Category: Adult Leagues

Herts Cardinals win over Bristol Badgers sets up Playoff semi-final versus Bournemouth Bears

Herts Cardinals win over Bristol Badgers sets up Playoff semi-final versus Bournemouth Bears

The Triple-A League Playoff race was decided on the last day of the 28-game regular season as the Herts Cardinals overcame the Bristol Badgers to stay ahead of them in fourth place.

They jumped to an early 5-1 lead after a 2-run double by Tyler Cote and a 2-run single by Giorgio Ferroni who entered the game in the second inning substituting James Cavanagh who suffered a dislocated shoulder after a diving catch in centerfield.

The Badgers scored 2 runs to reduce the deficit to 5-3 but the home team pulled away with another 4 runs after hits from Andy Cornish, Giorgio Ferroni, Osvaldo Badia, Erik Gustafson and a 2-run single by Tyler Cote.

That took the game beyond Bristol and it finished with a final score of 10-5.  Erik Gustafson was the winning pitcher while Naohiko Kumagai picked up the save.

Game One Box Scores: Herts Cardinals 10 Bristol Badgers 5

This win meant that the Cardinals had booked their place in the Playoffs as the Badgers could no longer overtake them.

They ended their regular season in style winning the second game of the day which means their record is 13-12 with a .520 win-loss average. Stephen Wong was the winning pitcher and Kumagai closed the game for his second save of the day.

Game Two Box Scores: Herts Cardinals 11 Bristol Badgers 7

The Herts Cardinals are now preparing for a trip to Bournemouth this Sunday to face the top seeded Bears. They are the favourites to win this semi-final, but the Cardinals have already shown that they are very capable of competing against the Bournemouth Bears having won 2 of the 4 games played between the two teams during the regular season.

Herts fans can follow the play-by-play updates live on the BBF website.

The winner will play in the final at Farnham Park on Sunday, 17 September against the winner of the other semi-final between the Richmond Knights and the London Metros.

The last time a  team from Hertfordshire won the Triple-A League National Championship was in 2008 when the Herts Falcons beat the Oxford Kings 5-2 and won promotion to the National Baseball League.

Herts Ravens face Cambridge Royals in Wild Card game. Winner will be off to Cardiff for Semi-Final.

Herts Ravens face Cambridge Royals in Wild Card game. Winner will be off to Cardiff for Semi-Final.

On Sunday, Herts Ravens fans were anxiously following the game updates from around the Single-A League divisions. When the final out of  the 2023 regular season was recorded and after some off-field BBF deliberations, the Ravens were confirmed as the fourth seed team for the Postseason.

Wins for the Cardiff Merlins, Tonbridge Bobcats and London Mustangs on the final day combined with a decision by the league to roll back the score of the earlier Ravens versus MK Bucks game which was suspended tied 5-5 in extra innings and has now been declared as a 4-3 Bucks win, meant that the  Ravens dropped from second to fourth seed.

Single-A Postseason Seedings (Win-Loss %)

  • 1st Seed – Cardiff Merlins (.917) – Severn Pool Winner
  • 2nd Seed – Tonbridge Bobcats  (.913) – South East Pool Winner
  • 3rd  Seed – London Mustangs (.893) – South Central A Pool Winner
  • 4th Seed – Herts Ravens (.875) – South Central B Pool Winner
  • 5th Seed – Cambridge Royals (.625) – East of England Pool Winner

This implies that the Herts Ravens will have to go through a Wild Card game to earn the right to play in the Semi-Final. Their opponents will be the Cambridge Royals who are the fifth seed but the win-loss average in the different pools may not be the best indicator of the strength of these teams as there are no interleague games between the five pools and there may be a disparity in the strength of opponents in each pool.

As the higher seed, the Ravens will have home field advantage in this Wild Card Game so it will be played at their home field – Basing Hill Ballpark in north west London. First pitch is at 12pm. Admission is free and fans are advised to bring their own seating as the ballpark may not have enough seating capacity for everyone.

