Category: Ravens

Ravens sweep leaders to cause biggest upset in AAA League season so far

Herts Ravens starting pitcher Louis Hare is now 2-0 for the season

Despite picking up two wins 7 days ago, the Herts Ravens were still languishing in the bottom end of the standings when they travelled to Oxford to face the AAA League leaders. The odds were stacked heavily against the Ravens and not even the most optimistic Herts fans would have predicted the eventual outcome of this Sunday’s doubleheader.

AAA League (Game1) Herts Ravens 6 Oxford Kings 4 (click to view box scores)

Manager Carlos Casal was unable to travel with the team after he aggravated his knee injury in the closing moments of last week’s game with the Leones. He had given his instructions to stand-in manager Louis Hare and one of those instructions was Hare to start on the mound in game 1. His last pitching outing was outstanding securing a 5-2 win against the red-hot Badgers. The team would need a similar performance to stay in the game and Louis Hare did not disappoint. Despite finding himself 4-1 down after 3 innings he shut the Kings out putting zeros in the next 4 innings.

Inside-the-park homerun by Xavier Gonzalez got the energy back into the Herts Ravens (photo by Will Baxter)

Time was running out and he needed some run-support. It came in the form of a 2-out inside the park home run by shortstop Xavier Gonzalez. That fired up the whole team. In the sixth inning they produced a big rally once again with two outs. Hits from Carlos Velazco-Carus (1-3, 2RBI, SB), Vassil Botev (1-4, SB) and again Xavier Gonzalez (3-4, 3RBI, HR, SB) contributed to a 4-run inning to give Herts a 6-4 lead.

Louis Hare, with solid support from his defence, shut the door on the Kings to secure a very satisfying come-from-behind win.

Liam Green shutout the Kings today (photo by Will Baxter)

AAA League (Game2) Herts Ravens 13 Oxford Kings 0 (F/5) (click to view box scores)

17-year-old Liam Green was the starting pitcher for Herts in the second game. The youngster from Hemel Hempstead has grown up with the Herts Baseball organisation from the age of 11 and he is now starting to add control to go along with his very strong arm. One-after-another the Oxford batters struggled to make any kind of solid contact. Any pitches which they managed to put in play were picked up by a Ravens defence which was outstanding the whole day. The team committed only 1 error in the first game of the day and no errors in the second game.

Oxford were also solid defensively committing only 1 error, but a combination of 10 hits and 9 walks cost them as the visitors from Hertfordshire built up a 13-0 lead. Jon Lewys stood out with the bat hitting 3-for-3 with 2 RBI.

Liam Green stayed strong until the end pitching a 2-hitter, complete game shutout. Most importantly he walked only 3, a sign that he is gradually becoming a pitcher rather than just a thrower.

Manager Carlos Casal was kept abreast of events in Oxford and was delighted with the result. “I am very proud of the whole team. Great work. I just wish I was there” said Casal.

The win lifts the Herts Ravens into 6th place in the standings with a 5-9 record. It is still very difficult to imagine that they can turn a nightmare 1-9 start of the season and sneak into the playoff positions, but if they continue to play flawless baseball as they did today, we could be looking at the most amazing comeback in sport.


Ravens prevail in a fiery encounter

Liam Green had to perform under pressure in extra innings and he didn't disappoint (photo by Will Baxter)

The Herts Ravens have had a difficult time so far in their debut season in the AAA-League, but this weekend they secured two morale-boosting wins against the Leones de Feltham to put their season back on track. There was danger that the final innings of a thrilling second game in this doubleheader would be overshadowed by non-baseball events, but now that the dust has settled everyone who was at the game will begin to appreciate the exciting game which they witnessed.

