Category: Events

Provisional 2021 HSL dates

Provisional 2021 HSL dates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Guidance related to Corona Virus Covid-19 during the HSL

Herts Baseball Club has issued the following guidance for players, team officials, umpires and spectators who will be visiting Grovehill Ballpark over the three weeks of the 2020 Herts Spring League.

In the light of the current advice from the government and NHS about Corona Virus:

  • Anyone who has recently visited specific badly affected areas — such as Hubei province in China, or northern Italy — should not take part in the HSL.
  • Anyone who has recently visited affected countries, including South Korea and Japan, and has symptoms of possible Covid-19, should not take part in the HSL.
  • Anyone who has, or has recently had, flu-like symptoms should not take part in the HSL and should follow NHS advice.
  • Herts Baseball Club is currently making every effort to acquire hand sanitiser and disinfectant products. There is a nationwide shortage of these products. If we manage to acquire them, we will provide soap, paper towels, and hand sanitiser in the toilet facilities at Grovehill ballpark. We will not issue supplies to individual teams, so please feel free to bring whatever you need.
  • Herts baseball club will provide rubbish bags in each dugout – please use these to dispose of used tissues and all other waste.
  • Subject to availability, shared facilities such as benches will be cleaned with disinfectant wipes before each day’s events, but it will not be practical to repeat the process between each game.
  • Herts baseball club will not be organising the traditional handshakes and exchanges before and after games. However, we understand if any teams or players wish to make local agreement among themselves to do this.  Please make your wishes known and notify the plate umpire where necessary.

Herts Baseball Club will continue to monitor all guidance offered by the NHS, and will update this advice where necessary.

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.

Teams starting to enter the 2020 Herts Spring League

The Herts Spring League (HSL) has confirmed the game dates for the 2020 edition of the competition*.

HSL (Week 1 of 3)
Sat, 14-Mar-20
Sun, 15-Mar-20

HSL (Week 2 of 3)
Sat, 21-Mar-20
Sun, 22-Mar-20

HSL (Week 3 of 3)
Sat, 28-Mar-20
Sun, 29-Mar-20

Spring is the time when managers put together their teams and aim to turn them into winning machines ahead of Opening Day. Similar to the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues in MLB, the HSL provides a competitive edge to spring training. This is the thirteenth year of the HSL. Every year this competition keeps growing. The geographic spread of participating teams seems to be expanding as well. For more details visit the HSL site.

LEAGUE FORMAT
Teams will be placed in two or more divisions (e.g. NBL, Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A) based on the teams’ ranking going into the new season. The exact format will depend on the number of teams entering the HSL. Full details will be published when the league line-up is confirmed.

TEAMS
Over the years the HSL has featured teams from the National Baseball League (NBL), Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A Leagues, as well as international teams such as the GB Under-19 and Under-16 National Teams and the ASL Eagles.

“The number of team entries has been going up every year. Last year we somehow managed to fit all of the entrants, however in 2020 we have to be mindful of the fact that we may once again reach our full capacity and we may have to restrict team entries when we reach that level again.” said HSL Commissioner, Aspi Dimitrov.

Teams from around the United Kingdom will be submitting their entries over the next few weeks and the HSL lineup and games schedule is expected to be published in early March.

* The HSL dates are based on the indication that the BBF league season is likely to start on 5 April 2020 for all senior leagues (NBL, Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A).

Players now registering for the 2020 baseball season

Player registration for the 2020 season has commenced. Last season Herts Baseball Club unveiled two new teams in NW London giving it a total of five teams playing in the BBF senior baseball leagues. The number of adult team players rose by a staggering 54.7%. In 2020 the club will be on a mission to turn this army of new players into teams that can compete in the playoff races of the various British baseball leagues.

ADULT BASEBALL LEAGUES

How many teams will represent Herts in 2020? The next few weeks will be crucial as the number of players registering will determine how many teams will be entered before the BBF league entry deadline of 31 January; how many will play in Hemel Hempstead and how many will play in London; which BBF leagues the teams will play in.

KEY DATES – ADULT TEAMS

  • 26 January- players report for indoor Spring Training
  • 1 March – teams return to the ballpark for the for the first time in 2020
  • 14-15 March – Start of the 2020 Herts Spring League (subject to confirmation of the BBF League Opening Day)*
  • March – Great Britain National Team Tryouts (senior and youth teams)*
  • 5 April – BBF League Opening Day (subject to confirmation)*
  • May – Midweek Evening Baseball commences
  • 13-14 June – MLB London Series (see details below)
  • August-September* – BBF Postseason Playoffs and National Championships
  • September-October – Hunlock Series

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

YOUTH BASEBALL

The Herts youth players are probably suffering the most without baseball this winter, but they will not have to wait much longer. Registration for youth baseball players will be launched next month.

MLB LONDON SERIES – CUBS vs CARDINALS

Following 2019’s incredible sold-out slugfest between the Red Sox and the Yankees, 2020 will see the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs going toe-to-toe. On June 13-14, London Stadium will be transformed into Europe’s largest ballpark as it becomes MLB’s home once again. These are regular season games with everything on the line. Get ready for a day to remember both on and off the field. Various events and activities will take place as part of the MLB London Series and details will be announced in due course.

WHICH BALLPARK WILL YOU PLAY YOUR HOME LEAGUE GAMES AT?

The two Herts baseball teams based in North West London made their BBF League debut in 2019 and the club is implementing the gradual process of adding the baseball infrastructure at Basing Hill Ballpark. 2020 player registration has just commenced (see details below). Now that the club has two ballparks, the online registration form will ask players to indicate whether they prefer to play their home league games in Hemel Hempstead or in NW London, or whether they would be happy with either. This will provide vital information to club management when they configure the team rosters for the new season.

