Category: Club News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Herts Baseball Club looking for volunteers and paid coaches to host the pilot MLB First Pitch school baseball event in Hemel Hempstead

Herts Baseball Club looking for volunteers and paid coaches to host the pilot MLB First Pitch school baseball event in Hemel Hempstead

As part of Major League Baseball’s investment in the UK and the London Series, a pilot programme in association with the Youth Sport Trust was introduced where a hub of around 15 schools is created in a number of regions to run the MLB First Pitch programme. One of these hubs is in Hemel Hempstead and the surrounding area. 

The programme culminates with an end-of-school-year baseball event bringing all the schools from the hub together.  Herts Baseball Club was approached to host the end of year baseball festival scheduled for the summer of 2021, however that event could not take place due to Covid restrictions in schools.

Grovehill Ballpark has previously hosted baseball and softball events as part of the Herts School Games

Steps are being taken now to stage this event this summer on Tuesday, July 12, at Grovehill Ballpark, the home of Herts Baseball Club in Hemel Hempstead. The event is likely to feature a skills session from 9:30 to 12:00 and games from 12:30 to 14:45. It is expected to cover students aged 9 to 11 – school years 5 and 6.

The club is inviting Herts club members or players and coaches from other clubs who would be interested and available to act as event staff volunteers and as paid coaches on that day. The fee for the coaches will range between £12.50 and £23.75, depending on the role and the level of the coach.  For more details and to express interest contact us.

MLB and London announce long term strategic partnership aimed at growing the game in the UK

MLB and London announce long term strategic partnership aimed at growing the game in the UK

This evening Major League Baseball and the Mayor of London issued the following press release which Herts baseball fans have been hoping for.


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. today announced a long-term strategic partnership that includes Major League Baseball’s commitment to hold major events in London over the next five years including regular season games in 2023, 2024 and 2026. Also announced was the formation of the MLB London Legacy Group which will include members from the Greater London Authority, Baseball Softball UK and other key stakeholders in the UK. The Group will be focused on delivering a wide-reaching and long-term legacy program that maximizes the impact of hosting MLB regular season games in London.

The Mayor of London is in New York City as part of a four-day trip to America to support London’s economic recovery from the pandemic and promote the capital to international visitors and business. Mayor Khan said: “Today is an historic day for London and baseball. I want to continue attracting world-class sport to our city as part of my mission to make London the sporting capital of the world. This long-term partnership with Major League Baseball is ambitious and includes regular season games as well as a legacy program designed to grow the number of Londoners watching and playing baseball at a grassroots level in
London. These games will be a fantastic opportunity to once again showcase the London Stadium as a multi-use venue and a fantastic asset for the capital.”

“All aspects of the inaugural MLB games in London were an overwhelming success,” said Commissioner Manfred. “It was clear that sports fans in London had a great appetite for baseball and that passion was shared by Mayor Khan as well as the business and media community. We are confident in making a long-term commitment to London and are looking forward to returning to the city with more MLB games, special fan events, and other opportunities to play and watch the game.”London hosted Major League Baseball games for the first time in June of 2019 when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox met in the inaugural MLB London Series. The two-games at London Stadium were the first-ever regular season games played in Europe.

To complement these events, MLB Europe will continue to conduct new London-based fan engagement events, expanded UK-focused content, baseball participation programs, and other city specific media arrangements to help continue the growth of baseball’s popularity across London.

A prime example of this is Home Run Derby X, an electrifying new baseball format which will take place in London’s Crystal Palace Park on July 9, 2022. Home Run Derby X has been designed to frame baseball in a fun and unique way to a new audience, with MLB Legends competing alongside characters new fans trust and care about and integrated into digital platforms and live event experiences that appeal to them.

Fans can register their details at [link] to keep up to date with the latest information from MLB Europe.

Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding target reached

Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding target reached

Earlier today, Herts Baseball Club issued the following message to supporters who contributed to the Basing Hill Ballpark (Phase 2) crowdfunding campaign.

With the fantastic support and generosity of club members, Sport England and the wider community, today we reached the Basing Hill Ballpark (Phase 2) Crowdfunding target of £20,068.

This now makes it possible for the club to install the backstop, infield perimeter fence and the infield cutout clay areas around the bases and the pitcher’s mound. We hope that we can replicate at Basing Hill Ballpark the growth and the wonderful programmes which we built at our Grovehill Ballpark branch in Hemel Hempstead over the years.

There were several critical moments over the four weeks of this campaign when there was very little light at the end of the tunnel and the project seemed impossible, but club members and supporters mobilized friends, family, neighbours and colleagues and generated vital momentum for the campaign in those critical moments.