AAA League (Game 1): Herts Ravens 16 Leones de Feltham 4 (click to view box scores)

The Ravens welcomed back starting pitcher, Petar Kikel, for his first league appearance of 2013. This was exactly the boost they needed. He gave the team 6 impressive innings allowing only 1 earned run on 4 hits and striking out 5. The team had put the nightmare 3-for-41 batting performance 7 days earlier at Finsbury Park behind them and produced 10 hits which included at least 1 hit from each of the batting spots from 1 to 9. Ben Marques also managed to steal home, although it wasn’t clear whether this play was put on by manager, Carlos Casal, and whether his team mate who was up at bat knew about it. The Leones didn’t help themselves walking 11 batters and this deadly combination of hits and walks produced 16 runs and a final score of 16-4 in 6 innings.

AAA League (Game 2): Herts Ravens 10 Leones de Feltham 9 (F/8) (click to view box scores)

The second game proved to be a much closer encounter. Tom Everex-Armstrong had an effective performance on the mound. He was relieved by Matt Spaulding who played his first game of the 2013 season did not allow any earned runs, striking out 5 over 3 2/3 innings.

The Ravens had a big third inning putting 5 runs on the scoreboard with a big hit from Gilberto Medina (2-2), and a 1-run double by Petar Kikel. Jon Lewys also had a good day batting 4-for-8 over the two games. Feltham responded with 4 runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game and then scored 2 more in the fourth to take an 8-6 lead.

The Ravens found it much more difficult to connect solidly against Feltham’s pitcher, Jeffry, in this game. He was mixing his curveball well with a good fastball, but the biggest hurdle which batters from both teams had to battle with all day was the inconsistent strike zone. Pitches at eye level were called strikes and at times batters felt helpless. The frustration was growing on both sides. The umpire didn’t help himself by allowing players to question decision of strikes and balls, safe or out, foul or fair, balk or no balk. Sometimes these discussions between players, managers and umpire involved 10 or more people and resembled a session to approve a United Nations resolution. A doubleheader would usually end at around 5pm. On this occasion the time was 7pm and the game was reaching an exciting climax.

The Ravens pulled one run back in the sixth but were facing defeat trailing 8-7 in the final inning. A lead-off single by Mike Cattermole was exactly what they needed. He moved to second after the next batter was walked and managed to get to third on a wild pitch. Up stepped player-manager, Carlos Casal, to pinch-hit carrying a knee injury. He grounded into a fielder’s choice but crucially brought Cattermole home to tie the game. Despite his injury Casal’s enthusiasm on the base paths could not be contained. He stole second base and then limped another 90 feet to advance to third (with 1 out) on the overthrow, visibly in pain willing to wreck his knee ligaments for the cause. Ultimately he was stranded on third base as the next two batters struck out after some very controversial umpiring calls.

Herts brought Liam Green to pitch in the bottom of the inning with the game on the line and no room for error. The leadoff batter for Feltham, Miguel, appeared to lose his cool on a slightly wild pitch from Liam Green and he stepped towards the mound accusing the pitcher of throwing to hit the batter intentionally. During that exchange there was fear that the game will not be able to restart as the tension had risen considerably. It took several minutes for the situation to calm down. The game resumed and Green managed to strike out the batter and calmly went on to induce two more quick outs and take the game into extra innings.

In the top of the eighth inning the Ravens somehow managed to manufacture two runs on two walks and two errors, without a hit. Leones responded in the bottom of the inning scoring a run and putting the tying run on second base but Liam kept his composure to secure the game, helped along the way by Jake Caress who made a spectacular diving catch in centerfield with the game on the line.

Despite the unpleasant incident in the final inning, the two teams shook hands at the end of the game and showed a great deal of appreciation and respect towards each other wanting to put the confrontation behind after what was a very exciting game of baseball.


8 Herts teams in action this weekend


The baseball weekend begins with games from the BBF U17 League and the Herts U11 Series at Grovehill Ballpark. The U17 teams of Herts, Horsham and Leicester will clash in a repeat of their round-robin day played on 18 May.

U17 League: 10:30 Leicester Blue Sox vs Herts Harriers (6 innings)

U17 League: 13:00 Horsham Hornets vs Leicester Blue Sox (6 innings)

U17 League: 15:30 Herts Harriers vs Horsham Hornets (6 innings)


At the same time on the Old Diamond the U11 Series between the Herts Dodgers and the Herts Giants continues. After last week’s game, the Giants lead the series by 1 game. This Saturday the teams will play two games, a chance for the Dodgers not only to tie the series but maybe even jump ahead of the Giants.