If the Ravens overcome the Royals, they will need to swiftly get on the M4 motorway to meet the Cardiff Merlins in the Semi-Final which will be played in Cardiff 24 hours later – a 300-mile round trip.

Fans who cannot see the game in person can follow update on the BBF website.

Herts Cardinals need a win this Sunday to make the Playoffs

Herts Cardinals need a win this Sunday to make the Playoffs

The Herts Cardinals are currently 4th in the Triple-A League standings.  They face fifth-placed Bristol Badgers on Sunday knowing they will need to win one of the two games to stay ahead of them and qualify for the Playoffs. 


The two teams have played each other twice so far this season when they met on Opening Day in Bristol. The Cardinals won both of those games but they were closely-fought encounters – 5-4 and 5-2.

The starting pitchers for the Herts team in those games were Tyler Cote and Stephen Wong and they faced Bristol’s starters Luke Claflin and Deivydas Trinkunas, respectively. Other potential starters for the Badgers are Nerius Tamosiunas and player-manager Rhodri Theaker.

Roberto Hernandez is the Herts Cardinals’ home run leader this season (photo by Tony Small)

The Cardinals will have home-field advantage and Herts fans can support them by coming to Basing Hill Ballpark this Sunday.  First pitch is at 12pm. Admission is free.

Those who can’t be at the ballpark can follow the live updates on the BBF scoreboard webpage.

Herts Ravens book Playoff ticket. Scores on Sunday will decide the seeding.

Herts Ravens book Playoff ticket. Scores on Sunday will decide the seeding.

Two hard-fought wins for the Herts Ravens against the Herts Raptors on Sunday confirmed their place in the Single-A League Playoffs. Those were their final regular season games and the wins mean that they will finish top of their pool ahead of the Milton Keynes Bucks.


The two teams were neck-and-neck all season long but the Ravens’ 19 consecutive wins were enough to win the race despite losing their first two games in Milton Keynes on Opening Day.

Pitcher Nic Goetz will go into the postseason with a 2.52 ERA, 54 strikeouts and a 7-0 record

The Herts Ravens now wait for the outcome of other games in the other pools this Sunday to find out their seeding and who they will face in the postseason.

Going into Sunday’s games they have the second best win-loss average among the first placed teams in the four Single-A League pools.

  • 1st Seed – Tonbridge Bobcats (.900) – South East
  • 2nd Seed – Herts Ravens (.896) – South Central Pool B
  • 3rd Seed – London Mustangs (.885) – South Central Pool A
  • 4th Seed – Cambridge Royals – (.625) – East of England

If Tonbridge slip up against the Hurricanes, the Ravens will leap ahead of them.

The Single-A League postseason format and schedule (photo by the BBF)

To follow live updates on Sunday go to the BBF scoreboard webpage.

Players have started registering for the 2023 Hunlock Series

Players have started registering for the 2023 Hunlock Series

The 2023 BBF season is approaching its climax but, whether your team makes it to the Playoffs or not, arguably the best part of the season is still to come.

Every year, after the end of the BBF season and just when the MLB postseason is about to start, players from Herts and other British baseball clubs – as well as overseas players – compete over several weeks in a tournament in memory of Herts Baseball Club’s number 36, the late Kyle Hunlock.


This is the 17th year of the Hunlock Series. In its inaugural year in 2006 two teams were involved, the Falcons and the Hawks. The format of the competition has evolved since then. The club has over 170 registered adult players this year and a considerable number of new players are expected to register to play in the Series. As players sign up over the next few weeks we will know how many teams will enter the Series this year.


It will be played over three Sundays on 1, 8 and 15 October. This is later than in previous years due to BBF adult and youth postseason playoffs being played over all four Sundays of September. 

See last year’s Hunlock Series schedule and standings.


Games will be played at two ballparks – Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead and Basing Hill Ballpark in London (both pictured above).


Any players aged 14 and over on 31 December 2023 are eligible to play in the Hunlock Series.