Over the next few days, we will start the process of distributing the rewards which supporters picked up as part of their donations.

The next step is to go through the formalities with Barnet Council and book the contractors to implement the installations. We hope that we will be able to complete it by the end of May. We are relying on contractors and the Council and hopefully we can deliver the project without any major delays.

We will keep everyone updated. 

The crowdfunding campaign is still live in case any other supporters would like to make a donation.  A number of rewards are still available to pick up. Any extra funds that we raise above the original target can be used to add items such as team benches, field equipment and other upgrades around the park.

Thank you for the amazing support.

Herts Baseball Club

Herts youth baseball teams to work with GB National Team coaches and players

Herts youth baseball teams to work with GB National Team coaches and players

Herts Baseball Club will be hosting the Great Britain National Teams as they prepare for international competition later this year.

As part of this, Herts youth players will have the unique opportunity to work with the GB U18 players and coaches over the next few weeks.

There will be three sessions as follows:

  • 11:00-13:00, Saturday, 23 April 2022, Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
  • 11:00-13:00, Saturday, 7 May 2022, Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
  • 11:00-13:00, Saturday, 21 May 2022, Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead

Note: Dates and times may be subject to change due to weather or other factors. For the May 21st event, if the construction of Basing Hill Ballpark is not completed by this date, the event will be moved to Grovehill Ballpark.

The last time Great Britain National Team coaches and players worked with Herts youth players was in 2008 (pictured above).

This is a good opportunity for any new players – boys and girls aged 6 to 14 – to come to one of these sessions and try baseball to help them decide if they would like to join the Herts youth baseball teams for the upcoming league season. Each session is expected to be around 2 hours and 30 minutes long.

New players who are not current members of the Herts youth teams can book their place for one of these sessions by completing this form.

Basing Hill Ballpark (Phase 2) crowdfunding campaign needs 100 supporters to secure £6,000 pledge from Sport England

Basing Hill Ballpark (Phase 2) crowdfunding campaign needs 100 supporters to secure £6,000 pledge from Sport England

Herts Baseball Club has launched a crowdfunding campaign for Phase Two of the Basing Hill Ballpark project in north west London. If 100 supporters back the project, Sport England will pledge £6,000.

Six months ago, the club raised £21,413 through crowdfunding for the first phase of the project which aimed to re-grade, level and resurface the baseball playing field with new grass. That stage of the project was completed successfully. The new grass is progressing well and is expected to be ready for games in May.

The club is now looking to raise £20,068 to install the baseball elements including the baseball backstop, infield perimeter fence and the infield cut-out clay areas around the bases and the pitcher’s mound.

Herts received confirmation from Sport England that they will pledge £6,000 to the project if it reaches 25% of the target (£5,017) and receives donations from 100 supporters. 

Club president, Aspi Dimitrov, said that “the timing of this campaign is not ideal for families given the difficult economic conditions in the UK, war in Ukraine, the world recovering from Covid pandemic, fuel and energy prices going up etc”. But he added that the club feels strongly that “baseball plays an important part in our lives and, if we deliver this project successfully, it will give a boost to everyone connected with Herts Baseball Club and the wider community in NW London and other clubs around British Baseball who will be playing at that venue”.

Most club members and fans already made significant donations last year during the crowdfunding of Phase 1. The club is mindful of the fact that most supporters cannot donate large amounts at every stage of the project, but, even if they can only donate a few pounds, that will play an important role in reaching 100 supporters needed to secure the £6,000 pledge from Sport England.

Note: When making a pledge to the project, at the checkout you will see a suggestion from the Crowdfunder platform to give them a percentage of the donation as a tip.  That tip does not support the Basing Hill Ballpark project.  You are not required to give a tip to them if you don’t want to so you would need to remove that tip at the checkout.

This type of project is not new to Herts Baseball Club. In 2009 they delivered a very similar project when they constructed a second baseball diamond at their branch in Hemel Hempstead to meet the increasing demand for baseball.

Individuals, businesses and other organisations can now make a pledge on the Basing Hill Ballpark (Phase 2) crowdfunding page. The campaign must reach the £20,068 target by midnight on 28 April 2022.  The money raised will be received by the club only if the project hits the target.  If it doesn’t, all pledges will be cancelled and payments refunded.

If the target is reached, work on the project is expected to commence in early May and the new ballpark is expected to be unveiled by the end of May.

For more information and to make a pledge, go to the Basing Hill Ballpark (Phase 2) crowdfunding page.