U11 League: 10:00 Herts Dodgers vs Herts Giants (4 innings)

U11 League: 12:00 Herts Dodgers vs Herts Giants (4 innings)



Rei Martinez (right) is expected to start one of the games against the Falcons this Sunday. He also leads the Blazers in home runs.


The Herts Falcons (10-4) travel to the impressive Bracknell Blazers (7-7) this Sunday looking to keep their momentum after 4 edge-of-the-seat wins against the Mustangs and the Mets who were ahead of the Falcons in the standings before these encounters. Herts are now tied in first place with London, however they will know that a slip-up could undo all the good work of the past few weeks and give London and Southampton the advantage again.

They are coming up against a Bracknell team which has rebuilt very well after a disappointing 2012 season which they finished with 6 wins and 16 losses (win-loss % .273). Their pitching staff is considered one of the best in the NBL and they have already proven that they are capable of beating anyone. Jordan Edmonds, Rei Martinez and Henry Collins are the likely starting pitchers.

The Falcons go into the game with injury worries once again. Catcher, Dave Westfallen, was added to the list of injured players after he aggravated an old knee injury against the Mets last Sunday.


There were some heated moments, last time the Leones were in town (photo by Will Baxter)

It has been confirmed that this Sunday’s AAA-League doubleheader between the Herts Ravens and the Leones de Feltham has been moved to Grovehill Balpark. The games was originally scheduled to be played at Glebelands Field near Heathrow (West London), but the Leones have had ongoing problems with their field this season with many of their home games played at the venue of their opponents. The Ravens will still be considered the visitors in this game (i.e. batting first). The first game starts at 12:00 at the Old Diamond.


The Hawks travel to RAF Daws Hill where they will meet the unbeaten Spitfires (6-0). The last encounter between the two teams in 2012 ended with two wins for the Hawks which secured a playoff spot for them. The tables have turned to a certain extent as Herts expanded into 5 teams with many of last year’s Hawks moving up into AAA, while the Spitfires have reinforced well and have notched up 6 convincing wins to make them the favourites for the AA-League title.


The Herts Raptors come up against the Leicester 2Sox looking to stay top of the table. They won convincingly when the two teams met in Leicester on Opening Day. However, since then the Sox have been playing .500 baseball picking up 2 wins against the Old Timers and a heart-stopper 19-18 win against the Blackjacks. The game starts at 12:00pm at the New Diamond of Grovehill Ballpark, in Hemel Hempstead.

The Eagles travel to the Haverhill Blackjacks with a .500 win-loss record so far. They were outplayed by the Richmond Dukes last Sunday, so Manager Duncan Hoyle will need to pick up his players and get back to winning ways. A win on Sunday could see them go top of the standings depending on other results.


Win slips through Ravens claws as they leave 15 runners on base

The Herts Ravens travelled to Finsbury Park in the hope of pushing into the playoff race of the AAA League and they had the opportunity to do so, but failed to execute when the game was presented to them on a silver platter on numerous occasions.

AAA League Game 1: Herts Ravens 3 London Mets II 6 (click to view box scores)

The Mets II took a 6-1 lead in the first game of this doubleheader. Their pitchers Taichi and Rory Flood were doing very well to limit the Herts Ravens offense to 2 hits only but they were allowing too many walks (12). They allowed the bases to be loaded in 4 of the 7 innings most of which were with less than 2 outs. The Mets pitchers and defence somehow managed to get out of trouble with well executed double plays or strikeouts.

Despite this the Ravens will know that they missed a golden opportunity to pick up a win. They managed only 2 hits in 7 innings and left 15 runners on base, compared to 4 left on base by the Mets. They can take some positives though with Liam Green having a good outing and appearing to be recovering well after an arm injury earlier in the season. Green allowed only 1 earned run on 4 hits and, most importantly, no walks. Jake Caress also did well behind the plate catching a good game and working well with the pitchers to limit the Mets to 5 hits.