As in previous years, the teams will be selected by the team managers during the Hunlock Series Draft. Who will be the first round picks? How will Single-A league players and newcomers perform alongside NBL and Triple-A players?

Over the years we have seen how decisions made during the Draft can shape the outcome of the Series before a pitch has been thrown. The managers will have to make carefully calculated decisions if they are to put together a team which can compete for the Hunlock Series title, otherwise they face miserable few weeks.

With all of the club’s managers and coaching staff observing these games, players who have been pushing for promotion to a higher league team will have the perfect opportunity during the Hunlock Series to make a claim to play on the bigger stage in 2024.


The club has also received enquiries from many potential new members over the last few weeks and this event is the ideal opportunity for them to come and play and help them decide whether to join the club for the 2024 season.


All Hunlock Series players will be drafted into teams. To be eligible for the Draft you will need to update your availability for ALL the Hunlock Series dates in the online Clubhouse by 7pm Monday, 18 September. If you miss the deadline or the first one or two weeks of games, don’t worry. You will still be eligible to play but will have to be assigned as a free agent after the Draft.

If you already have a Clubhouse account you can update availability for the Hunlock Series dates by logging on with your existing username and password. Click here to go to the Clubhouse.

If you do not have a Clubhouse account but wish to play in the Hunlock Series, please register here and select “Play Hunlock Series” in the membership category list. After registering you can log on and mark your availability.


2023 Herts club members do not have to pay an entry fee as the Hunlock Series is part of their membership package. If you don’t have a Hunlock Series team shirt, you can buy one before your first game. The team shirt is expected to be priced at around £10. You can also exchange a team shirt if you are drafted in a different colour team.

New players or players from other clubs can play by paying the £24 entry fee which includes a free Hunlock Series shirt of the team which has drafted them.


For more details about playing in the Hunlock Series, contact us.

Eagles celebrate big moment; Ravens, Cards get crucial wins

A win is a win, but some wins are bigger than others. For the Herts Eagles, the victory at the Essex Redbacks on Sunday was special. It was, they said, “epic”. For this was their first win this season, which has been a tough year in which a team made up of largely rookie players battled numbers, availability, and the baseball gods.

The first game of the double-header had ended in a 5-5 tie which was, in itself, a great step forward. Joseph Coulson struck out 7 in a complete game effort, and made a highlight reel catch in foul ground. The Eagles outhit the Redbacks, too.

But even better was to come in Game 2. Jake Spicer turned in a solid pitching performance, and he was backed with an offense which struck early and often. Neil Chilton and Pavan Sunkara delivered key hits in the first inning, Sammy English ran wild on the bases in the second, and the Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead.

Defense, as always, was crucial too. A double play at first base, and a great catch down the left field line by Atena Barani, helped protect the lead. And when Spicer tired in the final inning, Chilton stepped in for the save. He secured the final out with a fielders’ choice at home plate, and Eagles took the game 9-6.

Manager Reece Crawley – who said he was “on cloud 9” after the win – had a long list of shout-outs to every member his squad for giving everything. “I couldn’t be prouder of the hard work and dedication of a team that never gave up”, he said.

There was credit for George Llewellyn Thomas – for keeping the spirits high when energy was low — and to coach Sydney McCall – for helping everyone stay focused, and to move when they had to and stay when they needed to!

A team wins together, and the Eagles were able to celebrate together after a well-deserved victory.

The Herts Ravens took their win streak up to 15 games in their Single-A doubleheader at Grovehill against the Herts Raptors. The Ravens are leading their division, but the post-season rules mean every game is a must-win to be sure of a place and to secure seeding.

Zak Beller at bat

Eddie Wang took the win in Game 1, his sixth of the year. He didn’t perhaps have his best stuff and the Raptors offered stiff resistance, working walks and mustering 6 hits – Max Kuszewski with two of them. But Wang battled out of trouble and he was helped by the crucial batting power of Ravens’ lefty slugger Zak Beller. He went 4-for-4 with two doubles and a triple, and drove in 7. It ended 19-8.