HOW TO REGISTER FOR THE 2020 HERTS BASEBALL SEASON

For those who already have a Herts Online Clubhouse account they will be prompted to register when they log on next time (click here to go to the Herts Online Club House and log on with your existing username and password). Those who are new to Herts Baseball Club and do not have an online account can register as members by completing this form. For more details about joining our teams in 2020 click here or contact us.

A bright Futures at Herts

The British weather doesn’t always allow for those visions of long summer days at the ballpark to become a reality.

You know the vision – the sun beats down, the wind is still, the sky is blue. As far as the eye can see, there are baseball games being played. The smell of hot dogs wafts across the field.

This Sunday, the Herts Futures Tournament was able to deliver all of that. The final event of the year for youth players in England was blessed with a beautiful sunny day at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead.

14 teams from 10 baseball clubs from across the country descended on the home of Herts for the twelfth HFT.  They came from as far apart as Cartmel Valley in the Lake District, and Brighton on the south coast.

The competition this year would feature two age groups, Under-11 and Under-13, with teams playing a round of games in pools before each pool winner faced off in the finals.

The first feature of the day was the introduction of the teams to each other and to our four umpires for the day. Blake Taylor and David Jones were joined this year by two Herts volunteers, Mantas Poderys and Jack O’Brien, to oversee the games. The club is, as always, grateful to them for giving up their time to keep events running smoothly.

The teams are all introduced so they can high five the umpires and each other. They all then observed the national anthem, and gathered for a family photograph.

As a little something extra for 2019, all the youth players got to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. All of them. Simultaneously.

Blake Taylor had volunteered to act as the catcher (or maybe just as the “target”?). Once he was in place, the players lined up in front of the mound. They jostled for prime position, like race horses at the start of the Grand National.

There was a dramatic countdown over the public address system, and then their air was filled with a torrent of baseballs. You could see on the faces of the pitchers that they had relished the experience!

Video of this wave of baseballs can be seen on our Facebook and Flickr pages.

It’s raining baseballs….

The first game of the day saw first-timers the Cartmel Valley Lions draw with the London Mets in the Under-13 category. Another debutant team, the Yankees from RAF Lakenheath, got their first win of the day against the Forest Glade Redbacks.

When they started their campaign for the day, it became clear that the Leicester Little Sox in the U-13 section were a force to be reckoned with. Their combination of pitching, speed and hitting beat Herts – who had joined forces with Guildford for the purposes of the day.

In the Under-11 grouping, London Sports powered off to a great start to beat Northants Centurions, before adding the scalp of the London Mets. The Brighton Fireballs showed their intent with a win over Cartmel Valley Tigers.

Cartmel Valley at bat

There were great plays across the four baseball diamonds. Leicester turned a double play to end one of their games; Cartmel Valley’s pitcher made an impressive diving catch. There were plenty of booming hits, and young kids learning the art of pitching performed admirably under pressure.

Back near the pavilion, the Herts concession team was working hard providing refreshments to the masses.

Coffee was the most popular demand during the morning but. once lunchtime came around, it was the traditional hot dog that came to the fore. In fact, a chili dog and an “Outfield Dog” were also on offer. In the afternoon, home-made cake and Krispy Kreme donuts were the thing to have.

Roll up, get your hot dogs here!

In the U-11 final, London Sports took on a mix of the Brighton Fireballs and LYBL. Many clubs joined up for these end of season tournaments, to ensure that players could get a game, and it was good to see them working together. London won this one 5-4 with a walk-off double, ending an excellent day for these teams.

The U-13 final saw the RAF Lakenheath Yankees take on the Leicester Little Sox. Both were undefeated. In the climax, it was the Sox who took the win 6-2 in a closely fought game.

A week earlier, Leicester players had also finished part of the East of England team which was runner-up in the U-10s at the YNBC, so this completed a successful tournament season for them.

Leicester v Guild-Herts

Since its creation in 2008, the Herts Futures Tournament has been a great day for the youth baseball community to get together at the end of the year. The club was delighted to see so many players, parents and coaches come along to enjoy it once again.

It has been a big year for British baseball, with the arrival of MLB games in London. The events at Grovehill on Saturday suggest that the future is bright and the game can continue to grow.

Our full photo album from the day can be seen on our Flickr page – please feel free to find yourself!

14 teams to compete for the HFT titles this Saturday

14 teams will be in action at the 2019 Herts Futures Tournament (HFT) which will take place this Saturday, 21 September 2019.

U13 Pool A

  • Cartmel Valley Lions (U13)
  • Herts (U13)
  • Leicester Little Sox (U13)
  • London Mets (U13)

U13 Pool B

  • Brighton Fireballs (U13)
  • Cartmel Valley Tigers (U13)
  • Forest Glade RedBacks (U13)
  • RAF Lakenheath Yankees (U13)

U11 Pool A

  • London Mets (U11)
  • London Sports (U11)
  • Northants Centurions (U11)

U11 Pool B

  • Brighton Fireballs (U11)
  • Herts (U11)
  • LYBL Bulldogs (U11)

The opening ceremony will take place at 10:00am. The first games begin at 10:50am and the Finals will be played at around 3:30pm. To view the games schedule click here.

 

“Herts Baseball Club welcomes new players at any time of the year” said club president, Aspi Dimitrov. “Any children aged between 8 and 13 who are interested to give baseball a try should contact the club. It is not too late to take part in this event.”

Traditional baseball snacks will be on offer including hot dogs, Krispy Kreme Donuts and more.

The HFT has been held every year since 2008 and is now a permanent fixture in the British baseball calendar. It brings together youth teams from across the country for a day of baseball at one of the best baseball venues in the United Kingdom.

For more information about the event visit the Herts Futures Tournament homepage.