGUE

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

 

TRIPLE-A LEAGUE

POOL A
East London Latin Boys
Essex Redbacks
Herts Hawks
Kent Buccaneers
London Mammoths
London Marauders
POOL B
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

 

DOUBLE-A LEAGUE

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

 

SINGLE-A LEAGUE

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

POOL B
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

 

POSTSEASON

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.

Herts Spring League postponed

 

Due to the Corona Virus Covid-19 pandemic, Herts Baseball Club has made the difficult decision to postpone all 37 Herts Spring League games which were scheduled to be played over the next three weeks.

The decision is being taken as a precaution because our top priority must be the safety and wellbeing of the 19 teams and the umpires, officials and staff involved in the HSL. The Club does not have any reason to believe that any of the participating teams is affected by Corona Virus.

Herts Baseball Club will continue to monitor all guidance offered by the NHS, the UK government and other relevant bodies and, if feasible, will explore the option to re-schedule HSL games, depending on how the 2020 British baseball league season is affected by Corona Virus.

The Club is determined to make sure that baseball activities resume as soon as possible.

Herts teams announce preliminary 2020 rosters for the HSL

The five Herts teams have announced their preliminary rosters for the 2020 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 2020 Opening Day rosters. The Falcons (NBL) and Hawks (Triple-A) rosters are combined for this reason and it is expected that there will be a large amount of crossover between the two teams throughout the HSL.

The HSL games commence on 14 March 2020.

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 FALCONS (NBL) / HERTS HAWKS (Triple-A)

Alessandro D’Angelo
Alexander Paterson
Andy Cornish
Antony Lavender
Ben Kersey
Carlos Casal Jr
Chris Doley
Christopher Gregory
Colin Barrett
Conner Brown
Cristobal Hiche
Daniel Moran
Dennis Grogan
Duane  Hobbs
Gary Davison
Gilberto Medina
James Shore
Jarrod Pretorius
Joshua Barrett
Kimiyoshi Saionji
Lucas Lebrato
Luis Ramey
Matthew Kersey
Matthew Moran
Michael Cresswell
Miguel  Rodriguez
Phil Clark
Robert Gibson
Ryan Lose
Sonam Lama
Tetsuro Shinkawa
Walter Bates
Will Davis
Will Zucker
Yasu Ichige

HERTS LONDONERS (Double-A)

Adam Porte
Andrew Slater
Callum Barwick
Daniel Gipple
Geoff Hare
Greg Bochan
Hunter Devine
Jamie Lang-Richards
Joe Gipple
Matthew Jackson
Michael Wakelam
Nicholas Durer
Nicolas Goetz
Oliver Durer
Rob Jones
Rod Naghar
Simon Langton

HERTS RAPTORS (Single-A)

Adam Scales
Adam White
Antonio Lourenco
Ben Marques
Cameron Schultz
Charlie Plausin
Clive Johnson
Dale Hardwick
Dan Bartram
Daniel Shaw
David Borland
David Grindstaff
Declan Carlean
Harry Quixley
Jack Obrien
John Kjorstad
Kai Rajah
Laurence  Currington
Lee Manning
Mantas Poderys
Michael Bull
Michael Johnson
Michael Long
Mohamed Sheikh
Nathan Hawes
Noah Tabor
Paul Barton
Robert Smith
Tia Cooper
Tom Lock
Tom Roker

HERTS EAGLES (Single-A)

Adam Collins
Alexander Trautman
Andy Stratford
Arnold Longboy
Aspi Dimitrov
Ellie Page
Giacomo Zaffalon
Harry Kurlander
James Hawes
Jenny  Fairclough Jnr
Jonathan George
Kumail Jaffer
Max  Trautman
Mohamed Abdule
Nintend Edwell
Norman Peng
Sam Cross
Tara Harris

Players, from beginners to advanced, are now registering for the 2020 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 2020 British baseball season

The biggest pre-season baseball competition in Britain is back. Commencing on March 14, 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/Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A – based on the ranking of the teams going into the 2020 BBF League season.

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 at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead, the home of Herts Baseball Club.

SCHEDULE

Over the three weekends 37 games are scheduled to be played on the two diamonds. The competition begins on March 14 with a morning clash between the Richmond Dukes and the Herts Raptors in the HSL Single-A division. The HSL NBL division commences on Diamond One as the Herts Falcons come up against the Richmond Knights.

Click to view full 2020 HSL schedule

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 2020 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 2020 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 London Archers are also back for their third year in the HSL. They made history last year by becoming the first British team to win the Pony European Championships and qualified for the Pony World Series which was played in Pennsylvania.  They will use the HSL as part of their preparations for this year’s PONY European Tournament later this year.

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

HSL – NBL/Triple-A
TEAM CLASS HSL RANKING
Herts Falcons NBL 2
Herts Hawks AAA 6
London Capitals NBL 1
London Marauders AAA 5
London Mammoths AAA 3
Richmond Knights AAA/AA 4
HSL – Double-A
TEAM CLASS HSL RANKING
Guildford Mavericks AA/A 9
Herts Londoners AA 11
London Archers AA 10
London Musketeers AA 12
Milton Keynes Bucks AA 7
Sidewinders AA 8
HSL – Single-A
TEAM CLASS HSL RANKING
Bracknell Inferno A 13
Herts Eagles A 16
Herts Raptors A 18
London Mustangs A 14
London Minotaurs A 19
Milton Keynes Coyotes A 15
Richmond Dukes A 17

 

SCHEDULE AND FORMAT

The HSL will be played over three weeks commencing on the weekend of 14-15 March and ending on 28-29 March. 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.

Herts confirm 2020 league entries. Hawks and Londoners swap leagues.

Around this time of the year Herts baseball fans keep checking their smartphones for the official announcement of the Herts teams which will play in the various leagues of the British Baseball Federation (BBF).

The club has just confirmed that they have submitted five team entries.  Its flagship team, the Herts Falcons, will be looking to improve on last year when it finished in third place in Britain’s top league, 17 games back on the London Mets and 8 on the London Capitals.

The big change this year is that the Herts Hawks have applied to move up from the Double-A to the Triple-A League, while the Herts Londoners are moving down from Triple-A to Double-A. Tetsuro Shinkawa was appointed as the new Triple-A manager at the club’s annual general meeting last month and he will be taking charge of the Hawks in that league. The name of the new Herts Londoners manager has not been revealed yet.

There is no change for the Raptors and Eagles.  They both remain in the Single-A League which means that their rivalry continues and they will meet again in a Herts derby in 2020. As reported last month, Herts Raptors begin a new era under manager, Mantas Poderys.

A tweet from the club two days ago indicated that there has been a 20.8% increase in the number of registered players compared to the same time last year. We understand that the club did consider the possibility of adding a sixth team for the first time in its history, but that they chose not to overstretch the squads.

The teams have once again left room in their rosters so new players, from complete beginners to advanced, can join the club and go straight into the races for the playoffs with a team suitable for their level.

Existing players who have not reactivated their registration for the 2020 season can do so here. New players can register for the new season here or, if you would like to take part in one of the upcoming open sessions to give baseball a try and help you decide whether to join the club, then contact us for more details.