Game 2 saw ace Nic Goetz deliver the goods again, striking out 7 to take the win. But again Raptors fought hard, with Jamie Wise and Natasha Romoff among the hits. For the Ravens, Jack Page got two hits to drive the offense. Sonam Lama also racked up his sixth walk and fifth run of the day, and helped nail down the 13-6 win.

On Grovehill’s other diamond, the Herts Hawks of the Double-A league were facing the MK Bucks, who are challenging for the playoffs.

While wins eluded the Hawks in both games, there were some outstanding performances. Jack O’Brien was excellent on the mound, striking out 7 and dominating the opposition in much of the first game. Kobby Darteh drove in a pair and both he and Seth Muirden — recently promoted from the junior leagues – put in huge and successful efforts to adapt to the senior leagues.

Game 2 saw tremendous defence from Harry McMenamin and from Max Farmborough, who put in an excellent shift at shortstop, out of his usual positions. He ended one inning with an impressive double play, making the catch and gunning out an aggressive runner trying to score. Manager Ken Pike felt his team were starting to show their mettle as they tightened their defense and got the bats going – “the Hawks may be newly promoted but they are starting to show that the step up, while it’s a challenge, is setting great groundwork to re-establishing a credible Herts Hemel Hempstead double A presence.”

The Hawks defensive aces

The Cardinals faced Bournemouth Bears at Basing Hill in Triple-A, and needed to get a result if they were to stay in the playoff hunt. The Bears took the win 7-2 in Game 1, despite a solid outing by Tyler Cote and three hits by Osvaldo Badia.

But the big win came in Game 2. Early exchanges were tight, but then the Cardinals went ahead for good. RBIs by Badia, Cote and Mike Cresswell gave the home side a 5-3 lead. They extended it in the fourth, courtesy of Naohiko Kumagai and Hiroki Fujimoto, who both enjoyed multi-hit games.

Brian Dearing took the 9-3 victory on the mound, surrendering just 3 runs in five innings of work. Stephen Wong recorded the save and the Cardinals stay in the postseason race.

The Ducks were swept by Sidewinders in their doubleheader in Double-A, while the Herts Falcons went out with a bang as they were finally eliminated from playoff contention in the NBL. They pushed the London Capitals all the way, even going to extras in Game 2. But they came away empty handed, and because rained out games against Sheffield can’t be rescheduled they are out of the race.

There was a welcome treat for Falcons fans – and British baseball fans more generally – as the games were streamed online. Viewers checked in from around the world to see the drama, and to see how well the Falcons closed their first season back in the top flight.

Ravens Round the Bases on Raptors

Ravens Bring the Heat to Raptors

The second matchup between the Ravens and Raptors saw many of the Ravens hitting for the fences.

Game One

Game One saw Wei-Chieh Wang take the mound as the starting pitcher, hoping for his 6th win this season. The Ravens were driven through the early innings by their rapid pitching and solid defence.

Zak Beller Rounding Second Base

Slugging champion Zak Beller stepped up to the plate for his 4th at-bat of the game, and with two doubles and a triple already under his belt, he was ready to go again. An at-bat filled with foul balls and wild pitches meant Beller had to be careful with what he chose to swing at, but when the perfect ball fell through the zone, all he had to do was unleash the bat. The Raptors left fielder was left sprinting for the fences, desperate to throw the ball back to the infield before Beller could reach third, but to no avail. He took his place on third base once more, only a short distance from home plate, and his cheering team. “Triple No.2 and Hit No.4 for Zak Beller”

The Game ended a 19-8 victory for the Ravens, a fantastic display of hitting and fielding, especially by the undisputed Player of the Day, Zak Beller.

Game Two

Nic Goetz on the Mound

Nic Goetz walked up and took his place on the mound as game two’s starting pitcher. With his fingers gripped firmly around the baseball and his eyes focused on the glove of catcher Hunter Devine, he was ready. The inning saw strike after strike, batter after batter, and ended with all three outs credited to Goetz.

