Category: Events

Herts Spring League kicks off 2021 season in style

Herts Spring League kicks off 2021 season in style

Like everything else at the moment, the 2021 Herts Spring League was a bit different. It was quick as a flash. It was more knock-out blow than drawn-out battle.

The usual three weeks of competition were condensed into one weekend on the baseball diamonds of Grovehill. The impact of the pandemic had cut short the time available for pre-season.

One of the other points that made it different this year was the arrival of the first women’s team in the history of the tournament. Belles Baseball made a big noise and splash in the Single-A competition, bringing a lot of energy to the event.

The Herts Spring League provides a great opportunity for teams to finalise their preparations for the upcoming British baseball season. This year, it saw 22 teams play 21 games on 2 diamonds over 2 days. Single-A and Double-A were on Saturday, Triple-A and NBL on the Sunday.

The sun shone gloriously for both days, which we have decided must be a good omen for the season ahead. Yes, it was on the cool side but, hey, it’s the Spring.

Let’s start with the Belles, who opened their HSL account against a Herts side, the Eagles. The visiting team fell behind early on, but fought back with some patient at-bats and aggressive stealing to make it 9-5. The Eagles ran out winners, and the Belles then took on the London Mustangs. Another tight contest ended 9-7 to London.

Top slot in the league was shared by the MK Bucks 2, and the Londoners — who were undefeated. The Eagles, Raptors, Mustangs and Bracknell Inferno each took a split from their weekend. Minotaurs fought hard and scored well but couldn’t secure a W.

If the Belles Baseball were something new, the presence of the Croydon Pirates in the Double-A division was a blast from the past. The team is a revival of what was a stalwart of British baseball a few years back. They won 8-2 over Sidewinders, and then defeated London Musketeers 9-2 to claim the title. London had beaten the Hawks 10-2, and Hawks went down by the same score to Sidewinders in the third place playoff.

Sunday saw the Triple-A action first, with Essex Redbacks finally breaking open a tight contest against the London Mammoths to win 7-2. It was a game with several double plays stifling an offensive threat. All the games were tight in this division. London Marauders took the title with one-run wins over BC Vetra and the MK Bucks.

London Mets dominated the NBL tournament, putting down a marker they intend to defend their title again. They opened their account with a 3-2 win over the Essex Arrows, as the London Capitals saw off the Herts Falcons 10-2. In the second round of rubbers the Mets beat the Caps, while Falcons secured a split on their weekend with a victory over Essex.

The BBF league schedule starts this coming weekend, so the HSL gave a last chance to hone strategies and test players under game conditions. Everyone will have come out of the weekend with a greater sense of what they need to do for success.

Signs are good that the summer of 2021 will see plenty of baseball. Herts thanks all the players who came down and took part, and everyone who made it happen.

It’s game on for 2021.

Countdown to HSL – first chance to see the teams ahead of the 2021 British baseball season

Countdown to HSL – first chance to see the teams ahead of the 2021 British baseball season

The Herts Spring League (HSL) will see 22 teams play 21 games on the weekend of 24 and 25 April. Organised by Herts Baseball Club, it is Britain’s version of MLB’s Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues, and it signals that the season is just around the corner.

FORMAT

The 22 teams have been placed into four HSL divisions – NBL, Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A – based on the ranking of the teams going into the 2021 baseball season.

Most of the teams have been placed into pools of four teams. The semi-final pairings have been confirmed and the winners will face each other in the final, while the losing teams in each pool will also play each other in their second game of the day.

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

The HSL is usually played over three weekends, but the national lockdown reduced the time available for Spring Training ahead of Opening Day on 2 May.

21 games will be played on two diamonds. The competition begins on Saturday, 24 April, with the Double-A division followed by afternoon and evening games from the Single-A division. Among the Single-A teams are the Belles who will make history as the first ever all-women’s baseball team to play in the HSL.

On Sunday, 25 April, the NBL and Triple-A divisions will be in action with several interesting matchups including the London Archers and BC Vetra, a team which will play in the BBF Triple-A league for the first time this year.

Click to view full 2021 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 through the minor leagues? 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 2021 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 to help you decide whether to join the team contact Herts Baseball Club.

22 teams enter the 2021 HSL

22 teams enter the 2021 HSL

Herts Baseball Club has confirmed that 22 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 in 2019 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. 