AAA League Game 2: Herts Ravens 0 London Mets II 12 (click to view box scores)

The Ravens had the opportunity to redeem themselves in the second game of the day, but came up against London’s pitcher, Matt, who dominated throughout. He struck out 9 and walked 2 in 5 innings of work. Going into the final inning he managed to get two quick outs and needed just one more to record an impressive no-hitter, but a 2-out line drive single to left centerfield took that away from him.

The Mets II clinched the win with a convincing 12-0 scoreline. Over the course of the two games only two Herts players managed to get a hit and the team as whole went 3-for-41, a batting average .073. Ravens Player-Manager, Carlos Casal, who is on the disabled list didn’t want to dwell too much on the outcome of this doubleheader. He said “It is best if we put this game behind us, put it out of our heads, recharge the batteries and come back strong next weekend against the Leones de Feltham”.


Gem by Hare gives Ravens first win

The Herts Ravens roster is gradually returning to full strength and they are starting to see the results. They went into Sunday’s clash with the Bristol badgers with a 0-4 record and they needed a win.

AAA League: Bristol Badgers 2 Herts Ravens 4 (click to view box scores)

Returning to the starting lineup were Jake Caress, Jon Lewys, Louis Hare, Matt Johnston and Vassil Botev. Louis Hare started on the mound and controlled the game from the first pitch locating the corners consistently. The Badgers were unable to get any runs on the board in the first 4 innings.

In the bottom of the second inning Ravens player-manager, Carlos Casal, hit a laser down the left field foul line to bring Jon Lewys home and give his team a 1-0 lead. Usually a hit like this is a sure double for Casal and he may even try to take third base, but he had to stop at first as he picked up a knee injury during a relay drill in the pre-game warm-up. He managed to play the whole of this first game, but sat out in the second game. He has been placed on the disabled list awaiting news of a MRI scan next week.

Herts extended the lead with 2 more runs in the bottom of the fourth after a single by Matt Johnston, a walk for Casal and a rare defensive error in a game which saw only 2 errors by Bristol and 1 by Herts.

The Badgers put together a big rally in the top of the fifth with 4 hits but even then the Ravens managed to restrict them to only 2 runs in that inning getting a key out in a close play at home. This was the first out of the inning and perhaps the Bristol third base coach was a little too eager to get on the scoreboard or perhaps they made the decision knowing that Herts pitcher Louis Hare had not allowed any runs in the previous 4 innings and felt that this is a rare opportunity to take a risk and force a run in.

The score was 3-2 and it seemed like the game was going to slip away from the Ravens. Up stepped Louis Hare in the bottom of the fifth with two outs to hit his second double of the day deep into right centerfield. Gilberto Medina followed up with a single to bring Hare home, giving his team a little more breathing space with the score at 4-2, but there was still a lot of work to be done as the surging Badgers had two more innings to try to come back into the game.

Louis Hare continued his outstanding pitching performance and produced two perfect innings retiring 6 consecutive batters to complete the game and secure the first win in the history of the Herts Ravens. The game ended very fittingly with Louis Hare making an amazing diving play against the dugout on the first base side of the field to grab a foul ball. The play has already been nominated for the Play of the Year Award and it would take something very special to beat it. Seth Lipstock did make a claim of his own in that same inning with a leaping catch at first base after a laser line drive, but the votes are likely to sway in Louis Hare’s favour as his catch seemed impossible to make.

AAA League: Bristol Badgers 11 Herts Ravens 2 (click to view box scores)

In game two it was the turn of Bristol’s pitcher Peralta to put on a show. He pitched a complete game allowing only 1 earned run on 3 hits and, similar to Louis Hare, did not allow any walks. Liam Green was back on the mound for Herts after recovering from a shoulder injury. Just seeing him back throwing is very positive news for the Ravens for the remainder of the season although he and the coaching staff would have to be careful until he builds up strength again and returns to 100% fitness. In view of his recovery Coach Carlos Casal made the right decision to use him sparingly and to substitute him after 3 innings of work.