Rookie right-fielder Jack Page lead game two in hits after hitting the ball past the infielders in both corners, allowing himself to reach first base easily. Last years rookie Henry Bell also hit to the outfield on his second double of the day. His early swing of the bat squeezed the ball straight down the left field line, narrowly avoiding the Raptors third-baseman and giving him the time to round the bag and stand up safely into second base.

Sonam Lama showed incredible patience and plate vision after tallying up six walks across the two games. He made the most out these oppurtunities, making his way around the bases and bringing in runs for the team four of those times.

The Game ended a 13-6 victory for the Ravens, their 15th consecutive win.

The Ravens are facing the Essex Redbacks next on the 20th of August, their final game at Basing Hill.

Falcons season ends with a dramatic game, decided in extra innings.

Falcons season ends with a dramatic game, decided in extra innings.

The Falcons played their final game of the 2023 National Baseball League season. It ended with yet another heartbreaking loss in extra innings but the team undoubtedly gave everything to end the season on a high as an audience from around the world watched the live stream on YouTube.

Their opponents were the London Capitals who were already guaranteed a place in the Playoffs having secured third place in the regular season standings behind the Mets and the Arrows.

A few days before the game the Falcons received the bad news from the British Baseball Federation that there are no available dates to re-schedule the two rained out games versus Sheffield Bruins and they will not be played. This implied that the team from Hemel Hempstead was eliminated.

The Caps were in control from start to finish in the first game of this doubleheader as starting pitcher Masa Hashiguchi was dominant again.  This was his ninth win of the season giving him an impressive ERA of 3.69 for the year.

Capitals vs Falcons – game one box scores

With the Playoffs out of their reach, most teams would have started thinking about the off-season, but the Herts Falcons were not ready to pack their bags yet.

(Photo by Tony Small)

Starting on the mound for them was Alex Deacon and he had another quality start allowing only 3 runs over his 5 innings of work, striking out 6 batters. He was also among the top performers in the Herts offense, going 3-for-4 with 2 RBI. Matt Moran, Phil Clark and Tyler Cote also contributed with 2 hits each. Cote was called-up from the club’s Triple-A team, the Herts Cardinals, and he impressed offensively and defensively.

The game was streamed live on YouTube thanks to the fantastic coverage by Journey Sports Media crew. Those who tuned in were invited to vote for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the game. Falcons player-manager, Cris Hiche, received the highest number of votes, closely followed by Alex Deacon. Hiche spectacular diving catch in centerfield to add to his outstanding batting performance (2-4, 2B) must have played a part when those votes were cast.

The visitors from Hertfordshire took a 6-3 lead into the final inning but the Capitals produced a dramatic comeback scoring 3 runs to take the game into extra innings.

The Falcons scored 2 in the top of the 8th inning but the Londoners came back again. A triple from former Falcon, Will Zucker, and then a single by Pete Wiedmann drove in the 3 runs they needed to win with a final score of 9-8.

Capitals vs Falcons – game two box scores

This is proving to be the story of the season for the Herts Falcons. In fact this game was almost identical to the opening game of the season when the Capitals again came back to tie the game in the final inning and win it in extra innings.

The players and coaching staff will probably by disappointed to end the season 4 games back from the Playoff zone, but this was the first season back in the NBL for the Falcons and all those who saw them in action this season will agree that this young squad has an enormous potential.  They will most certainly be climbing up the NBL standings in the coming years if they can realize that potential.

Rumble of the Ravens and Raptors

Rumble of the Ravens and Raptors

A late-day start for the Ravens meant Basing Hill had already seen plenty of action, but there was more to come.