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

HSL – NBL
TEAMCLASSHSL RANKING
Essex Arrows 3
Herts Falcons 4
London Capitals 2
London Mets 1
HSL – Triple-A
TEAMCLASSHSL RANKING
BC Vetra 8
Essex Redbacks 6
London Archers 7
London Marauders 9
London Mammoths 5
Milton Keynes Bucks 10
HSL – Double-A
TEAMCLASSHSL RANKING
Croydon Pirates 13
Herts Hawks 14
London Musketeers 12
Sidewinders 11
HSL – Single-A
TEAMCLASSHSL RANKING
Bracknell Inferno 15
Herts Eagles 22
Herts Raptors 18
Herts Londoners 21
London Mustangs 16
London Minotaurs 20
Milton Keynes Bucks 2 17
Southern Belles 19
Spring Training groups announced

Spring Training groups announced

As announced by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, yesterday, organised outdoor sport can now restart. 

The five Herts adult league teams will report for Spring Training this week. The teams will initially be divided into three groups. Those trying out to play in the National Baseball League and in the Double-A League will be in one group. There will be two further groups – Single-A League for players based in Hemel Hempstead and a separate Single-A group for the teams based at the club’s ballpark in North West London.

NBL / Double-ASingle-A Hemel HempsteadSingle-A NW London
Amane SobueAdam ScalesAdam Collins
Andy CornishBradley CharalambousAlex Plehn
Antonio LourencoCameron SchultzAlexander Trautman
Antony LavenderCharlie BeachAndrew Slater
Charlie ObrienConnor LunnAndy Stratford
Charlie PlausinDale HardwickArnold Longboy
Cristobal HicheDaniel ShawAspi Dimitrov
Daniel BartramDanny PrestonBenjamin Markscheffel
Daniel GippleDeclan CarleanCory English
George MorganDowan BelleroseDan Taylor
Gilberto MedinaEfthymios RizoglouEllie Page
Jack ObrienGeorge GreenstreetGreg Bochan
Joe GippleGregory ClarkJames Hawes
Kai RajahHarry McmenaminJamie Lang-Richards
Laurence Currington John KjorstadKevin Abioye
Lee ManningKennet PikeKumail Jaffer
Matthew JacksonLauren DutchMax Trautman
Michael CresswellLee OdellMichael Wakelam
Michael JohnsonLuis MartinsMohamed Abdule
Noah TaborMichael CunninghamNicolas Goetz
Paul BartonMichael LongNorman Peng
Rene TorcatoMichelle GreenRob Jones
Robert SmithNick ClohessyRyan Bartlett
Tetsuro ShinkawaPaul Le GuillouSaira Smith
Theo ClarkPavneet PurewalSam Kumar
Will DavisPedro MartinsZack Case
Will ZuckerTaysir Barakat 
Yasu IchigeTom Lock 
 Troy Mayer 

All three groups will report at 10am at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead this Sunday, 4 April. In the following two weeks the groups will continue preparations at their respective ballparks on 11 and 18 April. To comply with Covid procedures, registered players are required to mark their availability for these events in the online Clubhouse.

All of these sessions are open to anyone aged 14 and over to come and try baseball and to help them decide whether they would like to join the teams for the 2021 baseball season.

Later in April, the managers will announce the preliminary rosters for the 2021 Herts Spring League which will have a condensed format with games being played over the weekend of the 24 and 25 April at Grovehill Ballpark.

The Opening Day of the 2021 BBF league season is Sunday, 2 May. The schedule for the various leagues is expected to be published later this week.

Midweek evening baseball will return to both Grovehill Ballpark and Basing Hill Ballpark in the first week of May. The teams may have midweek evening sessions even earlier and the managers will communicate this with their players.

The youth league players will report for Spring Training at their resepctive ballparks a week later than the adult teams on 10 and 11 April.  See more details here.

Training sessions and games will follow the Covid-secure protocol for baseball which was approved by the government.

Teams starting to enter the 2021 Herts Spring League

Teams starting to enter the 2021 Herts Spring League

The Herts Spring League (HSL) has confirmed the game dates for the 2021 edition of the competition.

The government announced a tentative timetable which indicated that baseball games could resume from 29 March 2021 in accordance with the approved Covid-19 protocol.

In order to give teams three weeks of training to prepare for HSL games, this year the HSL has reduced the length of the competition from three weeks to one week.

The HSL dates are:

  • Saturday, 24 April 2021
  • Sunday, 25 April 2021

They are based on the expectation that the BBF league season will start on 1 or 2 May 2021 for all senior leagues (NBL, Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A).

The schedule may be subject to change in line with government guidance on Covid.

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 fourteenth year of the HSL. Every year this competition keeps growing. The geographic spread of participating teams seems to be expanding too. For more details visit the HSL site.

LEAGUE FORMAT
Teams will be placed in two or more divisions 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.

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 mid-April.

VENUES

All games will be played at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead, but if there are too many teams to fit all of the games, some may be played at the club’s other ballpark in NW London.

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

2020 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

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

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

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.