Seth Lipstock came in to pitch for what was his first appearance on the mound, ever. The coaching staff had started discussing the idea of trying Lipstock on the mound earlier in the week as he has one of the strongest arms in the club even including the Herts NBL players. It took him 2 or 3 batters to get comfortable with the strike zone, but after that he did tremendously well pitching the remaining 4 innings against a hard-hitting Bristol team. He even managed to add an offspeed pitch in the later innings to accompany his good fastball. This is another positive news for the Ravens adding an extra player to the pitching staff as the season heats up.

Bristol won game two deservedly with a score of 11-2, but for the Ravens there were many positives to take from this doubleheader with more players like Kyle Lloyd-Jones, Mike Cattermole, Nic Goetz and Rod Naghar expected to make their come back shortly.

London Metros dominate against Herts Ravens

The London Metros picked up two comfortable wins against the Herts Ravens in the British AAA League. In both games of the doubleheader the Ravens kept up with the pace of the Metros up to the fourth inning and were very much in the game, but devastating batting display by the team from the capital in the fifth and sixth innings took the games beyond the reach of the Ravens.

Seth Lipstock was back for Herts and he made the defensive play of the day. That sparked a discussion in the Herts Ravens dugout about giving Lipstock an outing on the mound and see if opponents can handle the heat (photo by Will Baxter)

The Metros had the luxury of their NBL team resting this weekend and were able to call upon the services of two of their NBL starting pitchers. Ordinarily, under the league rules NBL pitchers would not be able to pitch in the lower leagues, however by virtue of the fact that the London Mets had played only two league games so far, pitchers who have pitched less than 14 innings for the London Mets in the NBL were able to pitch in this AAA league game. Right-hander Pietro Sollecito gave Herts a concoction of breaking pitches mixed with a change of speed which the visitors were not able to cope with. Sollecito allowed only 4 hits in 5 innings. Carlos Casal, Carlos Velazco-Carus and Dave Westfallen seemed most likely to make solid contact with his pitches and they did produce 3 of the 4 hits. In the bottom half of the innings the Metros always seemed to threaten, even in innings when they were not able to score any runs.

Click to view Game 1 box scores

Jonathan Cramman, the other member of the London Mets (NBL) pitching staff, started on the mound in game two. He also allowed only 4 Herts hits over 6 innings of work. 3 of those hits came in the fourth inning which put the Ravens right back in the game with the score 3-2 to the Metros, but once again London’s bats came alive in the last few innings of the game to complete a deserved 12-2 win.

Seth Lipstock made his first appearance of the season for the Ravens and he showed why he was one of the top performers for the Herts Hawks last season in what was the defensive play of the day. With 1 out Lipstock made a spectacular flyball catch in left field and then threw the ball all the way to home plate on a frozen rope straight into the glove of catcher Jake Caress to apply the tag on the helmet of the oncoming London player who was trying to score on the sacrifice fly. The runner managed to make contact with home plate just before the tag was applied, but that didn’t take away from the impressive throw which fans would expect to see from outfielders like Ichiro or Jeff Francoeur, but not in a AAA League game.

Click to view Game 2 box scores

“We couldn’t have asked for any more from our pitchers Mike Cattermole ad Carlos Velazco-Carus. We just couldn’t produce offensively to keep us in the games” said Herts Ravens Manager, Carlos Casal at the end of the day. He added “Despite the heavy defeats, the score does not tell the full story of these games. There were many positives and my players performed very well”.

With four defeats in the opening four games of the season, this is not the ideal start for the Ravens, but the Hawks had a similarly difficult start last year and ended up in the AA-League postseason and the national semi-finals. The team will certainly stay positive in the knowledge that over these first four games they had to field two very different teams due to player injuries and unavailability. When players like Jon Lewys, Louis Hare, Nic Goetz, Pete Kikel and Rod Naghar – all with previous NBL experience – make their first appearance of the season, the Herts Ravens are expected to be in much better position to compete against the big guns of the AAA League.