Game One

Hang Li stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat of the day, and after taking three straight balls, with a walk looking likely, a sudden swing of the bat saw the ball soar over the left fielder and land beyond the fence. He rounded the bases as cheers and celebration waited for him at home plate. “2-Run HOME RUN for the Ravens”

As a new inning begun, starting pitcher Nic Goetz returned to the mound, and with his lightning fastball, he sat down three of the Raptors in quick succession. “1, 2, 3 inning for the Ravens”

With the Ravens returning to bat, third baseman Greg Bochan stepped forward and took his position in the batter’s box. With two baserunners waiting to be batted in, Bochan delivered a powerful line drive double to left centre to achieve just that, his second double of the game. “2-Run double No. 2 for Greg Bochan”

With his foot by the base and glove pointed at the batter, first baseman Hang Li was ready for the play ahead. No sooner than the sound of the crack of the bat echoed through the infield, the sound of the snap of his glove replaced it. The batter had hit the ball directly into his glove, and with a diving effort to tag up, the baserunner was unable to beat the force out. “Bang-Bang double play for the Ravens”

The game ended in the 4th inning at 12-0, a Shutout for ERA Extraordinaire Nic Goetz, his 3rd of the season.

Game Two

With another win under their belt, and starting pitcher Wei-Chieh Wang warming up, the Ravens were ready to face the Raptors on the field once again.

The Raptors’ offensive effort had the Ravens looking to the sky, as two consecutive flyouts to both; the pitcher, Wei-Chieh Wang, and the centre fielder, Henry Bell, took the Ravens two steps closer to ending the inning. “Flyout to 1, Flyout to 8”

The bottom of the inning saw the Ravens capitalise on the walks they were given, as base hits from the top of the order and a double by Ravens second baseman Gilberto Medina brought in those on the bases. “Ravens bring in 5 to end the inning.”

With a nine-run deficit, the Raptors needed to give the final inning their all. Two singles by the starting batters provided the Raptors with prime runners in scoring position, who rounded the final bases shortly afterwards due to a throwing error by the Ravens. But ultimately, after some well-fielded groundouts, the Ravens got out of the inning to end the game as another win.

The game ended 13-8, marking a 5th win for Wei-Chieh Wang and a 13th consecutive win for the Ravens.

The Ravens and the Raptors will face off again on the 13th of August, at Grovehill Ballpark.

Falcons’ game at Bruins postponed. Rain may have ended their NBL Playoff hopes.

Falcons’ game at Bruins postponed. Rain may have ended their NBL Playoff hopes.

Earlier this evening, the Herts Falcons received confirmation from the Sheffield Bruins that Sunday’s deciding game in the NBL Playoff race has been postponed due to weather and ground conditions at Thorpe Green Park in Sheffield.

photo by Sheffield Bruins

Images coming in from Sheffield showed a waterlogged home plate and around one inch of standing water on the surface. Perhaps an MLB grounds crew would have been able to cope with this relatively easily, but most British clubs don’t have the staff to deal with such situations and, if the standing water on the grass is more widespread, that probably makes it impossible if the field does not drain well naturally after prolonged rain as most British baseball clubs do not have under-soil drainage.

video by Sheffield Bruins

If these two games cannot be rescheduled, mathematically, the Herts Falcons would be eliminated from the Playoff race. Even if the Falcons win their two remaining games away at the London Capitals and the Bruins lose theirs away at the Latin Boys. In that scenario the Bruins would have a Win-Loss % of .263 while the Falcons would end the season with .261 keeping the Bruins ahead of the Falcons by a mere .002.

Home run by Tetsuro Shinkawa in the Falcons vs Bruins game which was suspended back on June 18th and was meant to be resumed this Sunday

Herts Baseball Club has enquired with the British Baseball Federation to find out whether the games can be rescheduled before the NBL Playoffs which commence on Sunday, August 20th. The Sheffield Bruins already have four other games which were rained out earlier in the season and are not expected to be played so, fitting these two games into the calendar seems highly unlikely.

As things stand, the Herts Falcons have two more games remaining this season against the London Capitals to be played at 1pm and 4pm on Saturday, 12 August, at Finsbury Park in London.