Unlike last year’s crowdfunding campaign, this time around individuals and businesses have teamed up with the campaign to generate revenue and reach new customers. They will be able to promote and sell their products, services and experiences, reaching a new audience through the crowdfunding campaign by offering “rewards”. Go to the crowdfunding page to see examples of businesses and individuals who have already done so.  Contact the club for more details or to add a reward.

Sean Bennett joins Herts board

Sean Bennett joins Herts board

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

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

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

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

Herts Baseball Club now has eleven board members.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Herts teams enter the 2022 BBF leagues. Falcons aiming for 2023 return to NBL.

5 Herts teams enter the 2022 BBF leagues. Falcons aiming for 2023 return to NBL.

With just a few hours remaining until the deadline for British baseball clubs to submit their league entries for the 2022 baseball season, Herts Baseball Club confirmed that they will once again be entering five teams.

Herts Falcons

However, the Herts Falcons are not among them. The team had a difficult season last year finishing in last place with a record of 1 win and 24 losses. They went into it with a depleted roster of 15 players and suffered further setback when player-manager, Cris Hiche, had to go back to his home country due to a family bereavement. Another three players and the interim manager left partway through the season.

In November, the club started the process of rebuilding the roster.  Despite a large number of players signing up to try out with the team, the club struggled with the appointment of a new manager.  They came close to securing a highly rated candidate last month but he received a contract offer from an MLB club.  The identity of that coach has not been made public yet to enable him to decide when to do so in what is a very positive news story for British baseball.

This morning club president, Aspi Dimitrov, said: “we ran out of time and we have to bear the pain of withdrawing our flagship team from the National Baseball League”.

We understand the club considered assigning the Falcons team name to one of its other teams in the lower leagues in order to continue the team’s record of 26 uninterrupted seasons playing in the BBF leagues, but decided against it. “Our work to rebuild the Falcons continues and our target now is the 2023 season” said Dimitrov.

The club’s other five teams will now have to carry the Herts flag in the playoff races this year.

Herts Cardinals (Triple-A)

The Cardinals are the newest Herts team, unveiled just a week ago.  They go into the Triple-A league – the second tier in the British baseball league system. When taking on the role, team manager Brian Dearing did not expect that his team would have the extra pressure of being the club’s highest ranked team but Herts fans hope that the team will thrive on this.

Basing Hill Ballpark (Phase 2) crowdfunding campaign needs 100 supporters to secure £6,000 pledge from Sport England

The Cardinals will play their home games at the club’s Basing Hill Ballpark in North West London which is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in late April or early May.

Herts Hawks (Single-A)

The Hawks are one of four Herts teams which will play in the BBF Single-A league. They will be managed by Ken Pike, who was in charge of the Herts Raptors last year.  His team is expected to feature many of his 2021 Raptors players but the squad may also feature new faces as the competition for places intensifies.  The Hawks will play their home games at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead.

Herts Raptors (Single-A)

As confirmed at the end of January, Mantas Poderys, is back at the helm. He managed the Raptors in 2020 bringing his trademark enthusiasm but the season was wiped out by Covid so this will be his managerial debut in the BBF leagues.  The Raptors will play their home games at Grovehill.

Herts Londoners (Single-A)

Last year Herts Londoners improved on their win-loss record of the previous season but the team still finished far from the playoff places. They hope to climb up the standings further this year.  Co-manager Arnie Longboy has taken up the front office role of co-General Manager and Matt Bell takes his place as co-manager. The Londoners will play their home games at Basing Hill.

Herts Eagles (Single-A)

The Eagles finished the season with the best record out of the three Herts teams in the Single-A league last season with some exceptional numbers put up by MVP, Mike Wakelam, including 9 home runs. Will he be back with the Eagles or will he be called up by the Cardinals to the Triple-A team.  The Eagles hope to announce their new manager soon.

It remains to be seen if all four Herts Single-A teams will be placed in the same pool which would mean that there would be a plethora of Herts derby games this season.  Would this increase the chances of seeing a Herts team reach the playoffs or will the four Herts teams end up knocking each other out? In the next few weeks the BBF will also reveal who they will face. Will it be their old rivals the Redbacks the Minotaurs and the Mustangs who are the reigning Single-A national champions or will the BBF reshuffle the composition of the pools perhaps bringing in teams like the Richmond Dukes and the Bracknell Inferno?

The managers have left some room in the rosters so new players can still join the Herts teams. However, the club reported that the number of players registering to play is higher than on deadline day last season so those available places are likely to be filled quickly.

Herts also announced the tryout dates to play for the Herts Cardinals in the Triple-A league.  For more details contact the club.