Spirited late Ravens rally not enough

Conner Brown impressed on his Ravens league debut (photo by Will Baxter)

The Ravens may have lost two games in heartbreaking fashion against the visiting Leones de Feltham, but they will be going into their next league games with plenty of optimism.

As their name would suggest, the Leones are a team made up of Latin American players with many years of baseball experience so this doubleheader was always going to be a difficult test for the Ravens. With some of the Ravens’ big guns away, it was good to see the club’s upcoming young talent step up and they didn’t disappoint.

GAME1: Leones de Feltham 8 Herts Ravens 4

Liam Green was the starting pitcher in the first game going 4 1/3 innings with 4 strikeouts and 4 earned runs. It was very positive to see improvement in Green’s control with the number of walks reduced significantly and most of them came at the end of his outing when his arm started to tire.

Moment of controversy - it makes a big difference when a professional photographer is covering the action. The photo appears to prove that umpire Dave Smith made the right decision to call Mike Cattermole safe as his foot seems to have made contact with the edge of home plate just as the ball entered the catcher's glove on a force-play at home plate (photo by Will Baxter)

This was a game where both teams showed some good pitching and defence and the score stayed at 2-2 right up to the fifth inning, but then the visitors opened up a 7-2 lead with a big 5-run fifth inning. Gilberto Medina came in to relieve Green on the mound and he kept Herts in the game allowing only 1 hit and no earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. The team couldn’t take advantage of this and was not able to mount a major come back leaving quite a large number of runners on base (11). Matt Johnston who made his comeback from a hamstring injury, had an outstanding day with the bat (3-4).

Click to view game 1 box scores

GAME2: Leones de Feltham 15 Herts Ravens 13

With Mike Cattermole on the mound for Herts in game two, they got off to a quick start and built up a 7-2 lead after just 2 innings. The heart of the Ravens batting order of Liam Green (2-5 3RBI), Gilberto Medina (3-5 2RBI) and Carlos Casal (2-2) was causing the Leones some real problems. However, the visitors started put up numbers in the next few innings to tie the game at 9-9 in the fifth. They also managed to silence the bats of the Ravens by bringing in their game one starting pitcher. He had pitched 7 innings in game 1 and pitched another 2 in the second game. When he came out for his third inning of game two (10th inning of the day) he threw one pitch at which point Herts Manager, Carlos Casal, referred umpire Dave Smith and the visiting Manager, Andres Maslowski, BBF’s rule 7 (pitching restrictions) which indicates that “If a pitcher pitches in both games of a doubleheader, he/she shall not accumulate more than 9 full innings over 2 games, however distributed (Doubleheader). A pitcher shall be considered to have violated these rules if he throws one pitch in an inning above the prescribed limits.” Under these regulations “The minimum penalty for violating these rules is automatic ejection from the game for the pitcher and his manager”, however the Ravens waived that penalty which allowed both the visiting manager and the pitcher to stay in the game.

By that time the team from Feltham had built a 15-10 lead and the Ravens had one last chance to get back in the game in the bottom of the last inning. 6 Herts players reached base to make the score 15-13 and loaded the bases but the Leones held on and secured the win.

Click to view game 2 box scores

Carlos Casal paid a compliment to his team. “We couldn’t have asked our players for more. A very positive performance giving us lots of optimism for the rest of the season. Several young players made their AAA-League debuts today and it will be exciting to see them develop and grow in the coming years.”

Next up for the Ravens is a visit to Finsbury Park next Sunday, 28 April, where they will meet the London Metros who are 1-3 so far this season but this is after playing against two of the AAA Leagu favourites, Bristol and Oxford, so tis will be a real test for Casal’s team.


UPDATE: Ravens vs Knights postponed. Hawks vs Mammoths is on

The Herts Ravens’ Opening Day game at home against the Richmond Knights has been postponed. The rain on Saturday has flooded the new diamond and the grounds crew will simply not be able to repair it in time even with the help of the expected warmer weather on Sunday.

The new diamond was already flooded on Saturday and the youth games scheduled for that day had to be moved to the Old Diamond. The additional rain on Saturday afternoon and evening has added to the problem and the grounds crew had no other choice but to postpone the Ravens verus Knights game on the new diamond.

UPDATE: A later inspection at the Old Dimaond has indicated that the grounds crew should be able to have that field ready for a 1pm start of the Hawks vs Mammoths game with some assistance from warmer and sunnier weather predicted for today.


Ravens prepare for their first ever league game

The newly formed Herts Ravens will play its first ever league game this Sunday as they host the Richmond Knights. We put several questions to Ravens Manager, Carlos Casal, and here are his thoughts.

We are just days away from Opening Day. Do you feel ready or has the bad weather in March affected preparations?

Carlos Casal: Being a newly formed team it is always difficult to achieve readiness at the beginning of the season however the preparation programme started slowly during the Spring League but will be fully implemented soon after week one.

What are your main goals for this season?

Carlos Casal: Enjoy playing the game and help the development of the club’s upcoming prospects. However, remember that physical, mental and skills preparation are a key factor to achieve these goals.

What win-loss percentage would be seen as a successful season for the team and is it realistic to expect your team to reach the playoffs or even challenge for the title?

Carlos Casal: Difficult to define. Our goal(s) for the AAA team this first season will be all around individual and team performance. With the right motivation and mindset surprises are possible. Remote, but it would be fantastic securing a spot in the postseason.

Who are the players we should look out for this year?

Carlos Casal: We have a great group of skilled and experienced players equally important for the process. However, the young group of players in our roster are a strong acquisition who will need our support to progress during the year.

Which league game are you looking forward to most?

Carlos Casal: Every game where the weather is clear and in the right temperature, otherwise every game.

The postseason playoffs will be played at the brand new Farnham Park. Will this act as an even greater incentive for players to reach the postseason?

Carlos Casal: I think this is a great incentive for every team in each league to go and play postseason games in these new facilities as all eyes will be there during those days.

What is your message to Herts Baseball fans ahead of Opening day?

Carlos Casal: Get behind each team and every player in our club and where possible come to the games and cheer us on. We all promise an exciting season for the club this year.



Preliminary rosters announced by Herts

The five Herts senior league teams have announced their preliminary rosters ahead of the 2013 Herts Spring League which gets underway next Saturday, 23 March.

Since the start of Spring Training Herts players have been pushing themselves to secure a roster spot within the Herts adult team structure. Some have been targeting a move to a Herts team playing in a higher league. Others have been looking to reinforce their place within their current team. It is a moment of trepidation for the players as they learn whether they have met that target, as illustrated in the movie Major League (see video clip).

But don’t worry folks. Herts has room for all its players and no one is going to get cut – everyone plays. The club is continuing to receive enquiries from new players every week and players can be added to the rosters at any time of the year. For more information on how to join the club or to give baseball a try contact the club.


Those who were hoping to secure a spot in a higher league team should bear in mind that this is just a preliminary roster. We still expect player movement over the next three weeks of HSL action as the managers will be assessing not only the players in their roster but those in other rosters with a view to promoting them or to assess backup options for later in the season. As always there is bound to be player movement up and down the rosters throughout the season, just like MLB teams move their players up and down their affiliated minor and major league teams.

A quick look through the rosters reveals interesting information ahead of the season. The core of each team remains intact, but there is a visible movement of players upwards, which was expected due to the creation of the Herts Ravens as the club’s fifth team which will compete in AAA. Most of the previously announced new additions such as Carlos Velazco-Carus, Joe Gray, John Blose, Xavier Gonzalez and Dave Westfallen have been added to the NBL roster.

Tom Everex-Armstrong is one of 10 Herts players who are also in the Great Britain U19 or U16 preliminary rosters

But there are some significant reinforcements in the other teams. The club has been joined by Elie Colin who played in the French league last season and he goes into the AAA roster for Manager, Carlos Casal, to have a first-hand look before making a decision. Gilberto Medina has moved up two leagues to the Ravens from the Raptors. Other players moving up into the AAA squad are the club’s U17 prospects Carlos Casal Jr, Jake Caress, Kyle Lloyd-Jones, Tom Everex-Armstrong and the club’s new arrival, catcher Conner Brown. All of these young players are currently in the preliminary rosters of the Great Britain U19 or U16 teams and playing in the AAA league will challenge them to push themselves even harder. An interesting late addition is returning right-handed pitcher, Pete Kikel, announced just a few hours ago.

The Hawks have added to the core from last year’s successful squad, by drafting John Kjorstad and Ben Marques from the Raptors, returning catcher and infielder Hunter Devine and the fastest man on the planet, Ross Asquith, who during fitness sessions this Spring with fitness coach Tony Marshall was discovered to have the extraordinary ability to jump up in the air higher than the average professional athlete. The other two additions are Callum Vangundy, Jonny Compton-Weight and Jose Morillo from the Herts U17 team.

Right-handed pitcher Jeff Witter makes his return with the Raptors. Moving into the roster from last year’s Eagles team is the South African duo, Theo Scheepers and Craig Le Roux, as well as infielder Sonny Lama, pitcher Will Zucker and his younger brother Martin Zucker who looks likely to be pushing up the leagues in the coming years as a catcher. Warwick Byrne is another addition from the club’s U17 team.

The Eagles will be missing Joseph Osborne-Brade as he is on the long-term DL after a serious injury last season. They will look to fill the gap left by Osborne-Brade and the others who have moved up to the other teams by adding Rob Crouch, Manny Banson, father-and-son combination of John and Tom Jansson, debutants Harry Douglas, Jonny Gates, Ashley Hughes and the exciting prospect of Daniela Phillips who joined the club after bumping into the Herts teams during her indoor cricket training session at the same venue as the Herts baseball teams.

Carlos Velazco-Carus
Cristobal Hiche
Darrin Ward
Dave Westfallen
David House
David Tretheway
Jeff House *
Joe Gray
John Blose
Jordan Farkas
Kevin Freeman
Kevin Niedringhaus *
Kimiyoshi Saionji
Lee Manning
Liam Green
Matt Spaulding *
Michael Osborn
Mike Cattermole
Phil Clark
Robbie Unsell
Ryan Bird
Xavier Gonzalez

* – subject to confirmation

Aspi Dimitrov
Carlos Casal
Carlos Casal Jr
Conner Brown
Elie Colin
Gilberto Medina
Jake Caress
Jim Arnott
Jonathon Lewys
Kyle Lloyd-Jones
Louis Hare
Matt Johnston
Nick Russell
Paul Auchterlounie
Pete Kikel
Rod Naghar
Seth Lipstock
Tom Everex-Armstrong
Vassil Botev


Andrew Slater
Andy Cornish
Ben Marques
Bobby Gould
Callum Vangundy
Greg Bochan
Hunter Devine
Ilya Dimitrov
John Kjorstad
Jonathan Compton-Weight
Jose Morillo Jr
Kal Dimitrov
Nicolas Goetz
Ralph Bartholomew
Ross Asquith
Tim Elkins


Amit Odedra
Arnold Longboy
Brodie Caress
Charlie Mayhew
Craig Le Roux
Glen Downer
Jeff Witter
Kennet Pike
Mark Caress
Martin Zucker
Rob Jones
Sonam Lama
Theo Scheepers
Warwick Byrne
Will Zucker
Zachary Longboy


Adam Landau-Smithers
Adrian Smithers
Ashley Hughes
Daniela Phillips
David Ames
Duncan Hoyle
Emmanuel Banson
Geoff Thomas
Harry Douglas
Jamie Lang
John Jansson
Jonny Gates
Joseph Osborne-Brade
Michael Cresswell
Reagan Wood
Rob Crouch
Serge Plata
Simon Roberts
Takeshi Ashida
Tim Blackman
Tom Jansson-Wright
Tomasz Kosak
William Belbin